Tuesday, January 28, 2014

meeting the family: day two.

Like most beds in China, the one we are sleeping on here is hard. Way harder than the one we have in Beijing. I woke up a few times through our first night, but managed to fall back asleep right away each time. 

I woke up for good around 9:15 in the morning, so Tony and I got up and went into the living room where we hung out on the couch, playing a game on my phone that his niece got us hooked on. (It's called Juice Cubes.) While we were being lazy, his mom was cooking dumplings, so I had homemade dumplings for breakfast which were amazing and delicious. 

After that, Tony and I played Risk and then we had lunch and I felt like a lazy butt for being in my pyjamas all day, but he was all, No, no, it's fine, it's fine. (Once again, I want to remind you that everyone was wearing their coats inside and I was wearing two sweaters.)

I had given everyone in his family a present, and his sister-in-law and his mom kept saying they were going to buy me clothes. Since I got here, they've been offering to buy me long underwear and socks, and I've been saying, No, guys, I'm fine! In Canada it's colder than here; I'm okay. But they insisted and kept telling me they wanted to take me shopping. It was a nice gesture, but I kept asking Tony, What's wrong? Number one, do they not like my clothes? Do they think they're ugly? (Because I do wear a different style than them.) Number two, are they just worried that I'm gonna be cold? Do they think I'm an idiot who can't dress herself warmly enough? Anyway, it was fine, I thought we agreed no clothes would be bought for me, but then they said, Let's go shopping! Let's go look around! So I agreed to go look around. (I was a little overwhelmed because it sounded like everyone was yelling, but that's just the Chinese way; they're just loud and gruff when they talk.)

We got into a cab and drove to what I guess was a mall. There were people EVERYWHERE and everything was dusty and dirty in the street. (China is actually pretty clean, what I've seen so far, but it's kind of grungy here.) We went into the mall and Tony's sister-in-law and cousin were trying to get me to try on coats and shoes, and Tony kept saying, Just pick something you like. Pick something you like and then we can go home. I felt bad because I didn't want them to spend their money on me! Tony told me to just tell them I didn't like anything, but I told him he didn't understand: It's true, I don't like any of the stuff I've seen so far, but if I say that to them, it might hurt their feelings because this is the stuff they wear and I don't want them to think I'm rude. But I really don't want them to spend their money on me, especially on something I don't like

Then they took me to a different store, and I did see a pair of shoes I liked. Eventually Tony convinced me to tell them I had found something. Turns out, this was the only pair in the store and miracle of miracles in this land of women with tiny feet, they fit! So his sister-in-law bought them for me, which was really nice. But she still wanted to buy something else for me! She kept insisting I try on coats and wouldn't take no for an answer. Finally I told them I had been wanting a new purse so we went hunting for one.

His sister-in-law also bought me the candied fruit on a stick that I love, which was a nice treat. They also bought coffee mugs because they didn't have any at home. (Sweet side note: Before we came, Tony's mom bought what she thought were coffee mugs for me, but they turned out to be small teacups. Such a sweet gesture!) 

As we were on our way home, we came across what looked to me like huge poles. I thought they must have been for some kind of construction or something. Tony's sister-in-law went to buy some and the guy selling them took a huge knife and peeled them and then chopped them into big pieces. She passed me a piece; it looked like a big stick that had been peeled. I was thinking, Oh my word! How do I eat this? Tony told me you just bite it, so that's what I did. Turns out, you don't actually eat it, you just chew it, get all the juicy sugariness out of it, and then spit it out. Turns out, it's sugarcane! Sugarcane is delicious, but tough to chew. 

Then we came home and finished our game of Risk (I won). Tony's mom made dumplings for supper and another one of his cousins came with his wife and their baby, and oh my word, I got to hold this beautiful, chubby, Chinese baby. Her cheeks! It was the cutest thing watching Tony play with her, make faces at her. That was the first time I saw her smile, when Tony was making faces that I thought for sure would scare her, but she just laughed at him! A glimpse at my possible future. Ha!

P.S. You can read a recap of the first day here

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