During our first year in China we loved venturing out into the city to try the local food. After a while, we made a point to return to locations so we could build relationships with the locals.
One such place we nicknamed the “Old Lady Restaurant.” It was run by three older women who made the best Chinese food we’d ever had. Each time we would read the menu and place our orders, but eventually the women knew exactly what we wanted and with teasing smiles would recite our orders to us as we walked in. We probably went there once or twice a week and were able to practice our Chinese with them, which was always met with surprise and laughter.
We finished our term and returned to the States. It was another three years before we returned to China. We moved back to the same city and went looking for our favorite “Old Lady Restaurant,” only to discover, to our dismay, it had been knocked down and rebuilt as an electronic store.
A few weeks passed until one afternoon while eating at a noodle shop near our apartment, I caught sight of someone similar from the corner of my eye. One of the three older ladies who we’d come to know now worked at this noodle shop! When she noticed us, she didn’t hesitate to say hello with the biggest smile. This city has half a million people, so we knew this chance of running into her was a miracle. Even after years of not seeing each other, the small relationship we started and light shared with her still shone through.
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