My dad has two friends visiting from Guangzhou, China, a man he went to grade school with and his wife. Originally, my dad told us that they would only be staying for two days but that they haven’t purchased their return ticket yet (we know how this goes). Turns out they will be staying until the 27th which is a whopping 12 days.
So far it’s not so bad but it’s definitely… different. They have great intentions because they brought over all these herbs to make my dad soups/tonics for cancer. Blood replenishing, healing, balancing, cleansing, you know the deal. The woman told me that when faced with cancer, Americans just accept the fate but Chinese people will keep making remedies and drink the cancer away (with soups I mean). She said if my dad was in China, people would make such a big deal out of his condition and make him soups nonstop. Yesterday, she made my dad 3 soups, cooked us all dinner, and refused to let us clean up. I haven’t had someone cook for me in a while and it felt so nice.
They are from mainland China so the stereotype that people there are loud and aggressive is appearing to be partially true (doesn’t apply to my dad though). The woman was spewing out questions/comments left and right:
- Do you know Chinese? Yes.
- Do you understand Chinese? Yes.
- Do you like to eat this kind of food? Say what? I AM Chinese you know!
- It’s good to eat this. You can’t eat bread everyday.
- Does he (Terry) like this kind of food? As soon as I told them that he was Korean, they were staring at every bite he was taking like it was his first bite of Chinese food ever. Ooooohs and aaaaaaahs.
- Does he (Terry) like this soup? It had liver in it so he was struggling.
- Wow you know how to speak Korean, Chinese, and English? No, he (Terry) speaks English.
- You should keep eating this steamed fish. This was repeated 2-3x.
- You guys haven’t had steamed fish in a while huh? Not true.
- Do you guys ever eat Chinese food? Yes, I cook it 2-3x/week (not lately though). She gives me a disbelieving look… like what could this American girl possibly know how to make?
- Wow Americans talk so softly! I was whispering to Terry to be polite.
- We, people from China, love to talk really loudly… not like Americans or people from HK.
- You guys are full?! You guys eat so little. We like to eat a LOT.
- We can’t eat this much in China because it is so hot.
- Do you guys sweat here? This is not the sweating type weather. She’s referring to the humidity but oh boy, would she be surprised to see how much Terry can sweat.
- You guys should eat this fried fish! Then she whispers to her husband “Americans like to eat this fried kind of stuff.”
- After you guys go running (which we didn’t end up doing), come back and finish this soup and these vegetables.
What hurt my feelings a little is that my dad acted as if I have not made ANY Chinese food… like thank god there’s this woman to finally make him things he can eat. Maybe my Chinese cooking is not up to par with a native’s but dang, I do not cook or eat hamburgers and hot dogs everyday! I like to think that I am still pretty close to my roots but am quickly seeing that my adverse reaction to people in my private space makes me more “American” than I thought. This morning, I even rushed to get ready to avoid any contact and ended up getting to work super early. Despite all of my mixed feelings, I am ultimately thankful that my dad has friends who love him this much to be the ones to cook/clean even though they are visiting. This will be both humbling and hilarious.