On my early-morning walk to Chinese school, I saw barriers closing off a Chinatown road, and wondered which Chinese holiday was coming up. The lunar calendar means that even though Moon-Viewing Day snuck up on me last year in Shanghai, it snuck up on me again this mid-autumn in Boston. They should call it mid-autumn festival or something so I’d know when it is…
I really imagined that after living in China, I would understand and keep track of Chinese holidays better. But understanding Chinese life is one of those endless learning curves, so every time I understand something new, it just shows me how much I still don’t understand even a little. (See also: Writing) It’s taken me several attempts at dry, heavy cakes to admit that, no, I don’t want to eat a mooncake, and even so, if you tell me that your grandma makes the best filling or that this shop sells out of lotus-paste cakes every year, I will probably fall for it again. And again.
Last year, I enjoyed the full moon reading on my porch at Woman Tree Bookshop, in Shanghai. Marcus’ book had just come out, and I’d done all the jiggerypokery to get it to my Kindle, and found myself rereading it after a long, busy day exploring Shanghai.
This year, I taught my classes and then walked through the Chinatown street fair. At home, I sat in my tiny triangular garden, a little patch of green wedged in between my house and the Thai restaurant next door. It’s walled just like my Shanghai porch, and good for reading, and very brief moon-viewing, before I heard the siren song of my pillows.
So many changes between last Mid-Autumn Festival and this year’s.