|Ma and I hotpot
|An archer, still at attention
|A general in full splendor
The last time I saw my folks was the
last time I was in the USA; Christmas 1998. I’m a good son though, for I
email every day and phone several times a month so they don’t worry.
Still, there is a difference between a phone call and a hug.
When my folks found out I would
be spending the summer in China, they immediately started to make plans to
see me here. Unfortunately, with business commitments and such, only my
Mom attempted the 20-hour flight and 12-hour time change from Florida to
Even before she took off, I was a
bit busy managing the delicate relations that would arise with an American
Mom meeting Chinese parents. Jingmei and I had several strategy sessions
trying to figure out how to make the meetings smooth and yet somehow mix
Western and Asian values.
traditionally, my family would
treat Jingmei’s folks to dinner without the kids present. There, aspects
of the families’ histories and futures would be discussed, sans the kids.
Of course, with the language barrier and such, it wasn’t gonna happen like
Not to worry, for everything went
well. I do believe that the look of pure joy when Jingmei’s Dad saw the
funky high-tech kite Mom brought all the way from the USA, was worth all
of the effort it took to get the three to meet. This is what Mom had
to say about it:
night was the ‘meet Jingmei’s parents night’. Wet
dressed up and drove to a magnificent Chinese restaurant in a
converted mansion on embassy row.
Wayan and I bore gifts brought
from the USA for Jingmei’s parents according to her suggestions.
Jingmei Mama and Jingmei Baba (literally Jingmei Mom and Jingmei
Dad, what she told us that we should call them) loved the book
about Florida, the dragon kite with two controls, the perfume, and
the fountain pen for calligraphy.
All of us had a
good time and JM was translating so well that we were all
comfortable with each other. Her parents are so kind and gracious
with pleasure radiating from their eyes because we are visiting
their historic and natural wonders.
Before I had a chance to digitize
the experience, Ma and I hit the road. Our first stop was Xi’an, home of
the famous Terracotta Army, and we were in awe of Qin Shi Huang’s efforts
to fight on even after death.
With 1,000 visible warriors (and
an estimated 8000 still unearthed), his ceramic army is impressive, even
after 2,500 years underground bleached off all the paint and a few
cave-in’s smashed many into bits.
Ma and I were fighting our own
battles aboveground, against the 40+ C heat (that’s 100+ F for you
Americans), muggy humidity, and endless dust. Mom kept doing rain dances
to try and induce a street-cleaning, dust-reducing tropical thunderstorm.
I applauded her efforts from the comfort of a beer kiosk in the shade.
Next we are off to Chengdu, home
of spicy food and endless tea gardens.