Forgive my long absence. It's been a crazy couple of weeks, with lots of family in town to celebrate my sister Mimi's marriage to Aaron Deemer. My brother John, his wife Rachael, and their three beautiful daughters all stayed at my apartment for most of the last 10 days, and it's been wonderfully rewarding and brutally tiring at the same time. Now that Mimi and Aaron are off on their honeymoon, the various Deemers and Maclaines and Kuos and Lius are flying back to the half-dozen or so countries they flew out here from, my Guenevere's recovered from the departure of her three cousins this morning, and Fanfan and I have gotten the house back in some semblance of order, regular posting will resume soon. First, some highlights:
1) Johnny's left hand, which he burned rather badly on an unchildproofed drinking water dispenser, is recovering nicely thanks to the ministrations of Dr. Li Yanni at the Beijing United Family Hospital. We actually had to admit the little guy for a couple of nights. I urge everyone with kids in China with an yinshuiji to turn off the hot water! Fanfan had her back turned for just a second and Johnny gave himself second- and third-degree burns. Naturally she's been beating herself up pretty badly over it, but now that he's mending nicely she's back to her old self. The folks at the hospital have seen a rash of one- and two-year-olds with burns from the same source. I'm now a huge believer in this miraculous Chinese burn salve called Mebo (美宝), which has amazing analgesic properties and smells uncannily like sesame oil. Little Johnny's been in virtually no pain since the night of the accident two weeks ago.
2. I'm dumbfounded at what my folks, Aaron's parents, and Mimi and Aaron managed to pull off logistically. They arranged enormous dinners for no less than 70 or 80 guests every night from Monday onward: a big one at the Deemer home at the courtyard at the Xizang Banshichu (the Tibetan rep office, west of the Drum & Bell Towers) where they live, another on Tuesday at my folks' house in Xisi, separate dinners for the stags & hens on Wednesday (the only night with less than 70, I reckon), a lavish hotpot dinner at the Di'anmen Man Fu Lou on Thursday, and the "rehearsal dinner" on Friday at the new Dadong Peking Duck restaurant at Nanxincang, and of course the reception dinner, which was at Dongyuan Xilou, an old opera theater at the park running between Nanchizi and Nanheyan along Chang'an Avenue. There was great wine--a Cote du Rhone for the red, and a Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay for the white--at some of the bigger dinners, as well as the reception. Oh, and there was a dim sum send-off at the very tony Tian Di Yi Jia at Nanchizi on Sunday morning. Everything went without a hitch: even the bicycle rickshaw caravan (88 of them!) that ferried guests between the reception, at the Xizang Banshi Chu, to the reception. I stand in awe. Or rather, I would stand if I had any strength left in me.
3) My younger brother Jay wrote a roast-cum-toast poem in a decidedly Seussian rhyme scheme and meter for Mimi, and delivered it with consummate skill at the reception. I'm just glad he went last: there was no way for anyone to have outdone him. It's sort of his trademark: He read one at John's wedding, and at mine too. This one was his finest work, I must say. I'll see if I can get his permission to reproduce it here.
4) My family is awesome. I don't know that I've ever been more proud to be one of the Kuos. And my new family--the Deemers--are just as wonderful. I look forward to getting to know all of them better. Here's Guennie and Elenora, Aaron's niece by his oldest brother Pete and his lovely wife Leanne. They're expecting their third this fall. Elenora was born, by happy coincidence, on exactly the same day as my Guenevere. They hit it off marvelously, as the photo here attests. Pete and his family live in Singapore, so I imagine there'll be plenty of opportunity to see them in the years to come.
5) Possibly the best part of the whole thing was getting to spend a lot of time with John and Rachael, and for our kids to spend lots of time with their cousins. It was amazing how in just a week Guenevere was conversing, or at least trying to converse, in English. From left to right: Guen (3), Camille (7), Hartley (three-and-a-half), Kaili (12), and John (1).
Got a million things to do--including rehearse for the coming Midi Music Festival, which starts tomorrow. But right now I've gotta run: Guen wants me to read her "Ferdinand."