I left my home in China in 1949, nearly 70 years ago. I thought I would just be studying in the United States before returning to China. But events beyond my control – the Communist victory over the Nationalists soon after I arrived in the US, the escalation of the cold war, and the Korean war – kept me in the US. I quickly built a life in America, became an American citizen, and pursued my own version of the American dream. All the while, China was morphing into a country I would hardly recognise when I was first able to return in 1972. And the China of 1972 would, again, seem entirely foreign to those viewing China today.