"I looked through my photographs and showed them that my cousins had on shoes." Her mother said they put on the shoes because they knew she was coming.
For Kingston herself, it was a trip of interior as well as exterior discovery. "I learned that I'm very much like a Chinese peasant," Kingston said. "I'm one of them. It was a wonderful linguistic pilgrimage because we started our trip in the north; the language was thoroughly foreign. We always used translators. I couldn't understand anything. The longer we were there, the further south we traveled, the more I could communicate. By the time we got to Canton, I really surprised myself. I gave a speech in public in Chinese. I felt very proud of myself because I spoke peasant Chinese. I thought all those communists must think my class credentials are impeccable. I'm certain none of them will give a speech at a formal banquet in peasant language."