Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Breakfast Special

One "Breakfast Special" Attendee from Thailand/Livonia, Michigan

Calculating the cost to visit us in China adds up pretty quickly.  The 14-hour Delta flight from Detroit, Michigan rings in at approximately $1500 USD/1100 EURO/ 9500 Yaun.  A tourist visa costs as much as $300 USD/225 EURO/1900 Yuan and has the added concern of timing and inquiring Chinese government authorities. So when someone announces "we're coming to visit!" we are delighted.

Our friends and super deluxe Michigan neighbors, Patrice and Mike, recently traveled to China for three weeks. They experienced a Yangtze River cruise, meandered the Three Gorges near Chongqing, visited Shanghai and more.  They concluded their trip in China's current capital, Beijing, and scaled The Great Wall.  In the middle of their trip we had the pleasure of hosting them for 4 nights. It was a great time to be in Nanjing - during the annual Plum Blossom Festival.  Our city bursts with blossoms of pink and white and in all corners of town there are pansies planted in flower boxes and around traffic circles. The huge sling-shot shaped sycamores that line many city streets stretched and awoke the week they arrived. Spring in Nanjing. We were delighted to host them about town and up Purple Mountain. There was 'hometown' pride in our sight-seeing, which made me giggle - since we have no business claiming the "Made in China" surroundings as our own, even though we have been here one year.
On the steps of Sun-Yat-Sen Mausoleum
Hosting friends always includes one or two 'special occasion' breakfasts.  At the Johnson's that means "Dad's Pancakes" or "Mom's French Toast." On the second morning of P&M's visit the Breakfast Special was "Dad's Pancakes."

Arriving while the pancake batter was just being measured into a mixing bowl, our Ayi (household helper) was fascinated with the process of someone making both pancakes & bacon.  She had never had either. 

Starting with two packages of very lean bacon, the Big Guy fried (horrors!) the bacon until extra crisp, just the way we like it.  Extra crisp for us means that if one accidentally dropped a piece off the counter and onto the floor, it would shatter into shards and literally disappear into the mouth of a lurking little black schnauzer. Chen Ayi had never tasted bacon and when handed a small piece, she popped it into her mouth and agreed it was "hao che" - "good eats." Now, you know and I know, that making bacon is not rocket science, but to Chen Ayi it was nothing short of fascinating. <The Big Guy DOES like to fascinate while teaching.> 

Next was the batter bowl and measuring cup.

Thankfully we still had several months supply of USA  pancake mix from our sea shipment to make this Breakfast Special.  As the Big Guy wire-whisked away, Chen Ayi watched very carefully not knowing what a pancake looked like or tasted like. She asked questions in Mandarin. He responded as best he could with answers and a demonstration. They chatted on and on while the rest of us set the dining room table, poured the juice and patiently folded the napkins.  We were amused by her attentiveness and his expertise and Mandarin explanations.  Our break-feast was starting to waft our way but not before I snapped up the Nikon to record some  'blog-worthy' moments.

Best Purchase in China - A Griddle with 220 voltage

Chen Ayi & the Big Guy

Hot off the Griddle and on to the Chopsticks

Imported Log Cabin syrup and some Lingonberries from "our Ikea"in Nanjing

Our Super Small 'Chinese' Kitchen sporting two Cooks

Our kitchen is so small. 
How small you ask? Let's just say that Grandma's black wrought iron Pennsylvania Dutch plaque that said: "No matter where I serve my guests it seems they like my kitchen best," cannot begin to portray that impossibility. One person will fit, two is super tight and three, well you may recall playing Twister, when you were 15, at your first boy/girl party?  Yeah, that close - but without the blushing.  

Left Hand - Green!

A month later we hosted our friends Nick and Bethe who are on assignment with FORD of Thailand and part of our church family in Livonia, Michigan. They and their three PERFECT children had "Dad's Pancakes" before we toured them through Nanjing. I swear it gave the kids extra super powers for the hide and seek sessions down the Sacred Path to the Ming Tomb.

Taking a Break Before Climbing MORE STEPS!
The "W-Five" from Thailand - FORD

And this week one of our FORD Nanjing Normals, Rita, came for "Mom's French Toast." 

I guess what I'm saying is that if you've made it this far despite the obvious travel obstacles, cost and time constraints, there is a Big Guy with a griddle ready to produce a Breakfast Special just for you.

He expertly grinds his own coffee beans for the java jolt that many Americans expect, too.

All in all, It's been a very fun entrance into Spring 2012 with our many friends and family visitors. 

Our Breakfasts have been Special. 

Now that it's May, the reality of so many high-caloried breakfasts has us trending back to oatmeal, juice and coffee. This will lower our cholesterol and carbohydrate intake, right?

Something's gotta give and I am NOT finding it comical that The Dragon-Lady of Nanjing moves the buttons inward on the waistline of our pants in the middle of the night.  I hate her. 

Thanks for Reading,


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