Due to my high brow status as chief flunky in charge of volunteering for all things having to do with Ava's heritage organization FCC (Families With Children From China); last night we were cordially invited to a dinner at the Yangs. Mr. Yang is a very nice man who is in charge of something with the Chinese Community Center here. What, I am not sure of. I probably should be sure of this but I am going with the flow due to cultural and language differences.
They are delightful people and I am honored that my 3 year old and I would be invited to share a meal with them. The other chief flunky, my friend Tracy was also invited and she has a daughter Marg, a little older than Ava. Marg and Ava were fast friends, sisters in Chinese heritage and spunky spirit. I love to watch them fight and make up and be best friends on an hourly basis since both of them have the personality of a pit bull when they haven't napped. I'm kidding. They are sweet children just survivors, enough said. Adoptive parents will understand what I mean.
So, Tracy and I show up at Mr. Yang's house a very fashionably 20 minutes late. Bottles of wine in hand, and ready to practice the 6 Mandarin words we know. Mrs. Yang opens the door. She seems completely surprised we are there, and no Mr. Yang. Oh God, tense guest moment. Mrs. Yang explains that Mr. Yang is at the store and she will be starting dinner soon. Yikes, I quickly offer to make myself scarce in the backyard with the children. Tracy makes small talk over sauteed bok choy. I run scared into the back yard entertaining the kidlets. Can we please open the American Merlot I brought?
All is well, and we were a little early I guess...note to self...look up what is fashionably late in China on the internet. Many more people arrived in the next hour. I mean many! Lots of people. Suddenly, the house smells wonderful. Eel, chicken, noodles, pigs feet, prawns, Canton rice soup, marinated beef all start to meld into one kick ass buffet. My daughter is absolutely having the time of her life. She is reveling in the company of these sweet Chinese people. She seems at home. She coos at the older ladies who compliment her on her appearance, she gives high fives to the men who casually greet her with Ni Hao, Ava Jing. She is a maniac trolling through the back yard and house. I start to relax and make conversation with the people at the party.
Then it happens. She stops in the kitchen and has a seriously goofy look on her face. She coughs and then IT happens. She proceeds to barf up everything in her little 3 year old gut on her new dress and my new pants. (Yes, the cool pants I bought and sewed cool cuffs on yesterday!) I am concerned and MORTIFIED at the same time. I cannot control the projectile vomit. 100 pairs of Chinese eyes are on us and the hostess' table cloth. Why is this happening now?
I pause to tell you that my child has barfed exactly 2 times in her life that I know of. And this was the second time. She isn't a "ralfer" by nature. Perhaps she just got a little excited, perhaps she coughed too much she's had a bad chest cold. Perhaps I am a total numb nut who thought she could bring her rambunctious 3 year old to a dinner party.
Mrs. Yang is the sweetest person on the planet. She offers me a wet rag to clean up her kitchen floor. I quickly say I am soooo sorry we will GO! She touches my arm and says simply, "I'm a mom too, you can't leave without eating. I will get Ava a tee shirt." I look at her amazing 60 foot buffet and really want to eat her spicy prawns. Ava starts to cry at the prospect of leaving for home. I mean real melt down mode, "Pleeease can we stay?" I feel like I am at a church potluck dinner of my youth where the church ladies are "completely offended" if you don't eat.
Long story longer. We stayed, Ava wore Mrs. Yang's tee shirt and ate an embarassing number of prawns. I had another glass of wine and truly enjoyed myself. I even tried pigs feet for the first time. Not because I felt obligated, just because I was having a good time and they honestly looked good. (Perhaps this was the 2nd glass of wine talking.)
I love the Yangs. They seem like family. And not just for Ava.