Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Double Digits: The Big One-Oh

Ming and Ping outside our apartment,
before heading to dinner 
Ming and I (about 38 weeks pregnant)
This past Saturday was Tomb Sweeping Day, a day in which Chinese honor the dead by cleaning their tombs and leaving offerings. Ming visited his father's grave, first sweeping it and then leaving behind cigarettes, alcohol, and some snacks.

In honor of the holiday, many people enjoyed a three-day weekend. Most students had off on Monday. Since Ping's 10th birthday falls on Friday this year, we decided to celebrate a little early. Ping wanted to go out to eat for her big day. We convinced her to try something new, rather than her old fallback, KFC. So we wound up at Origus, a (pretty awful) Western-style buffet that can be found throughout China. A branch of the chain was just opened in Chengde. Though the adults weren't too impressed with the food, (honestly, KFC would have been much preferable) Ping seemed to enjoy herself. She was probably even happier to come home to a small pile of presents and a homemade cheesecake.

Birthdays in China don't seem to be surrounded with the same amount of hoopla that they are in the U.S. Going out to dinner and having a simple store-bought birthday cake has become somewhat standard in China over the past several years, but birthday parties aren't yet all that common, at least among Chinese people I know. When Ming was young, he didn't get anything for his birthday, as it just wasn't customary to give presents and birthday cakes weren't yet a trend. Moreover, these were luxuries few people could afford. These days, there are sometimes gifts, but my understanding is they are pretty simple. Kids get showered with money and new clothes over Chinese New Year, not so much for birthdays. Ping is pretty lucky because she gets some stuff for Christmas, New Year's, and her birthday. Being in a mixed family sure has its benefits!

out to eat at Origus
Ping with her presents

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