I had this dream . . . I was on a beautiful beach, the weather was perfect. Jack Johnson music was playing in the background, sometimes Neal Young, as I sat on a deck and watched the sunset every day. The sunset shimmered over a long sand at low tide, perfect for walking barefoot along the beach and choosing one’s supper from among the booths selling fresh, charcoal grilled seafood. Every day at sunset time, a pickup game of soccer appeared on the low tide sand, with an occasional ball bouncing toward those still lingering among the longtail boats anchored in the shallow, warm water. At breakfast the waves of high tide gently lapped at the white sand just beyond the restaurant deck as the sun rose and brightened the pink sky. Any time I wished, I could snorkel 25 meters offshore to a shallow coral reef, barely covered at low tide, and peer down through clear, blue water at colorful little fishes everywhere. The world seemed to be full of friendly, casual people, world travelers mostly, and most of them spoke at least a smidgen of English. And I could get lime in any food I wanted — Tom Ka Gai soup (coconut juice with lemongrass and lime and hot chilis), seafood salad with absolutely tender, fresh octopus, squid, shrimp, cilantro and lime, fresh lime juice with water, sugar, and salt (perhaps the original, homeade version of gatorade?). And when I got tired of that, I could order the best pizza I’ve ever had or a dazzling array of curries. And then, it seemed in my dream, I was on a ferry, and then a train, and then another train, in a taxi, on an airplane, going through another immigration line, on another ferry, going through yet another immigration line, another train . . . and then I woke up. When I emerged from my dream, it was dark, and I was in car in a huge, grey city that had chokingly bad smog. The weather was no longer perfect, and everyone was wearing mismatched clothes. I noticed that people were wearing boots and hooded coats, even though it was summer, and nobody spoke English. I had to speak Chinese again to get anywhere. Oh wow, I suddenly realized, this must mean I’m back in China! And then our car pulled up to our apartment and the security guards beamed as they opened the gate for us. I walked in this house, and it smelled like home, and it was messy with books and papers, but it had furniture that I had picked out and art on the wall that I bought and curtains that looked like some I had made at the fabric market, and it felt like home! Pinch myself, I guess I’m home. But, wow, what a nice dream that was!