I’ve been so busy in the past few weeks that I’m late in sharing my latest column for China Daily (which is also — drum roll — now in full color, with a photo)! It’s titled Welcoming Guests Is a Sacred Art That Opens a Door to Love, inspired by the hospitality I’ve enjoyed in my husband’s hometown. Here’s an excerpt:
Whenever my husband and I used to visit his grandmother in her village in Zhejiang province, there was one thing we could always count on — an onslaught of hospitality.
It didn’t matter that she was busy knitting a hat or scarf to earn some extra money. She would immediately pull out a stool for us, sometimes even trying to offer her own seat piled high with cushions. Then came the cups filled with green tea leaves and hot water, a must for guests anywhere the village. And soon after she would disappear, usually to the kitchen where she would start soaking a batch of rice noodles to fry up in her wok, but sometimes to reach into one of her overflowing bags of seasonal fruit, choosing the freshest apples or pears just for us.
Even if we just happened to say hello at the door, she would never let us leave without taking something to eat. On one occasion, where we chatted with her on our way to hike up the mountains, she was so insistent we accept her mandarin oranges that she tried chasing after us.
She never did catch up, but her resolve reminded me that hospitality is a serious business in culture.
You can read the full piece here online — and if you like it, share it!