Zai Jian, Xi’an

The lights along the runway flew by in the darkness and the engines roared.  Zai jian, Xi’an, I whispered.  I’ll come back someday.  I have only been there two weeks in my entire life, yet leaving still hurt so much.  I have learned to love this city.

Staring out the airplane window and feeling that tug on my heart, I finally realized how much this experience could hurt for the children finding a new family, and a new home.

For the first time I caught a glimpse of what it must be like to feel the rumble of a newly-awakened airplane under your feet and watch the only ground you’d ever walked fall away beneath you.  I watched a city turn to out-lined skyscrapers and lines of slowly-flowing headlights–and wondered what it must feel like to see your home fade into a dark sky filled with stars, far beneath your feet.  I leaned my face against the double pane of glass and let this beautiful city and these beautiful kids tear a piece of my heart away.  I watched the constellations on the ground below me vanish in the distance and give way to pitch-black night, broken only by the flash of lights on my own wings.

I have heard it said that the first transition is like a kind of death for adopted children.  I know I shall never fully understand what this experience is like for them~~but as I watched the gleaming lights of Xi’an vanish into the night beneath me, I felt something inside of me die.

19 thoughts on “Zai Jian, Xi’an”

  1. Woah woah woah woah woah….
    I knew you left a part of your heart in China, but I never knew it felt like this. You’ll go back someday! I’m sure! *hugs* This was so personal, and I also wanted to say it wasn’t like you just wrote off the top of your head and hit ‘post’ after three minutes. You took time to milk every word for what it was worth, and MAN OH MAN that ending… something about it gave me the shivers. In the best possible way. It was just like one italicized word….die. I dunno. It was just really good. =)
    I also wanted to mention that I love love love how you pour your heart out in these posts. It might be hard to get so personal and dig so deep into your feelings, but you do, and I am SO glad you do. I love you, girl! (I know, I’m gonna keep saying this, BUT I MISS YOU, HANNA!!!)

    1. Ariel, your comments always give me ALL the warm fuzzies! Thank you so much for taking the time to write them–it really means a lot. Seriously, I cannot tell you how encouraging this is.
      I actually wrote this in a notebook on the airplane from Xi’an to Guangzhou. I didn’t want to forget it!
      I miss you too!! We need to see each other soon! 🙁

      1. SERIOUSLY GIRL *huggles* YOU ARE DA BESTEST. <3
        You actually wrote the journal entry in China? That's awesomeness! Hey, did you write in your journal very much while you were over there? *whispers* I wanna see some of the beautimous Hanna words…. =)
        And yes, we really do need to see each other soon!!

        1. <3 <3 <3
          Apart from a little Catania's Forest and a line of a poem I didn't want to forget, I think this was the only thing I wrote.

  2. Hanna it’s so fun that you got to visit the country that some of your siblings are from! I’m sure that you love the experience.
    Another beautiful post.

    – Cerra Cat –

    1. I’m sure it does! There’s something about visiting another country that can really capture your heart.
      I fell in love with Uganda reading “Kisses from Katie”. In a way, it’s kind-of the first place I lost my heart to. Maybe someday I’ll visit there too, I don’t know.

      1. There is, especially when you get to know some of the people that live there.
        I fell in love with Uganda as soon as I learned of the missions trip I would have an opportunity to go on-and when we began sponsoring a little boy named Simpson from Uganda through Compassion International. I hope you get to visit one day.

  3. This is so beautiful, Hanna! I feel this way about China too. I never realized just how much it would hurt to leave China. You have such an amazing way with words – you really capture the feeling. Words are so powerful, and you use them so well. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  4. *gasps* I thought I already commented on this. Sorry!

    This post was SO beautiful, Hanna. You have an incredible way with words – I love how you can make people feel something with your writing. I could totally see all of this in my mind. Your writing is SO amazing. Seriously, you’re going to go places as an author, girl. You’re brilliant *nodnod*.

    I hope you get to go back to China someday, it seems so amazing there 🙂 . That sentence about seeing China fade into a dark sky filled with stars … Incredible. Thank you so much for sharing this! *hugs*

  5. Happy Turkey Day, Hanna!! =D You have no clue how thankful I am for you, but yeah, I AM VERY HAPPY THAT YOU’RE IN MY LIFE. <3 I still remember some time ago when our pastor was talking about exhortation and what it means: encouraging others in their Christian life to strive to reach bigger heights, to continue pressing on in the faith.
    Guess who was the first person I thought of after he said that? 😉 I still have that letter you sent to me after I released my article. You have absolutely NO CLUE how much that meant to me. Seriously. You are a super encouraging person, Hanna.
    You're awesome, and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *