Happy birthday to mom! I video chatted with my family this morning after my shower; it was still the night of December 19th for them. I didn’t go to breakfast today because Shuyan’s mom gave me too many fruits and sweets and I wanted to eat some. I managed to do a lot of clean up in the room and set up my suitcases so I’d be ready immediately for a move. Shuyan came with Hanshin and her mother by 12, and they was very happy to find me all dressed. They told me that the plan was to eat the hot pot for lunch, so I was really excited. On the way out of the hotel, we saw the poster of another wedding and her mom loved me even more when I responded affirmatively that Shuyan and Hanshin are the more beautiful couple, haha. She was also very happy to see that the wedding hall they’d set up was better than this wedding (moms are the same everywhere!).
We went to a new restaurant and ate the hot pot there; it was really good! I chose the mushroom broth. We ate, and I took pictures of the amazing condiment bar they’d set up. There was also free beer available, but Hanshin said it was free because the beer wasn’t that great quality. During lunch, the guys called Hanshin and invited him to basketball, and they specifically said that I was invited! Most Chinese girls don’t play basketball, so I was a bit dubious of this honor, but I’m a tomboy and so got excited to play. I really wanted to play basketball with them, but I wanted to see first how they play, and second if there was any point. Better to be prepared, I guess. One of the male servers came and had a long black dead looking cut in his thumb as he was moving over the dishes. I was looking at it and I found myself wishing that I could diagnose it. It’s nice to be reminded of my interest in medicine even though I’m so far from home.
We then went to visit her grandfather, bringing along some gifts. All of his kids were there: Shuyan’s uncle from America (who arrived at the airport the same day as me), Shuyan’s mom, and Shuyan’s aunt. When we came in, it was really cold, but they quickly turned on the heat. The poor man was super bundled up and I’m sure the heat will do him some good. He’s like a lot of old people in China; they don’t like to turn on the heat in order to save money. Hanshin told us that while we were getting our nails done, some ladies walked by and commented “why is this Shanxi (a different province in China) girl speaking English?” to each other (in regards to me!), making him laugh. I knew the Chinese would think I was Chinese! And adults are the same everywhere.. the adults all spoke of the wedding, the guests, the drunken funny stories (Kung Fu Panda Man came up quite a bit), and laughed at how many people wanted pictures with me.
The hotel had given the couple several free night passes because they’d spent so much money and reserved so many rooms. Shuyan’s mother wanted to take advantage of one (they expired at the end of December) and so we went to her apartment to pick up some shower items and clothes. Before going to the hotel, we needed to get a government stamp on a document that would give the hotel a tax break, and the hotel would then deduct that money from the total wedding bill. Guys, government buildings in China are HUGE and they are amazing. I was worried about taking a picture (didn’t want to get in trouble) so I didn’t take out my camera. We weren’t even allowed to go inside; the guy came out with the document all ready for us. We didn’t even get out of the car, haha.
The hotel lady came to the room to look over the government stamped document and then gave them the new room key. They all went down to the room while I stayed up and tried to catch up on some writing and organizing. Shuyan called and asked if I could meet them downstairs at 5:30. I changed into something I thought would be better for basketball and put on my sneakers, and I made such good time that I met them in the elevator going down. Shuyan’s mom went home and we went to Hanshin’s parent’s house again for dinner with the promise of a special kind of local river crab at the end. We ate, and I made sure not to eat as much as the night before (trying to save room for the crab!). They then brought out the crab after it was steamed, and I had a silent mini freak out because the legs were hairy, as was part of the underbelly and the claws. They showed me the difference between the male and female crab, and helped me cut it open. I had a quiet freak out again because the inside under shell was also hairy, but I got brave after taking my first bite (I had to watch everyone else start, first). I attacked the crab, but it took me a good 10 minutes plus to finish and I gave up after that. They ate and ate crabs until only two were left, and mother in law was disappointed because she thought I would eat more (yesterday will work out not so great for me). Shuyan wasn’t feeling very well, so mother in law gave her some ginger medicine! I immeditaly thought of my mom, as at the first sign of sickness, she brews a ginger lemon honey tea for us using fresh ginger (and I don’t like ginger!!). It’s really nice to see touches of home even when you’re far away.
Hanshin’s father is amazing. He did the dishes yesterday and ate a ton of crab even though he doesn’t like it, all without a word of complaint. And today, he did all of the dishes again! This man is amazing, and may God reward him for his real kindness. We had planned to go to basketball around 7, but we didn’t finish eating until about 7:45 and by then it was late. It turned out that only 4 showed up, so it wasn’t such a big loss. Nevertheless, I was a bit disappointed as I was looking forward to playing. We hung out, digested, and talked some more before leaving. Just when we got back to the hotel, Hanshin remembered that he forgot some items at the new apartment; they were planning to stay in the hotel and take advantage of the free night her mom booked. We got into some trouble for parking in a spot that wasn’t ours, so we had to move quickly. We went to the new apartment and they picked up a couple of things for the night. Shuyan was still not feeling well, despite drinking two cups of medicinal ginger tea at her in law’s house, and was feeling a bit dizzy and nauseated. Hanshin went down to move the car just in case, and Shuyan changed into warmer boots and got the scarf that she’d forgotten and we left to come back to the hotel. She nearly fell asleep in the car; her head was totally down and didn’t move even when he turned on the radio. I told her not to even bother coming to my room, and they went directly to their room to sleep.
Tomorrow is supposed to be super cold, unfortunately. Today was already misty rainy, so hopefully tomorrow the weather will be a bit clearer, albeit very cold. This is the first night I slept late! I went to bed around 12:30. Hopefully I’ll still be able to be up before 8 and keep my record going 🙂
I love China.