The Dumpling Party
I was about to leave for the Dumpling Party on Saturday night when my cousin Gary showed up at the door. (He wanted me to fix his laptop). When I told him where I was going he said he was glad that I was taking some time for a social life.
I laughed and said, “Hey, this is my second Saturday in a row that I’m going to a party. I think I’m doing quite well at socializing.”
When I explained that we do this every year on the Saturday closest to the Chinese New Year, Gary showed interest, and I invited him to come join us. He decided to do so.
I’m a Helper with the ESL class at church on Sunday mornings. That is an English as a Second Language class for newcomers to Canada who want to learn and practice their conversational English. Since most of our students are Chinese, including the leaders of the class, it was not a big step from, “let’s meet in the church kitchen to make 1000s of dumplings,” to “let’s invite all our Helpers and their families and friends to come to our Chinese New Year’s Party.”
We must have done this 6 or even 8 years already, and I recall coming in the afternoon of the very first time, to help in the kitchen with the making of the dumplings. First they invited me to stand at one spot and just pinch the thin dough pockets closed before boiling. Then I graduated to filling them, and next to rolling out the dough between several other ladies.
The women dress up, in red brocade dresses, if they have them, and Watter, one of the leaders wears a burgundy silk jacket with gold trims and decorations. Their kids are dressed up too, and we have a wonderful time of visiting and fellowship, building new bridges of friendship over the smorgasbord of all kinds of foods. Naturally one long table has many large trays heaped with nothing but hundreds and hundreds of dumplings!
I took a picture or two of the crowded kitchen. But then I was busy visiting and didn’t get around to taking any more.
I’ve had a wonderful teenage girl as “my student” for the last 2 1/2 years. Raining is so bright and cheerful and friendly. It was a pleasure to have conversations with her when we’d done the language exercises. For a while I even had her mother, Mai, as a student. Their father/husband travels a lot, but when he shows up near a holiday period, they go off as a family to explore some other country. At Christmas “Raining told me that they were moving to New Zealand next. I miss her these
But the last two Sundays I’ve had a new student, Kelly, who is very eager to learn and to please. Her husband is also a student in our ESL class, and they have a six year old son, Danny.
I was not able to find Kelly in the crowd of about 160 people until I was about ready to leave. It turned out that she’d been working in the kitchen since mid-afternoon, and sat down to eat later than the rest of us.