Friday, December 21, 2012

A very American Christmas

My friend and former student, Xiao Li, came down for a visit yesterday. Li is like a little brother to me — smart, hardworking, honest and loving. Both he and Ma Lei represent, to me, the best of Chinese culture. Ma Lei loves him as much as I do, and she really appreciated having a Chinese friend to speak with.

We made the evening into a little Christmas. Ma Lei made our Christmas dinner: Chinese-style pork ribs, chicken wings in Coca-Cola sauce, and Chinese noodles. That's not quite the American tradition, but the food was fantastic. It was Li's first home-cooked Chinese meal since last summer, and Ma Lei is a great cook, so he ate like a teenager.

We had a little Christmas gift exchange, which was a first-ever for both our Chinese family members. Ma Lei was as excited as a little girl opening her presents. Li got a lot fewer gifts, but he was very happy to be included in the family.

It was a strange and lovely family, two Americans and two Chinese celebrating American Christmas by eating a Chinese dinner and exchanging gifts made in China. I guess nothing could be more American than that.

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