I thought we kinda missed any celebration at New Year, but something unexpected happened tonight. About 5:00 today, J told me Song Ying asked her if she wanted to go visit N. N is Song Ying’s young niece who is about the same age as J. They love to play together. N’s big sister, M, is an adult who works as a translator. I thought it was a bit late to be going out, they live about 45 minutes outside the city. I got on the phone with M and we arranged for J to go visit them on Friday.
In the meantime, something SY said made me realize the purpose for tonight’s invitation was because they were shooting off fireworks! (Here’s something poetic — the Chinese word for fireworks directly translates as "smoke flower.") A quick re-grouping, and soon we were all off in the car, or at least David, me, and J. The big girls already had plans to go out with friends, and I had a vague feeling that it might be overwhelming to have all five of us, and also too much to pull off waiting for teenagers to get ready etc. I hadn’t been thinking too much about logistics except the need to seize the opportunity; but we arrived just at dinner time.
M’s family (mom, dad) had been thinking more swiftly than I, and prepared a wonderful meal. No photos of that, it would have been too intrusive. M’s dad is SY’s brother in law. He is the man in the red shirt in the pictures. A warm and generous host. This is not the first time we had been to their home. Last year when our first puppy died, they kindly allowed us to bury her in a lovely bamboo forest on a mountain behind their home.
Tonight, first we were served Guanyin tea (a type of oolong) and snacks while everyone else bustled about to help prepare dinner. Then, our meal consisted of steamed dhicken with white (garlic and ginger) sauce, preserved pork meat, steamed fish, kale stalks (home grown), steamed lettuce (home grown), and white rice. All Cantonese specialties, and a delicious feast! Then we walked the very short distance to the corner store and purchased fireworks. Then to a large field where everyone took a turn shooting off a flame. Here are the pictures. The petite man shooting off one of the fireworks is our driver, Afu, who also joined us for the festivities.
When the fireworks were all done, we were invited in again for tea, but when I realized it was 9:15 I declined. J, however, was not ready to leave. She ended up accepting an invitation to spend the night. I think she surprised everyone but D and me. 🙂 We knew she loves sleepovers! But, it’s Chinse New Year and a time for visiting, I’m sure the surprise guest was not unwelcome.