12 September 2009 at 9:06 Montpellier Time
Today was an excellent day. A large portion of my morning was spent in my café and, on my way home, a trip to the grocery store. The afternoon was spent at the beach. Once again, the weather was perfect and the atmosphere was very relaxing. I got home around six this evening for the day's main event. Qibin and Tianghia had planned an authentic chinese dinner for us. It was magnificent. A five course meal of beef tips, chicken , sausage, tofu, noodles, rice, lotus flower, cucumbers, sausage tomato soup, some other things I fail to remember, and, for dessert, an orange and rice pudding. The food was excellently cooked in a wonderful chinese sauce. The sauce was a delicious mystery. When asked, Qibin could not translate into french or english the numerous ingredients it took to create such a masterpiece, a combination of spicy and sweet that brought each food item to life. It was enough spice to make you sweat and I had a few tears, but you never felt like you could breathe fire. I can truthfully say my pants felt tighter after the meal. I didn't think my skin was elastic enough to hold such an expansion. All in all, it was wonderful. We have so many differences in our household. Linguistically, culturally, religiously, yet, good food is a universal language. Over dinner, communication was easier. Words were replaced with smiles, sounds of joyous dining (mmmmm!), and hand and arm gestures (the thumbs up and rub of the stomach). In the moment, we could all relate and come together with ease and on common ground. We were happy consumers, sharing in the connectivity of food. After dinner, as hard as it was, we thought a walk in the park would help to digest the load we had just eaten. It was nice, relaxing. We shared stories of home and identified ways in which our cultures intersect with one another (ex: Yao Ming). It was a lovely evening and it should be a great night's sleep, I was almost too full to type.