Renata and I were treated like honored guests by two of Renata’s former students and one of the student’s parents. I have never felt so welcome and honored and special. Never.
Wonderful funny moments: my Mandarin was so badly pronounced that the few words I knew were unintelligble. Jen, Iris’ mom doesn’t speak English at all, her dad has a few words. Both were incredibly enchanting and loving. We made it through with laughs and jokes and gestures and the young women’s great translations.
They are using my Chinese name; we are using their English ones.
When the food arrived, Ashley leaned to Renata and quietly asked if I needed a fork. She didn’t want me to be embarrassed. I overheard and told her I could use chop stitks. Renata agreed. Then, of course, I had to pick up a tricky piece of food, veggies wrapped in tofu skin. Everyone at the table was watching… I had to eat first…. and then cheered and clapped when I successfully snatched it off the plate and into my bowl.
Not quite a “Nixon goes to China” moment, but a cultural victory nonetheless!
And the food was amazing!
Zhongshan, People’s Republic of China