Angie, Reed, Sadie, Amy (our gracious hostess!), and Me
Brad and Angie
Bruce and Reed
Our hostess and host, Amy and Jeff!
Rock and Jonny
I have to say the holiday season has been different around here. There is definitely less hustle and bustle and also less pressure to buy the perfect gifts. I haven't even began to shop for Jonny and the kids. I think we will probably have a minimalist Christmas, which is what I always strive for but never achieve. I have to admit I am very jealous that the Pontius' are going back to the U.S. for Christmas. As much as I have been saying I don't care much about where we celebrate the holidays, since we are always away from our family anyway, I sure wish we were with family for this holiday season.
On Sunday we had been invited to lunch at the Hardgrove's house for lunch, which was being made by their ayi, which happens to be our ayi's sister. We were getting ready to go and my ayi with her son and husband showed up at our house. I thought this was a bit strange that the Hardgrove's ayi would invite her sister's family to the Hardgrove's house. I asked our driver what was going on and he said we weren't going to the Hardgrove's for lunch we were going to a countryside village to Da Yang's house for lunch.
We drove about 40 minutes outside of town to Da Yang's house. We thought the gesture to invite us to their house was really nice. We really wanted to see how the locals live in the villages and we definitely got a taste.
When we arrived Da Yang's family greeted us. They lived in a one level house that had cement walls and floors. It had no central heating and the house looked like it needed to be finished. I have never appreciated central heating as I did yesterday.
Our hostess and chef, Da Yang!
After lunch we loaded up the van and Da Yang took us to a Buddhist temple by her village.
Here we are with both our ayi's families and our drivers.
We had a nice afternoon and we appreciated the taste of Chinese culture. I was amazed that they lived without central heat, especially in this cold climate. It has been in the mid 40's F, so it isn't just mildly cold, we are close to freezing. I am almost positive that the majority of China DOES NOT use heat in the winter. Our driver who considers himself middle-class, has central heat, but does not use it. He told me "he is not scared of the cold". Unfortunately being in Arizona for the past 10 years has made me afraid of the cold. I am just thankful that we have central heating in our house.
One thing that my wise husband pointed out today was that even though Da Yang and her family live in less than modest conditions, she is the happiest and generous people we have met while in China. It has really given me something to think about.