My relatives know I don’t speak mandarin, so they’ve gone out of their way to make me feel more comfortable. Like in Shanghai, where relatives bought Kung Fu Panda and played it in the car while we drove around town.

And in Jixi, a remote city in Northeastern China, my relatives bought a CD for us to listen to while we drove the three hours to Xingkai Lake.

The CD? Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi.

It was a little surreal to be listening to “We belong together” somewhere on the back roads of northeast China with four other guys who don’t speak a lick of English. But it was an endearing gesture.

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