This is Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province in Southeast China. It’s the twelfth city I’ve visited in the mainland and it’s the hometown of my previous mentor in Northern Virginia, near Washington DC. I called him Daoshi. I’d fallen in love with him but of course, he was married. Everything he’d taught me prepared me for coming back to the mainland.
Fuzhou is a second tier city, meaning it shouldn’t be as strict as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. Unfortunately, though, these days even second-tier cities are starting to get strict. Then it dawned on me. Chloe told me I can pass for a person from Xinjiang province in the Northwest. A lot of them look like foreigners, speak Arabic, and don’t speak Mandarin particularly well. I even have a friend from Xinjiang who can’t read Chinese characters. I looked through my phone contacts and found that I had three friends from Xinjiang so I messaged all of them. One replied immediately and agreed to sell me one of her ID cards. In exchange, I need to accompany her to a high-level KTV in Shanghai.
This is going to open a lot of doors, allowing me to work anywhere and live in any hotel, apply for Chinese video streaming apps, and pretty much do anything that’s currently restricted.
For several months, I felt completely hopeless. This year has really fucking sucked. But now, I’m starting to feel a little bit of hope. Now, I’m starting to feel that it’s finally going to be OK.