Summer seemed to take longer than usual arriving this year, with lots of rainy chilly weather stretching through June and into July. But finally, that dry heat that we have come to know and love finally arrived. We’ve been taking advantage of getting out of the city and enjoying it on the weekends.
One weekend we went to K’s village especially to take his parents on a picnic. We arrived in the village the night before. The next day we took his mom and her sister, as dad wasn’t confident in his hill climbing abilities. During our picnic the two ladies in their 70’s took off up the closest hill and disappeared for two hours. They finally came back with iris bulbs and smiles. They spent the rest of the picnic weaving long grasses into children’s crowns which A wore with happiness.
Last weekend we went to the village again, and on Sunday headed to Linxia in Gansu province to stock up on blanket materials. That particular day was a special Muslim holiday, which mean most of the city’s shops were closed (as most of Linxia’s population is Islamic). We contacted our supplier and he was kind enough to come and open up for us, and we were very grateful.
While we waited for him to arrive, we wandered around the nearby remodeled tourist attraction, showcasing traditional Linxia culture and architecture. Though it was a long drive to Linxia, and my bad tooth was aching, exploring the traditional architecture put a spring back in my step. It is one of my very favorite things to do, and I have not done it in a long time.
Interestingly, after swishing bai jiu (rice liquor) around in my mouth several times, it started to feel better, and has been pain free since. Chinese alcohol for the win!
The following day was second eldest niece’s wedding! I had been looking forward to attending even though it was going to be a town wedding in a hotel (I’ve still never attended a Tibetan village wedding except my own, and mine was not that traditional for a wedding, I’m told)
First we arrived at the groom’s family home in Jianzi (a town sort of nearby) and were ushered up to the sixth floor of an apartment building. Upon entering, it was like being transferred to a house in the village. All the walls were wooden in the traditional style. There were beautiful carpets atop kangs (built in traditional style beds), and on top of those were wooden tables laden with all the best of Tibetan celebratory foods.
I along with the kids was ushered into one of the two bedrooms to snack and chat with other women and children, while the (important) men were gathered around the tea table in the living room. Events like these are often sex segregated, so I just sat and ate my dumplings with no thought to being able to talk to my husband until we left.
It was at the hotel dining room that I started to feel queezy, and the thought of more food did not appeal at all. I managed to see the most important parts of the celebration before needing to excuse myself. I spent the rest of the party in the outer hallway by the window being gawked at by little kids.
Despite my recent ailments, I’ve managed to have a lot of fun in the sun this summer. It’s actually been harvest time here since the beginning of August. There are some big agricultural changes in recent years, most noticeable is the availability of rental farm equipment. It is revolutionizing the village harvest. A big difference from when I first started visiting.
Soon the trees will start changing color to yellow and it will be my two favorite times of year, moon cake time and raspberry picking! It is going to be great, you’ll see. I am even going to make a pie.