Friday, April 5, 2013

Tomb Sweeping Festival

Happy Qing Ming Jie (Tomb Sweeping Festival).

The school has 3 days of vacation and Summer invited me to the countryside to 'celebrate' with her family.  They have really adopted me in and I am so thankful for all of them.  Her daughter and niece are a blast to be around - today we had a stick fight in the tea field after our corn cob fight - and her in laws are so sweet to me.

We drove out of town for about an hour until the car pulled over on the side of the road in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere.  Then they unloaded the cars and I got really confused.  Turns out we were hiking up to the tomb of Summer's husband's grandparents, where we would end up spending the afternoon cooking and everything.

It was gorgeous out there.  It's still the dry season so the terrace farming wasn't as beautiful as I've seen it, but the tea trees are all around and those are incredible!

We walked up to the tombs and set things up.  They tied a rooster to one of the tea trees so it wouldn't escape (obviously, you would think...) and started up the fire.  They started shoving food in my mouth practically.  First it was a little muffin that I ate as we walked to pick these little green plums that are beyond sour, then it was a ball of purple rice, yellow rice, and peanut rice, then they busted out the duck! Delicious duck! I absolutely love the duck here.  I'll be sad when it's not just down the street for only 20RMB, as I found out today.  A whole roasted duck for less than $4.  Yay.

Did you know you can eat this stuff? We collected an entire bag full so they could cook it later.
They were handing everyone beers so guess who drank one?  Until 6 pm today all I had was beer and a shot glass filled with coke.  (The beers are like 600 ml.  They're huge and not really good.  And no, I didn't drink it all.

The food kept coming.  We fixed some corn, they gave us peas, and more duck, and rice cake bars, and  probably a lot more that I'm forgetting.  That wasn't even the meal, that was just prep food while they cooked the meal.

That rooster I mentioned, well the lucky guy got away.  When we first got there, Apple, Summer's niece, was yelling at her grandpa and telling him not to kill it.  That must have been the pep talk the rooster needed.  When they untied him he bolted and then everyone ran after him but the smart little thing flew away.  I'm pretty sure they killed at least 4 black chickens and brought 3 already cooked ducks and a lot of pork too.  Oh, the pork.  SO.  GOOD.

It rained for a bit so they set up a tarp over the tomb.  It's a strange feeling to be sitting on the ground in front of the tomb, covered with a tarp in the middle of a tea field.  Oh my gosh, I just love living in China.

I went with Summer and the girls to go pick some tea.  We seriously went and picked out the tea ourselves.  I need to have tea trees in my backyard.

They paid respects to their ancestors by bowing in front of the tombs and lighting off firecrackers to scare off unwanted spirits, and then we ate.  I thought we were leaving after that but we just drove down the street to where most of the family lives.  I got to eat honey with chopsticks (and possibly some larvae that was inside of it, but whatever), see the cutest baby goats, smell the most incredible apple flower, see this beautiful old woman, and watch them rip out the heart of the banana trees.  They told me they will cook it with meat later.  I want to know what it tastes like.

The man on the right is the farmer of the field we were in. He has no teeth. Watching him eat and talk was interesting.

I'm not shoving her to the ground.  I'm not even touching her. 
What to feed the goats? How about some MSG? 

How beautiful is she?

We made the drive back, I took a nap and not I'm supposed to be running to my tutoring and then going straight up to the farm where I hope I can stay awake past 9:30.  My hopes aren't too high though.

I now have this far off dream of moving to the countryside in China and making my own honey, growing my own bananas and tea and eating duck at least once a week.  Who wouldn't want to wake up to this view every morning?

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