Pan Weiwei was apprehensive about going home for Spring Festival. She hadn’t seen her children or her husband in a year. She hoped the awkward silences wouldn’t be too deafening.

Ma Jiang sympathized but had other thoughts weighing heavily on her mind. The only train ticket home that she was able to get after queuing twelve hours in the rain had her routed via Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Gansu. It would take her longer to get home to Yunnan than she would have there. 

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