Thursday, December 30, 2010

In Search of a Paint Brush

Mrs. Hau was in Hang Zhou desperately trying to buy a paint brush. It was late and New Year’s eve, and most of the cities traditional shops seemed to be closed. She walked endlessly looking for a simple Wen Ju Dian selling school supplies.

Exhausted with throbbing legs and an aching back, the visiting Mrs. Hau stopped at the New Goods Shop near the famous Western Lake district to inquire one last time if anyone knew of an open stationary store.  The shop keeper was in the back eating dinner with her parents and two little dogs, but she jumped up wiping  her mouth on her sleeve  and cheerfully came out to assist this strange customer who clearly was not going to buy vegetables this late at night.

“No, I don’t think there are any shops that sell stationary supplies or things  like that nearby.” She answered after a thoughtful pause.  “What do you need exactly?”

“I need a brush to paint with.” Mrs. Hau sighed.

“Mmm, I am sorry I don’t sell supplies like that but if you give me a minute and I will find something for you that may help.”

She rustled about and came back with a brush for cleaning vegetables and Mrs. Hau instantly liked the look of it. It was well made with a handsome wooden handle and a leather cord to hang it.  It had hard straight golden hog hair bristles. It was a quality vegetable cleaning brush the likes of which Mrs. Hau had never seen before. It would not work for painting any great works of art, but for touching up a spot of paint here and there it could work just fine.

 “It's beautiful. I'll take it". Mrs. Hau declared as she picked out half  a Yuan from her coin purse. "What’s your name?” 

“Yo Jen, and yours?”

“You are very pretty Yo Jen and speak excellent English.” Mrs. Hau told her truthfully. “And you have been so friendly and helpful. This brush will work splendidly.  Thank you.”

“Mei wen ti.  Please come again.  You are always welcome in my New Goods Shop. I like to stock things for my customers that are high quality but handmade,”  She said  pointing to the artfully arranged vegetables, cutlery and rice bowls.  Mrs. Hau  admired all the little treasures within, then clutching her  brush, she stepped out to the street zipping up her coat against the wind which had suddenly come up off the lake. She looked back one more time at New Goods Shop of the Westlake District in Hang Zhou to make sure she would remember how to get back to it someday.

“Hau Tai Tai!  Yo Jen called out as her customer was about to step into a taxi.  “I forgot to wish you a Happy New Year!”

“And may you have a Happy New Year too!” Mrs. Hau chirped back.

~And so, in case you haven’t guessed, I am posting from Hang Zhou, here to set up the very first  store for Bunnies By The Bay in China. The brush will work perfectly to touch up the knicks and dings sustained on our first day of business.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dim Sum and Tea

"A lot can change in an evening", thought Miss Han as she looked over at her lover. In one long dinner she had laid out on the table all her thoughts, desires, hopes and dreams, like hot steamy baskets of assorted dim sum to be sampled.  Her parents carefully tasted each juicy offering from her heart and offered advice and comments over each dumpling. In some cases the wrapper was too hard, and with some too soft, but always the filling was mouth-watering  delicious.

 But it was when her lover finally joined them that the meal suddenly turned spicy. Despite all her fears and doubts, everyone could see how Miss Han glowed when her lover took his seat at her family's table and when he too bravely offered all his thoughts, desires, hopes and dreams in front of her parents as if laying out an assortment of teas.

It was Miss Han’s Mother who saw clearly the feast that would lie before her daughter in the future.“My daughter,” she thought to herself as she poured tea, “is like a spicy dim sum dumpling; one bite and it bursts with flavor.  But this boy reminds me of these bitter shriveled tea leaves, swelling when you pour hot water over them, unfurling a gentle warm flavor, a comforting and soothing drink.”

A lot can change in one meal.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Miss Han's Lover

Miss Han sat cool as a cucumber all through her brother’s wedding feast never letting on that her heart raged like hot and sour soup.  She was waiting for her lover to arrive and present himself and yes, even claim her.  But by the time the table had been cleared and fruits passed around to all the guests, Miss Han did not need to bite into chilly pears to know her boyfriend had cold feet and there would be an empty chair at this dinner and perhaps, all dinners to come.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Love Come, At Last

 Da Jie had been troubled for some time.  Her Uncle Tu’s, beloved song bird, Exceeding Joy had flown away a year ago and it seemed that sightings of this free and cheeky bird had been far and few between. It had not flown so far away, say like to the southern provinces, as to be completely out of mind, but far enough away that the daily routine of cheerfulness was silent and this had left a sore spot deep in the heart of Da Jei’s  un-tuned heart. It was not until a brief alighting at her window sill made her realize that if Exceeding Joy made even a small peep; just one tiny sound to remind her that love was still fluttering around her, it was enough to make her rise again.

~My month long trip to Asia ends tonight.  I am on my way home to my waiting family who suffer much with my long weeks away.  I missed Thanksgiving, but I am thankful for them and free countries who allow you to blog.  Most of my time away, I have been unable to access Wu Fung Road and the visitors who join me there.  Some of you have tracked me down no matter where I am.  Thank you.  You have no idea how much that helps.
It has been a hard trip.  Mostly it has been mind numbing and constant work , but along the way,  at critical moments and always when I least expect it,  Exceeding Joy  would alight on my window sill too.
~For Tamara, my sister and champion