Puppy Love

Friday, April 22, 2011:  To Auntie’s House We Go…

We arrived back at Yi Ma’s house, aka Lin-Ai, the way I’m used to calling her unfortunately. The area she resides in has changed dramatically since nine years ago. The same elementary school is next door. Across the street and all along, more stores have opened up and replaced older homes.  There was a pet shop for animal grooming, clothing shops, and eateries. I still had to take the same rocky path down a narrow alley to get to her apartment behind. We walked up to the second floor and arrived at her home. It was still as small as ever, but beautifully renovated now. I walked into the kitchen, put on some slippers, and moved into the living space. There was the same bed against the wall. The wine showcase was replaced with a built-in closet against the wall. A flat-screen TV rested against the opposite wall, making room for a table and chairs. Off to the farthest side was the alcove for the washing machine and dryer, air-conditioning, pseudo-balcony, storage space, and windows.  I clearly remembered how Kelly and I used to hear the watermelon man selling his fruits, “買 西瓜- 啊~~” or “Mai Xi Gua-ah~AH-ah~AH~ah.”  Kelly and I crawled up to the windows and echoed what he said! When he’d look up to find the mysterious childish voices, we would duck down and repeat the vicious cycle. Wow, we were mischievous little ones…

Speaking of watermelons and melons, we sat down and ate those fruits. I feel like that is what I always do in China, eat watermelons. Whether it’s in sliced or juiced form, watermelon is a common theme in Chinese homes and restaurants. It’s like this:  instead of sitting in front of the Yule Log munching on Christmas cookies or in front of Saturday night football pigging out on Domino’s Extra Cheese pizza and greasy potato chips, we sit together as a family sucking the juice out of watermelon juices. To me, it’s become a symbol of family bonding time – healthy, delicious, and poignant. I can’t complain, I love fresh watermelons in all forms and sizes. Wai Po and Yi Fu cut and served us melons. Yi Fu went out to buy fruits earlier for us to eat, cleaning and cutting in the kitchen. Of course, we told him to rest up and not work so hard because he’s been sick and he should watch his stress level. He sat down with us and mentioned it was not watermelon season just yet, so the fruits were not as juicy and sweet as desired. We spent a long time playing with the family pooch, Xiao Bao Bao. I am still not sure if the pooch has a name or she’s given a generic pet name, like Little Baby. She was too cute. We were feeding it the watermelon whites and melon pieces. She licked our hands. She stood on a chair as we fed her. Playing around with her, we would make the food a reaching target, but she was cautious enough not to move too far off the chair, or else she’d make a trip to the floor. She kept scuttling between our legs and under the tables. What a hyperactive little one. Overall she was adorable and good, not too fierce or aggressive. She was quiet and obedient. We would coo at her and shake her hands, “Xiao Bao Bao, Lai! La La Shou!… Guai Xiao Bao Bao! Good Baby!” Her bulging black eyes shined beneath the lights. Her white fur was like feel of a favorite stuffed animal.

We let Xiao Bao Bao model her irresistible beauty. Many wardrobe changes were necessary and many shots were taken to capture every moment!  First, she was in her birthday suit, au naturel…

Naked

Second, she sported a sky-blue and baby pink polo shirt for a sporty look.

Next, she went all-gangster and bling-bling in a hot pink hoodie.

Then, she modeled another tight jacket with a furry hoodie. Lookin’ warm!

And lastly, Xiao Bao Bao ended the chair-way with a wine-red, patterned vest.

The pooch was a VIP visitor. After the photo-shoot, I showed him pictures of herself on the camera, and she looked! Well, at least initially, she looked for maybe 5 seconds, and then she seemed to get bored… Still she was such a smart and pretty dog. Now that I think about it, she was the closest thing to an fun pet I ever had, even though our bonding was a mere few hours that Friday =) Aside from the puppy-play, it was also an important time to see family – Yi Ma, Yi Fu, and Wai Po. They’ve been special people to us for a long time. We were very lucky to spend the quality time to catch up on life and much more. Most of the time, Mom was conversing with her mother, sister, and brother-in-law. The few times Kelly and I came into the discussion, it was about our love lives and our future careers. For instance, the talk of the town this entire week has been about Kelly going to San Diego, California to study accounting and Connie becoming enslaved to medicine for the next 10 years… On a different note, Mom has been persistently saying Kelly will marry a “Jin Shi Mao” or a ‘Blond-Haired Beauty” or what I like to call “A California Beach-Blond No-Brainer Surfer Dude…” And it’s already known I will be on the polar opposite end of the spectrum, because I like my Asian guys and I’ve only dated Asian guys, and that’s not changing anytime soon.

Careers and boys aside, we had a nice heart-to-heart session in the living room, a private reunion with our loved ones. Over fruits, friendly dog, television, and chatter, I enjoyed my time there. Before we left for another dinner outing, Lin-Ai showed us photos from Sun-Po’s wedding. My, my, the pictures were glamorous and romantic! China wedding pictures >>> America photographs. Sun-Po and his wife posed in numerous suits and dresses, under various lighting and atmospheres, and with so much love in their eyes. It was like flipping through a real-life fairy tale book! So young and so in love… I can’t wait for my one love and fairy tale marriage. I’ll be sure to make Shanghai a honeymoon spot, first to see family, and second to get these professional wedding shots!

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