Sunday, February 22, 2015

day two of the new year 初二

day two of the chinese new year is usually when married women can go back to visit their parents. if their parents are dead, they will often go to see their siblings. traffic was terrible that day as we drove to great-grandparent's house; it seemed everyone was on the road, double parked and buying last minute gifts, turning in the wrong place, stopped to buy a late breakfast, whatever. i had never seen tongxiao that busy.

today is day four. people are sort of tying up loose ends, making visits they couldn't do before. one of sara's cousins, now married with kids, stopped by. this morning as i pushed pax out in his stroller a merry group stood in the road, leaving or coming i wasn't sure. the two men, father and son, held beer cans. the father asked if pax would like some beer. the son asked if i had a taiwan residence card.

taiwan is more similar to the US in the ease of talking to strangers. one reason it is easier is lines of separation are clearer, a paradox i struggle to understand.

sara tells me the taiwanese word for gift, 'danlao,' or 'wait in the road,' comes from an old new year's tradition. the married woman returning home would be met halfway by a party from her home. she would bring gifts for them, and then they would lead her there.

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