Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Da Yang's House

A week ago Sunday we wanted to take a day trip outside of Chengdu. The weather had been amazingly beautiful here with temperatures reaching into the low 70's. Our ayi, Xiao Yang, encouraged us to go to a park with lots of flowers, but before we went she insisted we went to her cousin, Da Yang's house for lunch first. Last year we took a trip out to Da Yang's house for dinner. I remember it being really cold and we had to eat with our mittens on because there is no heat in Da Yang's house.

We had also invited our friends Catherine and Ethan and their two sons Isaac and Sam. I asked Xiao Yang if she thought Da Yang would mind feeding 4 other people and she said 'mei wenti' which is Mandarin for no problem!

We went out to her house around 11 am. We were quickly greeted by Da Yang's husband, Xiao Yang's boyfriend. Da Yang was already in the kitchen busy cooking up some of her special dishes. Da Yang is a fantastic cook and I only wish she would teach me her specialties. Gemma was eager to get in the kitchen and help Da Yang and Angus was eager to sample her tasty jiaozi (dumplings).


The weather was so great we were able to eat outside. Da Yang had her table outside and we all just sat around it eating 'family style' and chatting away.



Angus doing what he does best! EAT!!!


Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Xiao Yang's sister-in-law, Xiao Dan. She was pregnant at the time and would come over occasionally to help Xiao Yang with the house. He is so adorable and healthy looking! (A little bit of Chinese culture, they are not afraid to make comments about a person's size. Jonny and I have both been told we are 'fat' by different Chinese people, but they do not think it is something offensive.) Anyway, both Xiao Yang and Xiao Dan made comments to us about the baby being so 'fat in the face' and his skin being so 'black'. It is interesting to me that most people in the US was do about anything to have nice skin like this baby, but Chinese people are always trying to stay out of the sun or use skin whiteners.


This is Xiao Yang's mother. She takes care of both of her son's babies. Here is the younger of the two, but this one is not so 'fat'!


After dinner we took a walk with the kids behind Da Yang's house. There were terraced vegetable fields all around this area. Gemma and Angus had a great time running around not worrying about cars while I had a nice time playing "Guess the Vegetable"!


I just love Xiao Dan's baby! What a little chunk! I love a healthy looking baby!

After our walk in the field I asked Xiao Yang if we could go to her parent's house to meet her father. Her father had a stroke several years ago and is pretty much house bound. The house is very close to Da Yang's so we all walked over to meet the patriarch of the family. When we arrived at Xiao Yang's father house there was a ton of family over there too. We met both of Xiao Yang's brothers, the other sister-in-law, the brother of Xiao Dan, and another child of Da Yang's brother.

After our visit they insisted that Jonny fish in one of the aquaculture ponds on the family's land. It was actually quite comical, we would go to one pond for 5 minutes and wouldn't get a bite, then they would take us to another one and so on.


Here is Jonny and Gemma at one of the fishing holes.


Here is Gemma giving it a try. The guy next to them is Xiao Yang's brother.

I got bored about a half an hour into the fishing and headed back to Da Yang's house with Angus in tow. Jonny probably fished for another 2 hours and caught absolutely nothing! He didn't even get a bite!


Xiao Yang and her mother.


Sam with Da Yang, Xiao Zhu, Xiao Yang with Angus, and Feng Li.

When I returned to Da Yang's house with Angus. There were two other women there, Xiao Zhu and Feng Li. Feng Li is the ayi of my friend Lynn and I found out while I was talking to Xiao Zhu she was the ayi of two other American women I know. The other interesting thing about these women is that they grew up together and have been friends since they were little girl.


I have to say we never made it to the park with the flowers. We had a fabulous time with everyone! There was great food, but even better company! We are actually planning on going their this Saturday, which is New Year's Eve for the Chinese.

The sad thing about this village is that the government will be demolishing it in 2 years time to make way for development. Everyone in the community are farmers and will loose their land. They are going to be given apartments in a high rise building in the village.

After a Long Hiatus...

We had a fabulous trip over the holidays to Koh Lanta, Thailand and I definitely would recommend it to anyone. You can't beat the small island, white sand beaches and incredible food!

So far this year has been busy. We moved into a new house the week after we returned from Thailand. It was a great move for us because our landlord at our other house was unreasonable. The house we are in now has 4 floors and is a little big larger that our previous house. I thought I would hate the stairs, but the house is much more cozy. I hope to take some photos of the new pad and post them soon.

I made a New Year's Resolution to spend more time with the kids and get more organized. I have really put blogging on the back burner. I feel like I am finally organized, so I should be able to juggle everything now. We will see though...