Richard picked me up after lunch again yesterday and we went exploring. We picked up his brother, Jack, who had just finished karaoke with friends. I know what you’re all thinking, and yes, karaoke is that popular here. You don’t even have to be drunk to do it, as is the common prerequisite in pubs and bars in the west offering the same activity. Richard said a little liquid confidence may help me out to sing, and I said if its not my car or my shower you’re unlikely to catch me belting out any tunes.
They brought me to a coffee shop their cousin had just opened, which instead of a Starbucks type of thing, was more upscale and yes, had coffee, but also had an array of wines and imported liquors. Richard hopped behind the counter and made us cappuccinos (apparently he worked at a coffee shop during university). He also said I should work part time there as a waitress, but I think the service would be a bit slow considering I don’t know Chinese. Unless the patrons want to use the ‘point at what you want on a menu’ type of ordering I have gotten familiar with, they had better wait until I at least have a Chinese lesson covering cafe items.
We moseyed around town a bit more and Richard invited me to dinner at his family’s house, which though he is 25 and successfully working, he still lives in. It is customary in China that unless you are away at university, you live with your parents until marriage. At home if I met a 25 year old that still lived with his parents, I would guess that either he is supporting his parents, or they are supporting his jobless self. But that is just a cultural difference and not the crux of the story!
I accepted the invite and we continued, going to a paper cutting factory and museum but it was closed because it was Sunday. We walked around more and saw more traditional art forms like the dragon heads, lanterns, things made out of jade, and beautiful, soft, expensive Foshan silk. We went to the open market and picked out some things for dinner, and we eventually made it back to his parents apartment.
They were very happy to see me and welcome me to their home. I later learned that I was the first foreigner that had been to their house. They complimented my chopstick use and made a few toasts to me. Gambei! After dinner, Jack and his dad showed me some self-defense, a valuable skill I will exercise on any who want broken ribs (kidding! Or am I?…).
We also took many pictures, on probably every camera and camera phone in the house.
(Jack, me, and their parents)
(The mother and I sitting in traditional wooden Chinese chairs)
(Richard, the dog, and me)
What a nice family! They invited me back whenever and hope that I treat their home as my second home in China!