Friday, May 22, 2015

A Little of This and a Little of That

     I have so many stories from my time in China, and some of them are short enough that they can't be posts by themselves. So, here are four short stories. I haven't decided if there is a common theme threading through the stories; I'll leave you to decide that. I'm sharing them, because, for me, it is in the quieter moments that our humanity reveals itself. It was during the late night conversations that I saw--saw and understood--my friends and the vulnerabilities that they are forced to hide because of their culture. The quick morning meal showed a lifetime of work and love. It was in the moments that I looked into a person's eyes and knew them--just for a moment. Even though we hardly spoke each others' language.

     But enough exposition. Here we go.


     I lived in the dorm, which meant that I didn’t have a kitchen handy to make food. This was fine, because in all honesty, I am lazy and there were plenty of places on the walk to school where I could buy a ready-made meal for less than one U.S. dollar.
     My favorite shop was run by an older woman, who had a craggy face and a full laugh. She sold these delicious pastries which were like crepes with egg folded into a package of deliciousness. From what I could tell—she had the thickest Sichuan accent—these were called momos. I would unabashedly inhale a momo for breakfast every single day on my walk to school. She sold a yogurt drink which I often bought too. The shop, by the way, was her apartment. She'd had one of the outside walls of her ground floor home taken out, and sold food which had been made right in her own kitchen. I would peek into the living room and see her husband or grandchildren watching TV. Her home always seemed full of people and chatter.