Today is February 15th and it should end all the fireworks that have been all around Park avenue. Chinese usually celebrate New year/ spring festival for 2 weeks, and I can clearly see it. Myself- I am done. To much banging, to many firecrackers waking me up middle of the night and too much food to make me fat.
Funny to think that I AM aunt to 3 100% Chinese kids from ages 4-21. Funny to think that I am aunt to 2 100% Estonian kids from ages 2-11. Weird to think that Gabriel has cousins in China and in Estonia. It would be SO cool to have international family reunion .
This year I had a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Chinese New year/ Spring festival with my husbands family who lives in Wanzhou( Chongqing district). About 3 hour plain flight from Beijing, and then 4 hour car drive from Chongqing to Wanzhou. Let me just tell you this at first. I have been to wanzhou before, BUT I was there before Beijing become my home. NOW I appreciate Beijing so much more. Beijing is clean compared to Wanzhou, it is not as overcrowded as Wanzhou and chongqing, and people in Beijing now actually have better manners to compared to Wanzhou. And Cars don't honk in Beijing as much as in Wanzhou, and people don't spit as much they do in Wanzhou. And also food is better and restaurants are cleaner here in Beijing. So I am very happy, that I am in BEIJING.
So , we spent 6 days with Nicks sister. Her sister lives on 11th floor. No elevator. So lot of stairs to walk. Nicks brothers live very close by and Nicks dad lives about 2 kilometers from Nicks sister, so their family pretty much lives next door to each other. Nick is the BLACK sheep of the family.. Thanks do diana ;).. But Nick also mentioned, that he could NEVER see him self in Wanzhou. And I can see why. That city is not HIM.
Also, people in Wanzhou do not use heaters. Weather is cold about -4 C right now. People do weird things there. They wear many layers of clothes to keep them warm. They open their windows to let fresh air in ( air is more polluted than in Beijing). They sleep with layers of clothes on, and even eat clothes on. Inside the houses you have to wear slippers. There are slippers for bathroom, to kitchen, to showers, to regular rooms. Just slippers, slippers, slippers. My feet got blisters on just switching slippers from room to room. lol
Food. Lot of eating. I gained about 8 pounds. Big breakfast, big lunches and big dinners. I tried to stay away from some of the meals, BUT family insisted, so I just sat there and ate, and smiled and ate some more. and more. And drank lot of beer, and wine, and hot water, and tea, and more wine, and more beer.
This time around I stayed away from weird foods. Well... Almost... One night, after hard night of parting with friends we hit the street food place, and I accidentally ate something that was most likely ( sure it was) Pigs brain. I spit it out as fast as I could. Texture was just nasty, and taste was yuck. Yuck, Yuck.
But Nicks family respected my wishes, and this time around I was not served any turtles, or snakes or frogs. Can't stomach them...
Nick and I tried to sneak away to coffee houses and such, since we got cravings for our normal stuff. And coffee houses are very inconsistent with their coffee. Just like Chinese restaurants. Even though you order same food twice, it never tastes the same, because chef is new, or ingredients are little different, or more oil is used or more salt.. etc. Same with coffee. Day before we ordered Columbian, and decided to repeat our order. THis time around it was as strong as espresso. BLACK dark, tooo strong. Not bad, but not what we had ordered. When we requested info about what the heck is going on, we were informed that today they had different barista... duh.. Of course...
Well, nicks hometown was lot of fun, and Nicks family is great :D I really did enjoy spending time with them and listening them talk Chinese with Sichuan accent- btw- very different from Mandarin. I had hard time understanding even the easiest sentences. :(
Second part of our spring break we spent here in Beijing with Nicks family. 5 of nicks family members came over to our Beijing apartment. I finally got the taste of what it is to cook to a big family . I loved it. Nicks family ( sister, her husband , their daugther, and Nicks brothers wife and their 4 year old daughter LELE), ate everything I cooked. They wanted to eat western DIANAS cuisine and they got it. I cooked dishes I usually cook for nick. Slow roasted ribs, Curry Chicken, different potato dishes, different pastas. THEY ALL LOVED IT. I was most impressed by Lele who is 4 years old. SHE ATE MY FOOD. MY FOOD. Are you serious? 4 year old eating my cooking.....lol.... I must be getting better. ;) To be honest, I was little scared when they came to visit us, because I thought they will NOT like western cooking, but they did and I am relieved and happy .
They also had busy schedule here in Beijing. I did not do anything together with them , since the moment I got home, my back completely failed me . I was in deep deal of pain and only managed to clean and cook.. But They had fun. They got to see what they wanted to see ( it is easier for them to navigate in Beijing, since they speak Chinese..duh)..lol. When they left, I felt sad :(
I really enjoyed having them around, and we all feel in love with LELE. Especially Gabriel. Lele is 4 years old and she reminds me so much of Regina. She is after all Nicks brothers daughter ( the one who looks like Nick).
So yeah, we all had great time :D:D:D:D