gifts from America

As we were preparing our visit to China for the Lunar New Year holiday, we decided to brin some gifts for Erica and her family to say “thank you” for all of the hospitality that they showed us last Christmas.  We went shopping in Hood River, Oregon and no matter what store we went to, everything was made in China.  Hard as it was, we kept searching and just couldn’t believe that almost nothing is made in the US anymore.

We searched for the better part of a week when Anya found a local “tree hugger” shop that advertised “local products made by local artists.”  Sure enough, they had some beautiful sweat shirts advertising the beautiful Hood River (the city and river).  We purchased “hoodies” for the whole family and when we arrived we presented them with their gifts.  I’m sure that they will be a big hit and make wonderful conversation pieces especially considering the stir we made with our last visit.

Anya also wanted to get a “house” gift that the entire family could enjoy and we found a beautiful boutique shop in downtown Hood River.  The artist that owns this small shop makes hand-made ceramic bowls and vases that are painted with bright colors and flowers and are then are glossed and fired in an oven.  The pieces looked quite durable and we found a beautiful red fruit bowl that we thought would match the red motif of any Chinese home.  The friendly clerk packaged the bowl and I carried it all the way to China in my carry-on bag handling it with extra care so that it would not break.

The bowl was a big hit and our Chinese “Mom” immediately filled it with nuts, candy and fruits to serve to her New Years guests that would be coming the next morning.  I am sure that she will proudly display it for years saying her American “kids” brought it to her from America.

Throughout the evening – it was New Years Eve – we exchanged gifts, drank wine, talked, watched tv, ate and of course, lit off fireworks.  Due to the length of the post, I decided to make the fireworks post a separate entry.  In the photo below, I set the camera timer and we all posed for a group photo.

As the evening festivities continues, Erica’s Mom wanted to tell us a story about the stir that our last visit caused.  She said that the town elders and visitors at the community center talked about it for weeks.  The photos that we had taken and been in last December had been developed and added to the “wall of fame” in the community center building.  She said that government officials from Beijing had come to visit the town Mayor and Council and had asked about the westerners who had visited.  She said that they were very impressed that westerners had come to this small community to visit.  Erica’s Mom was beaming with pride.  In the photo below, she and Erica are displaying duplicates of the photos that were on display in the community center.


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