We arrived in Xi’an in August, 1981. The weather was overcast nearly every day for our first month there. Without a sunrise and sunset, it was difficult to get oriented; my sense of direction was messed up.
I hadn’t known what to expect, coming to Asia. I’d only been outside North America once, visiting Italy in March, 1981, to meet Gauss’s relatives there. I was fine with staying in no-frills European pensions with a bathroom down the hall, but was completely unprepared for China’s gray concrete architecture and haphazard wiring.