Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Visiting My Chinese Grandson And His Grandmother

D was a student of mine in Hong Kong 20 some years ago and helped me with research in Beijing.  My family attended his wedding in Beijing and he's been to visit us a number of times in Alaska and now he's a college professor himself, doing very well. He's like a third child for us. 

So in addition to visiting our other son here in the San Francisco area, we're here to visit our new 6 week old grandson, J.  A special bonus is that J's biological grandmother is here from Beijing, where we last saw her ten years ago.

D stopped at a Chinese grocery on the way home.  Lots of interesting food available.

The fish department announced itself to my nose as soon as we got inside.  Lots of fish, live and not.  Turtles and fat frogs too.

And disappointingly, for an Alaskan, is this package of farmed Canadian salmon

Lots of great fruits and vegetables and fungi.  The jackfruit on the left is an old reminder of Thailand where it is common and strangely grows from the trunk of the tree. 

For dinner, J's grandmother made Jiao Zi (dumplings) from scratch.  First the dough, then she cut the little round dough pieces and flattened them for wrappers, the filling, and then she boiled them.  Delicious.

Mind your stereotypes here.  While it's easy to see a quaint older woman, with limited English, visiting from China to help with her new grandson, this is actually a retired physics professor who is also an accomplished artist.   

As we walked around the block with J and tried to retrieve our meager Chinese vocabulary, we traded English and Chinese words for the flowers we saw - azaleas, wisteria, rosemary, iris, and on and on.  I couldn't help thinking about the magnificent day she and her daughter (the new mother) took us to see the peonies in the park in central Beijing.  Acres and acres of magnificent blooms.  She waited until the ideal day when they were all blooming.  That's the day I started to understand peonies.  Growing up in  Southern California, I just never appreciated peonies.  They're really a more northern flower.

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