Monday, July 8, 2013

Chinese visitors

Yizhi has family visiting from China: her father (in the white shirt), sister, and aunt & uncle. Her father & aunt are siblings. Yizhi says that she was mostly raised by her aunt. They arrived in the states last Tuesday & came to Lincoln Friday afternoon. Austin suggested we take them to the farm. He had been shown the home of Yizhi's grandparents when he'd been to China, so thought seeing our family's roots would be something to do. Gene & Jean were gracious hosts. We showed up Saturday morning & they fixed a feast of grilled burgers & brats, deviled eggs, jello salad, macaroni salad, baked beans and homemade cherry & peach pie. Gene shared some of his home brews too. Then our guests got the tour of the barn, hay bales and corn & soybean fields. The men hit it off with Gene discussing farming. Yizhi stayed nearby so she could interpret for them. Her sister is studying English but was always very quiet & shy. They all marveled at the wide open spaces and the big equipment. They enjoyed the farm tour. My Chinese guests brought me several teas. I shared some of it with them while they were here. I discovered that the reason the Chinese drink so much tea is that they have to boil their water before drinking it. So they make hot tea. It is the kids who drink more soda. I also learned their kitchen stoves only have one burner & no oven. Yizhi's aunt thought our American kitchens were amazing. Yizhi also explained that when school children get to middle school & high school they attend school from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm. They have a two hour lunch break & a one hour supper break. And when they get home from school they still have two to three hours of homework to do. An incredibly rigorous & competitive education. Only once a year can they take the college entrance exam. If you do poorly you have to wait another year to take it. Classrooms typically have a hundred students. We found the cultural differences to be significant & we only scratched the surface. But we also found that even with a language barrier we could enjoy each others company. Meals were enjoyed when shared. And the weather was mild enough we ate outdoors. A treat for all of us. Our guests left Lincoln yesterday morning with encouragement for us to come visit them now.

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