Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Elin Goes to School

Elin has the dream Aunt and Uncle, with them doting on her and she on them.  When she was on Whidbey Island this summer she learned to swim, bike ride, speak a great deal of English and split wood.  Both Aunt Yessi and Uncle Brad were her playmates, teachers, friends and parents for a month.

Yessi walking Elin to school in Xiamen
Sweet Elin

Now in China, Uncle Brad became Elin's "show and tell" at school, and was invited to teach her kindergarden class.  It's always been fun to watch Brad's focus when he's with children and in Elin's class he gave it his all.  Who knows how, without Chinese language skills, but he was able to fully engage the kids with his energy and fun-loving spirit.  He lets laughter and good humor rule, with puzzles, questions and experiments flowing freely to stimulate young imaginations.  Before the kids knew what was happening they were involved in learning.


"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."

~ Benjamin Franklin

Monday, October 12, 2015

Candy Day

I am completely and totally stunned at the preparations for Brad and Yessi's Candy Day.  Candy Day, according to my source, Yessi, is when wedding invitations are hand-delivered, along with a red box or bag of candy to all the wedding guests living nearby.  All photographs I've seen on the internet of Chinese wedding candy boxes (or bags), have been small.  Imagine my shock when I saw these photographs.  

Unpacking the candy crates

Putting together the candy boxes (bags)

Prepared deliveries
 (perhaps there are smaller candy boxes inside the red bags?)

The day of the candy box deliveries, a large lunch is prepared for family and friends…

The men toast…

And, the feast begins…

This day, October 10, 2015, was Yessi and Brad's Candy Day.  


"When there is love in a marriage, there is harmony in the home;
when there is harmony in the home, there is contentment in the community;
 when there is contentment in the community, there is prosperity in the nation;
 when there is prosperity in the nation, there is peace in the world."

~ Chinese Proverb

Saturday, October 10, 2015

"Long hallways and unforeseen stairwells"

Brad and Yessi are in China.  A going home for Yessi.   Familiar streets.  Familiar rooms.  Familiar customs.  Familiar faces. Familiar food. Familiar language.  A journey of "long hallways and unforeseen stairwells" brought Yessi to the U.S., to Brad, to marriage, to Whidbey Island.  Yessi is no longer the person who left China two years ago, yet she is.  She is the same charming, adventurous and cheerful young woman, just deeper and richer.

Yessi with mom

Yessi with friends

Yessi with sister-in-law and nieces

Yessi with aunt and mom

 Yessi's nieces

This cutie pie was only a baby when Yessi left China.

Yessi, her friends and mom

With this trip to China, Yessi returns home, a married woman, with her husband, Brad.   Her birth country and the country of her new life are now intertwined.  Yessi can switch from speaking Chinese to English, and back again, in an instant.  The changes between the Chinese culture and the U.S. culture  are more complex.    Interactions with others in America, get tangled up with her Chinese upbringing.  Yet, her newly learned behaviors here, get mixed up with the expectations of her in China.  What an amazingly complex dual life for both Yessi and Brad.  They are walking a tight rope between two counties and two cultures, seeking a balance to honor and respect one another's roots, all the while  trying to understand the not so subtle differences.  Any marriage is an adjustment but intercultural marriage has to be the biggest challenge of all.  

Yessi & Brad in China

Yessi has been weaving and dancing the past two years in a foreign culture; now it's Brad's turn, but with Chinese language skills more limited than Yessi's English language skills.  He's enthusiastic about his approaching Chinese wedding and anxious to feel "at home" in China.   White and tall don't exactly nestle into the fabric of Chinese life, but he's there trying to do just that.

Brad playing with Elin in Xiamen

Brad meeting Yessi's friends

Xiamen Friend Play

Family dinner


“Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected, how one decision leads you another, how one twist of fate, good or bad, brings you to a door that later takes you to another door, which aided by several detours--long hallways and unforeseen stairwells--eventually puts you in the place you are now.”

~Ann Patchett, What now?