There were five of us, Nate, Sonya, myself, and two strangers, hiding from the rain under a bus shelter. Between us was one stool that everyone was fighting over. Curiously enough no one was fighting to sit down, but instead to get someone else to sit down. We’d finally made it back to Sonya’s family’s house for a visit, and we were waiting for a ride from Tai An. It turned out that the family van hadn’t passed it’s emissions test, so there was concern about getting a ticket for driving it into town. The chair was still empty when we finally gave up on the van and called a cab.
In the dry cab we were able to relax and take in the familiar sights as they rolled by. Everything was much more green then it had been during our visit over Chinese New Year, the fields were full of healthily sized corn plants.
We were welcomed right back into Sonya’s family, and fed a lunch of dumplings. Paige had grown a lot. She was excited to see her foreign friends again, and was soon running around us giggling. Not so shy this time as last time.
At dinner I was still full from lunch, and Sonya’s mother was very concerned that I didn’t like the food. “Sonya, the food is delicious, I’m eating three times what I usually eat, I’m just full,” I explained as seeds and fruit were shoved towards us.
We went to visit Sonya’s relatives again, the one with the baby that cried last time. That baby had grown a lot, but she still wasn’t sure of Nate. When Nate went to the bathroom she was able to smile and laugh and toddle around, but when Nate returned the tears came back.
That night we brought Paige to the park to do some dancing. All of the kids out playing were very interested in Nate. Pretty soon Nate had a game of chase going. He’d pretend to be a monster and chase the kids away, and then, to everyone’s surprise and to hoots of laughter from the kids and watching parents, Nate would off in the other direction, causing the crowd of children to spin around and come running after him.
We ended the night watching a Chinese soap opera, with Nate and I in complete confusion, while I made hats with the other women in Sonya’s family.