I was disappointed that we had to go there though since I'd made dinner plans with my friend Christine. Raelynn and I were going to meet her for Italian food. Jeremy didn't even realize the date so he didn't care initially. He was supposed to meet a client. But then, he realized that it was the date of the small Chinese New Year celebration. He canceled his meeting but he told me Raelynn and I could go meet my friend still. I sighed heavily. He wasn't going to tell me no, but I knew if I didn't reschedule my plans with her, it would embarrass him and possibly upset his family. On any other random night, I wouldn't care. But I think I am obligated as Jeremy's wife to attend family dinners on special holidays. Fortunately, Christine is a sweet and understanding person and now our dinner has turned into lunch on Thursday. Oooh! A ladies' lunch! Fabulous!
Anyway, back to last night's dinner. I actually don't mind MIL's cooking for these holidays because she cooks good Chinese dishes. For the new year, she always makes her very best dishes. I wish she would remember to cook these things during the rest of the year. Maybe she forgets they exist. When I first came to visit Qingdao while I was still living in Seoul, I came during the harvest holiday at the end of September. She made so many delicious things that she had me fooled. I thought she was a good cook! She's not, sad to say. She gave it her best yesterday though. She served toasted cashews (afuckinggain! She must have gotten a deal on a ton of them or something because she has been serving these with the dinners we've been to over there for WEEKS!), cucumbers in garlic with shrimp (she serves cucumbers in garlic ALL the time too but she fancied it up with shrimp. This is not a bad dish but it gets annoying to eat it so often), steamed clams (good!), whole steamed fish in some sauce of deliciousness (another one she does well) and eggplant attempted in Beijing style but failing. The eggplant wasn't bad, but it wasn't Beijing style. I'll give her an A for effort though at least. Oh! And how could I forget? It is always tradition on this holiday to serve dumplings. And these she makes VERY well.
I needed something to keep me busy before we got to eating. And to keep me from going crazy while inside their home. I noticed that the TV was on and I smiled deviously as I sipped my Tsingtao beer. The last time we'd been there, I'd forgotten my camera on my desk and I was angry with myself because I was missing documenting the truly unfashionable way people here present themselves on TV. I just want to say that the following was done with my wonderful friend Aaron Gordon in my mind. Because if he could teleport over and sit on that wood couch from hell drinking beer with me, I think our laughter would have drowned out all the fireworks.
Next time you watch the news in the states, look at how the newscasters, particularly the women, are dressed. Impeccably, right? Their hair is perfect. Make-up too. And the clothes are fashionable and flattering. Well, for Qingdao's local station, allow me to show you what these people look like:
Yes, these are just some of the women newscasters that Qingdao's local news puts on TV. Like this. They may as well just grab some of the women peddling vegetables on the street. In Shanghai and Beijing though, you would never see such slovenly crap flapping their gums at you on the news. No way. To give you a good contrast, this next photo is from the international news channel. Meaning, if you are outside of China and want a Chinese news channel, this is it. The station for the international channel is located in Beijing. Take a look...