A Friend Comes to Town│Sichuan Lunch
Just over a week ago, one of our old friends came to Qingdao, and a large group of us met for lunch. At home, “old friends” are the ones you have known for 15-20 years, but over here, an old friend is anyone who hasn’t left China within 2-3 years of arriving. If they stay longer than that, you seem to feel like you have known them forever! Our friend, Warren, is the nicest guy. We feel like we have known him for way longer than we have. He moved to another city in China last year, but was back in town this month, so he invited everyone to meet at his favorite Sichuan Restaurant downtown.
We NEVER arrive anywhere early, but we did on this day. The restaurant staff took us to the back of the restaurant, to one of the private dining rooms. (It is common in China to have numerous private rooms for larger groups.) I opened the door and inside were a group of foreigners, but not the ones we were meant to meet. Funny enough, we knew them too, so we all started laughing. Even though their room was already packed, and there was no room for us to join, the waiters assumed that since we were all foreigners… we must be in the same group. This happens quite a lot here – always amusing!
We have been to this restaurant before, a number of times, but the last time that we came here Eli was just a few months old. Look at that chunk-a-monk, below, he we such a little guy there! He’s thinned out, and I have rounded out… FAIL!
Since the rest of the group were not there yet, we took Eli outside to walk and explore. The Sichuan Restaurant is located along Culture Street in downtown Qingdao, so there were a couple of things to look at. We stopped for a while at a small kids store, and he had a ride on one of the coin-operated machines.
It brings me great joy to watch this boy develop and grow. Lately he has been showing a big interest in what people are doing. He will stop and crouch down to join in, he will run over to strangers, and when he sees a child he is so excited. He really wants to play and learn. It is absolutely adorable.
Our lunch was delicious – as it always is at this Sichuan Restaurant – but I didn’t take any photos. The picture below is from a similar group lunch held in the same dining room of this place. The food is colorful, nicely presented, and full of flavor. We ate until we were stuffed, and the total was only 30rmb ($4,53) per person.
It was great to see Warren, and a few other old friends (from the larger fellowship that we use to attend), while we ate a delicious meal. We miss this part of Sundays. It has been a while since we did this.
After lunch we said our goodbyes, and then decided to go for a long walk. Eli had spent the entire duration of the meal walking round the dining room, circling the two large tables that we were all seated around. He needed a nap, but we thought he would eat with us. He didn’t. Lately, if there is anything going on, he will completely skip the meal. With only a few spoonfuls of rice in his belly, he ended up falling asleep as soon as we put him in the stroller and started walking.
Here are some more pictures from our time on Culture Street before the lunch…
I took a number of really cool pictures of Eli standing near the wall above. This was officially the FIRST TIME he has EVER stood where I told him to, and looked at the camera for a few consecutive minutes. He even smiled for me! Words cannot tell you how excited this mama was. Both Justin and I were shocked! Those pictures will be coming to you in another post – yes, clearly this was a BIG accomplishment for us! hahaha
We really enjoyed our lunch – the company, the food, and getting to see old friends. We ended up walking to Marina City and picking up a few things that I bought from a fellow mama. Eli was thrilled to wake up and play with new puzzles when we eventually got home.
A great day out and about together!