Monday, January 26, 2009

Year of the Ox

Chinese Dolls

It is New Year's Day for over one quarter of the world's population. My mother-in-law just couldn't understand why the girls went to school and her son had to work. There should have been fireworks and food and family from all over China. But this is America. Though we had fish last night and a feast with friends from church the night before, I know she misses the two weeks of festivities and friends. She'll want to burn paper money to honor her deceased mother, give red packets of money to her oldest granddaughter, eat vegetables from her garden, hope for a good planting season.

She is out of her element here in our home and she is not used to sitting indoors. I show her pictures of when I visited her home for Chinese New Year (ten years ago) and wonder if it will only make her sigh more deeply.

During the feast with friends we met a seventy-nine year old woman visiting from China. Her father was a Chinese minister before the revolution yet she went to Nanjing University in the early fifties. I asked her how she was able to survive the red guards during the sixties and her eyes welled up. It was too painful to discuss, she said in halting English. Her mother was a westerner from California, she said, as she hugged me and asked for my address. I hope she writes to me in this year of the ox.

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