In the line to double check our COVID test before boarding, an old tiny grandpa asked me for some practical info and shared his story with me. He talked with a strong southern accent that I don't know. ‘I didn’t go back for 16 years. This time I’m not coming back, I’m too old. My children settled here and have their children. I don’t speak the language, my wife went back to China last year, what’s the point for me to stay here? I’m going back...going back!’
I asked him where he comes from in China, he gave me a name of a city that I’ve never heard of before ( or I didn’t catch it because of the accent) I asked him which province. He answered several times but I couldn’t understand. So he took out a pen, and wrote on his hand ‘浙江’ (Zhejiang) When I saw the characters in his palm, I couldn’t help thinking what nostalgia is to him at this moment of his life. He is so shriveled and wrinkled, friendly and sassy, with all his belongings in 2 small but thick pieces of luggage. I hope he will have a good trip, and good times at home. Like we say in Chinese, a fallen leaf returns to the root (落叶归根).