"Free at last, free at last!" That's how I felt as I got off the airplane after 9 hours flying over Russia. The flight to Beijing was just as bad, if not worse, than the first leg to London. No sleep, bad food and a sore stomach. But finally, I was back. Back in Beijing.

Jun, my roommate Vivian's boyfriend, picked me up at the airport. He and I get along well, despite the language barrier and it was nice to see a familiar face instead of a disgruntled cab driver who would have had  a difficult time taking me to my apartment.

For the second time in under a month, I had to haul two huge suitcases and carry-on bags up six flights of stairs to my apartment and unpack. It was about noon and my second roommate, Alexia, was just waking up.

It was Saturday.

We caught up on happenings and she made me lunch - buttered pasta. It brough back good memories of college and the simplicities of relatively dry pasta dishes. I cleaned up, took a shower and unpacked a bit.
Sometime during this process, I made the mistake of sitting down on my bed. The next thing I knew it was 8 a.m. Sunday morning. I had slept for about 14 hours.

My half unpacked suitcase lay in the middle of my room. The sky was dark outside. I could hear the pitter patter of rain. I went to brush my teeth, toothbrush in hand, but found an empty Colgate bottle on my bathroom sink.

"Welcome back Brandon," I thought.

I stumpled back to my bed and pulled the sheets over my head. Welcome back.

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