Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Long weekend in EA = go home with a friend. Which is awesome because I get to see more of the country, meet family members, and get some home cookin’! So, four hours on buses and we arrive in her house on Friday afternoon. Her house is awesome, big living room, lots of family members, 3 little dogs (!!) and her mom is awesome. The Friday and Saturday were pretty chill. We walked around her town, I played with her dogs, we went to a nearby city and did some site seeing. Her mom is really awesome… she was so concerned about me, and the fact that I didn’t bring any sunglasses with me, so she insisted on purchasing me a pair. I also ate a TON and we had watermelon after every meal (to aid with digestion). And for breakfast I had this amazing la tang that apparently is specific to her city, and you dip you tiao in it and it is delicious. Oh man.
And then Sunday came. Now, I had been trying to convince her that I could go home by myself and she could stay at home as long as she wanted. But she would have none of that. I told her that I could leave on Sunday morning, and I wouldn’t have any trouble getting back. But she said that I was her responsibility, and if something were to happen to me, or if I got lost, she would feel awful.
Anyway, I think I was allergic to something in her house, because the whole weekend, my sinuses were going crazy and I was sneezing and my nose was running all over the place. They were all very concerned that I was sick, so on Sunday morning we went to my friend’s mom’s vitamin store/place. She swears by Zinc tablets, and wanted to get me checked out because I was sick. On the way, Emily (my friend) explained to me that they have a machine that will feel my hand and tell me what vitamins I should take. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I went into the shop with… no expectations. Except that this was going to be an interesting experience.
After talking with the owners for a while and flipping through their photo albums (as everyone is really good friends), we went into the back room and were instructed to wash our hands. As the technician-lady hooked up the ‘machine’ to the TV, I looked at all of the posters on the walls that explain which part of the hand is related to which body part… interesting. Emily went first, as she was a seasoned veteran. The technician-lady put the ultra-sound type machine on her hand, and the screen lit up with pink and peach colors, and some streaks that resembled veins. Was I looking at the inside of her hand?!?! Anyway, all looked well, I understood a little, but no one was translating for me. Then, it was my turn.
I tentatively hold my hand up, and she pushes the machine against my palm. She says a bunch of stuff, and Emily translates, saying that I eat too much meat, and I need to eat more vegetables and drink more water. Ok. Good to know. All looks well on the screen, but then, out of no where, this big. Black. DOT. Appears. “you have rubbish in your….” Look it up in the dictionary… “liver.” Ok, I can live with that, rubbish in my liver… what do I do with that? “he duo shui.” Drink more water. Ok. We go back to the pink and peach, and I’m a little nervous at what they will find next, when another big Black DOT appears. AHhhh. Emily asks, “do you have… duzi teng (abdomen aches) during… that… special time?” “why?” “umm.. you have rubbish in your womb.” RUBBISH IN MY WOMB?!?! Great. What does this mean? No kids for jena?! Who knows. Apparently I need to take Zinc and drink more water. Oh, I also have low iron. So I need to eat more vegetables. Rubbish in my womb…
So after the rubbish incident, I think we are going back to her house, but then she informs me we are going to go to a wedding lunch. What? Who’s? am I invited? I’m thinking… This is awkward/cool I get to see an east asian wedding/I hope I am not the center of attention. We walk in, meet the bride and groom, wish them well, and are sent to our room. This place is like.. half restaurant, half hotel. Where half of the hotel rooms have huge round tables instead of beds and 15 people eat in each room. So we are having a good time, I’m talking to all of her aunts and uncles and cousins and people I don’t know how she’s related to. The older people are drinking bai jiu, this really potent clear liquor, while the younger crowd is drinking “American Red Wine.”
Now, let me pause a moment in the story to tell you about this so-called “American Red Wine.” I had this the night before, as it was some leftover from Emily’s brother’s wedding, and it is most certainly NOT wine. It is most akin to pink cough syrup. It has the same consistency, the same taste, and the same throat-coating effect. Not red wine. But they all love it.
Ok back to the story. Enjoying a meal together in happy celebration with alcohol means lots of toasting. Toasting to the bride and groom, toasting to health, long life, the young kids who just graduated college, and of course, the honored guest – me. Why am I the honored guest? Can I just sit here and not say anything, just watch, you don’t have to tell me my language ability is good, you don’t have to say I’m pretty, you don’t have to toast to me, I can just sit here quietly.. I won’t hurt anyone. But this is not acceptable.
So I’m already embarrassed as it is, having to be this impromptu Guest of Honor, when the mother and father of the bride burst into the room. People usually walk around and visit different rooms in order to toast to everyone present. So they come in, see me, toast the room, and then insist on toasting Just to me. So they fill up my glass with the “American Red Wine” and say something and make me down the glass. Apparently it is insulting to not drink the whole thing, especially to the bride’s mother and father.. and especially when they are looking at you eagerly and saying “bottoms up!” so I do it twice. One for each.
I am a little embarrassed because the mother made me sit down because I was taller than her, and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. So they leave, and I recover from my embarrassment, when the bride and groom come in. They also want to toast, just to me. So, Emily’s brother steps in and asks the groom if I can just drink half a glass for each. They agree, but after I have had the first half, the groom, who is obviously drunk off of all of the “American Red Wine” he’s been drinking, fills my glass again, and then spills it on me. So now, I am covered in ‘red wine’ and am forced to drink 2 more full glasses of it.
At this point, I’ve had about a whole bottle of the stuff and am just hoping that the meal is almost done, and we can go home soon. And we do, 2.75 hours after we arrived, we leave the hotel/restaurant, and go home.
So now I am in my own home again, eating my zinc pills, and will never drink any “American Red Wine” again.