Two of my favorite people in Hangzhou are Zach Ober and Gillian Wu. He teaches social studies. Gillian teaches Chinese. I got to hangout a bit with Gillian last year during ninth grade China trips. Zach is one of my regular poker buddies. They met here in China 11 years ago. They were married back in 2018. They had an apartment in my complex last year, but had to move out because of their dog Monte. They live just north of the school by the river. They invited Aiyun and me to their home for hot pot today. Sooo, what's hot pot?
It's a giant pot of boiling soup in the middle of the table surrounded by various items to be thrown in to cook. It's sort of a free for all like fondue. Lots of different meats, mushrooms, and veggies. The new and different item for me today was cow stomach. Actually, it's not the items in the hot pot that make this awesome, it's the small bowl of sauce you have in front of you that you put items in as you pull them from the hot pot. Today's sauce was a sesame butter with chives, spices, and different oils. OMG, so good. Hot pot is a very popular Chinese meal. There are hot pot restaurants all over the place. There are even nation wide chains of hot pot restaurants.
After dinner we got to sit around and chat for a few hours. It was great learning more of their story. Here's something different, check out their wedding videos that are on YouTube. Have you ever had this happen? It feels cringeworthy, but these are very cool. They had a "traditional" Chinese wedding for the town that Gillian is from (Yuzhou). Seriously, these are worth your time if you want to see some Chinese customs.
Some notes about these:
Gillian has an identical twin sister named Cocoa. You'll see her a lot in the videos. It's not Gillian in a quick change outfit.
The door pounding thing isn't random. It's supposed to get louder and more aggressive if I understood correctly.
The small red envelopes are "Hong Bao". They have gifts of money in them.
You'll see some random caucasian folk. Zach's family from Ohio.
I didn't remember to get a picture of all of us, but i did request some pictures of their view and Monte. He's a special pup.
Super glad I've made friends here in Hangzhou. Without them I'ld be unhappy missing my friends back in Bellingham. Big thanks to Tony for sending me this picture from Friendsgiving yesterday. When I have to head home next summer Zach and Gillian will be near the top of my list of who I miss most in China.