Tonight the Chinese redeemed me from the low intellectual wallowing state that I have been in for the past 36 hours. Apparently, all of the people with families have gone on a tour, while the childless and unmarried were left here to make me dinner. It was divine! I tried so many new things! The fish-- when I got it without bones-- was incredible and I had like eight different dishes served with bacon (bacon and cooked cucumbers! who knew!). They had a "hot pot" of very spicy dark red broth with vegetables-- it's good but the kelp in it almost made me throw up-- definite texture thing. They may have served me liver-- they said liver and then decided what they were serving-- sliced up with cooked celery stalks-- was better identified as "sausage" but their manner was "call it sausage because Americans don't eat liver so she will try it." Not my fav but I did try it. I like how they cut everything into strips-- potatoes with green onions and my absolute favorite of the evening, eggplant and green bell peppers in some yummy sauce. I provided Fat Tires for the eleven people and they bought Bud Dry-- a drinkable, sweet tasteless beer that worked after dinner and for the innumerable "cheers" clinking of cans and glasses with my hosts-- really I felt like a guest in my own apartment, they were that sweet. Watermelon was the most complementary dessert. The Chinese go apeshit over that stuff.
There is really nothing more magical than watching the Olympics with the Chinese-- they are genuinely excited for the winners of any event, be it their own or Michael Phelps or anybody else except the Japanese. Even though I couldn't understand what they were saying, their happiness was apparent, as is their success-- some work in foreign affairs, one is the editor of a newspaper, and all are very well traveled. With our kitchen table in our living room, our apartment felt the coziest it has ever been. It was palpable that these people have become family while they've been here; they really made me feel like family too, in that "we are all God's children" kind of way. It was exactly what I needed.