The holidays in Beijing have begun.
We call it Chinese New Year’s, Lunar New Year in the States. China it’s the Spring Festival or simply New Years.
Traditionally, it’s a two-week long celebration, running from the first to the 15th of the first month of the Lunar Calendar. Today, the length of the celebration varies from person to person, family to family, occupation to occupation.
It’s day two of the celebration. I’m visiting my grandfather’s sisters, Granny One and Granny Three, with my uncle.
We first visit Granny Three and her husband.
We walk into Granny Three’s house, another relative of theirs was already visiting. Granny’s laying down in her bedroom. We sit in Granny’s bedroom a bit and chat.
She looks at me. And remembers me by my father’s name. I suppose that’s expected. This is my first time meeting her in seven years.
She continues to talk with my uncle. She talks mostly about her health, how it’s deteriorating, how she’s jealous of my grandmother in the States, who is able to walk on her own and sing with her friends every night.
My uncle’s face is directed towards Granny Three while his eyes fades out into an abyss. Must be a routine for him to listen to this.
The relatives that preceded us walk into the room to say good-bye. They hurriedly talk about their son, who hasn’t married yet because he’s going hard for his new start-up.
Once they’ve been scooted out the door, my aunt who is tending Granny Three and Grandpa for the day, escorts us over to the living room.
We continue to talk about Granny Three’s health. The conversation leads back to my grandmother and life in the States – health care, accessible care, clean air, clean water, safe food.
As the conversation goes, Granny Three shells nuts for me.
I don’t know how to respond without sounding arrogant.
I sit, nod my head and listen.
They invite me to come stay for a few days. Smiles all around.
Happy New Year.