Sunday, July 22, 2007
Fu's daughters (ages 5 and 10) are in town visiting. It's been an exciting adventure already. They got to fly on airplanes for the first time! They've never been to this region, or even out of their own region AND they haven't ever been to visit their mother before.
Traditionally here in China, when you have a child, you often leave the child with your parents to raise while you go to where the jobs are and send money back to your family. This situation is a bit more complicated in that Fu's husband died and his family immediately got rights to her children. She left to find work to show she was capable and has worked here at the hat factory for the past 4 years. This means she was forced to leave her youngest with them before she was even 1 year old.
She spends time knitting them sweaters and making them things in her spare time and goes there to see them whenever she can -- this journey being a 7-day round trip just to get there and back.
THIS is a CELEBRATION! The girls are visiting for the rest of the summer!
The big sister had been in charge of Mom's mobile phone yesterday. She was so proud as she'd never held one before. When Fu got to the office, she borrowed Mag's phone and called her daughters. They were SO EXCITED to get a real phone call on a REAL mobile phone.
I have never seen Fu smile so much and walk so tall as she has this week. It was a treat and honor for me that she brought her girls today, Sunday, for lunch at the factory with Mag and Mossie and I.
The girls made the dish they are holding. Pineapple and small sausages pinned together on toothpicks. (It was Yum too!)
A delicious spicy and refreshing fish head dish (watch out friends in NYC, I've gotten directions on how to make it and I'll be trying it out myself in NYC!!!)
It is SOOOOOO tasty!!! A steamed fish head with a light sauce of red chili peppers, ginger, scallions, soy sauce and sesame oil on top, finished with chopped fresh mint leaves. It's served over plain white "Lah Mien" noodles. Be sure to pour a little bit of the spicy sauce over the noodles too. Ooooh so good!
YUM YUM YUM!
What? You want to learn how to make it too? OK! I videoed Mag's translation, posted below or you can find it HERE. **UPDATE - video upload keeps crashing the computer...I think the internet connection isn't strong enough. I'll post it later.**
What was it that the girls were most excited to try for the very first time? CHICKEN! They had their first chicken cooked stir-fried with vegetables. Their second chicken was today's lunch time roasted chicken... they liked it cooked this way better than stir-fried. The grandparents are vegetable farmers and are quite poor, so meals are most often all vegetables with rice. Once a year, at Chinese New Year, they buy a whole pig and cook it. They enjoy the pig for as long as it lasts and then no more meat until the next year at CNY.
The little one didn't speak to anyone but her sister, even when addressed directly. She'd look at her big sister who would answer for her. Even to their mother. It will take time for her to get to know her mother. I think when she finally starts talking to everyone, they won't be able to stop her.
I asked the big sister if there were any people in her region that looked like me (fair skin, auburn hair, blue eyes.) She said she'd never seen someone that looked like me. Never seen blue eyes before (both girls kept staring when they thought I wasn't aware.) I told her that very often the little babies cry when they first see me because I look so strange and funny. That I suppose they find it all a little scary.
She replied, "Yeah, you look a little scary.
But you are very pretty." This made me laugh.
After lunch I started making silly faces for the little one. She was pouting because she's STILL furious that her grandmother cut off all of her hair! After about 5 minutes she was DYING to smile but held it back. Finally she took her big sister by the hand and began talk-talk-talking her head off half under the lunch table. It was good to see her smile ad hear her laugh.
Time to get back to work. We may head out and shop a little bit late tonight. Time will tell!