Chris didn’t tell me his age at first. “Guess,” he said while striding in a comparatively fast pace.“Umm... maybe 40?” I guessed in a conservative way. We were walking together along Weihai Road. With a few little wrinkles on his face, the tall guy in a purple T-shirt looked fit and energetic.
About one minute later, he smiled: “I’m already over 50.” We kept walking at a brisk pace.
“Okay, see you later," said Chris, extending his right hand toward me as we came to a crossroad. We shook hands and then went our separate ways. We had made an appointment to meet for a formal interview.
We first met on the No. 71 bus when we were both on the way to work in the morning. Instead of staring at our cellphones like the other passengers, Chris looked around blankly. Then I approached him and asked if he could be my interviewee. He kindly agreed.
The next week, we met again right at the crossroad where we separated last time. Then he emotionally shared his old life in America and his new, fresh life – with a girl dog and a girlfriend – in Shanghai.I came in on a Saturday and I was working Monday, so I had one day to rest. So I thought, ‘well that’s good, ‘cos it’s a long flight and I don’t know what’s going to happen.’ So I came in and the flight was on time, everything went well, but there was meant to be a driver waiting for me at the gate. He had a sign, my name was on it, so I went up and said, “Hey! How’s everything going?” And he couldn’t talk to me. I thought, “Oh, that’s okay.”