I got back from a week-long trip yesterday morning at 4am. (update on that coming after some processing time). :)
I had 8am and 10am class. Which I slept through. Oops.
Around 11:30 I was woken up by a text message from Dr. Xu, "come to lunch, call me when you get a taxi" with a Chin.ese address written below. Okay, I thought. So I put on a dress, threw on some makeup and headed out the door.
Thirty minutes later I pulled up to a fancy schmancy neighborhood with houses. (most chin.ese live in shoddy apartments.) When Dr. Xu came to pick me up at the gate he announced that we were at Dr. Li's weekend home for a party. Dr. Li is one of the most asteemed heart surgeons in Chi.na and he is Dr. Xu's mentor. I was commanded quite sternly that I had to speak Chi.nese during the party.
Cool, I thought.
We arrived at Dr. Li's amazingly gorgeous home and I walked into a home full of Dr. Xu's best friends cooking a huge meal. In attendance were the head nurse her husband and son, Christina, Stone his wife and baby, and Dr. Xu and his girlfriend (our first time to meet, slightly awkward to be the foreign female best friend, but that's another story).
I went straight to the kitchen to catch up with Christina who was slaving away over a big pot of noodles. Michael was in a particularly jolly/hyper mood and came over to us to check on the noods. He announced that those were for him. Why? I wanted to know. "Because it is my lunar birthday!" he said. So he has to eat the birthday noodles. (for a long life).
I sucker punched him for not telling me we were going to his birthday party. Turd ferguson!
Just another example of never really knowing what is going on around here. ha. I was so glad i brought gifts form Ninxia for the doctors, at least I didn't feel like that much of a loser.
We all sat down to a huge meal and chatted and laughed. They drank a lot, cheersing each other while I sipped my water and watched the spectacle.
After lunch everyone seperated out for their after lunch naps. Everything was just so natural. Michael, Christina, and I headed outside and layed on a blanket in the yard (so weird to have a yard!). We layed there looking at the sky and talking for about 2 hours. They eventually fell asleep (both snorers, haha) and I just layed between them thinking about how amazingly blessed I am to be included in this group of people-such a rare thing in Chin.ese-foreign friendships. They have invited me into their Chi.nese world, not me inviting them into an english world. This was a very powerful thing for me to experience. It's been a long time of investment and patience on both sides for our friendships to be this strong. I am so grateful.
I just kept laughing to myself. There I was chillin' in the yard with my friends, speaking chinese, and fartin' around. Like it ain't no thing.
As they rested, Michael played music from his new MP3 player. Soon the music started playing Aaron Shust, who is a faith-based singer. Michael was awaking and started singing along to the music. I can't describe in words how this makes me feel. What a presh-head.
Soon Dr. Li came outside to start lighting up a bbq. (they eat allll the time!). Michael looked at me with sleepy eyes and asked me, "What does adore mean? How do you adore G0d?"
Later we tried lighting a fire for barbeque. They thought that because I am an Amer.ican that I should be a barbeque pro, which unfortunately, I am not. After some finaggling we got some coals burning and I sat back and let them go to town. Michael's gf and I strung pieces of octopus, mushroom, and spicy peppers onto sticks and everyone else started their jobs - taking care of the baby, getting meat sticks ready, or bringing out more drinks.
I had to leave around 6:30 because I had dinner plans. Michael only texted me about lunch but expected me to stay all day/night. ha. Oh culture, what a weird thing. A few more doctors had showed up for the evening/drinking portion of the party, so it was easy for me to slip out with just a few hugs around the bbq.
As I was leaving I gave some gifts from Ningxia and reminded Michael that "life is a gift."
"Yes," he said to me, "and so are people."
My thoughts exactly.