Saturday, June 06, 2009

Birthday Party At Pang Shifu

About a month ago, when Hui Min heard that Julie's birthday was coming up, she insisted that we all come to Pang Shifu for dinner on the big day.

Who is Hui Min? Hui Min and her family members operate a small, Hunan-style restaurant (the name of which translates into "The Fat Chef") in an alleyway smack dab in the middle of our neighborhood. We have enjoyed many a delicious meal in this simple, down home place, sitting at the plain wooden tables, sipping cha, and trading stories about our respective families' lives. (Hui Min and company are actually from Inner Mongolia. They shut the restaurant down for a month during chun jie, so they could make the eighteen-hour train journey back home.)

When our dinner was completed, we got out the cake we had just had made around the corner, lit the candles, and broke into a chorus of zhu ni shengri kuai le. What a strange sight that must have been..A waiguoren family, in this obscure alleyway on the outskirts of Beijing, singing the happy birthday song together.

It was enough to make me wonder...Just where on Earth will you be fourteen years from now, Julie?

~Steve

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