Today is father's day - in countries where Chinese is spoken. Today is also the day that my dear mother leaves after a five week visit. Let me forget about father's day for a second and reflect upon my mom's visit.
As soon as she heard I might be hospitalised, she enquired about booking a flight to see me. It's been ten years since her last visit, and once again I'm job-free.
I slept late while she awoke early to clear the garden, move the compost, and trim the ivy. She stewed exotic Chinese medicinal potions to make me stronger. Every day we discussed what we were going to eat for lunch and for dinner, as if we were restaurant owners. I didn't want any old food. I wanted my mom to make all those things I couldn't eat in restaurants, all those things she had made when I was growing up.
First she brought over zong zi - glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. I've tried these things in restaurants in Taiwan and they're never as good as the ones mom makes.
Then she made steamed egg. Mix eggs with water, dried shrimp, Chinese mushrooms, spring onions, and a little soysauce. Steam the mixture in a bowl.
When we went to the farmer's market and spotted pigs trotters, I asked if she would stew them the way I always remembered.
As she knew how much I loved homemade dumplings, she set about making vegetarian dumplings.
Then she made scallion pancakes - with spring onions (scallions) and a little meat.
With each passing day, I remembered more dishes: sweet and sour pork, black tea leaf eggs, etc.
Not only did she cook, she also cleaned. And everyday while she was cooking, cleaning, gardening, and mending, I managed to take two hour naps.
To prepare for her departure, she made a lot of goodies and froze them. When I get hungry, I would only have to reheat the zong zi, pigs trotters, and other goodies. When I want to talk to her, I just need to pick up the phone. But if I want to take a walk in the park, she won't be around. It was good having a constant companion who looked young enough to be my older sister. And I will miss her dearly!
8 August 2002 Thursday
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