As most of you know, my semester here is 18 weeks and goes from September all the way through the traditional “American” holiday season. So between November and the end of our semester in the first part of January, we have one holiday – January 1. I taught on Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, as well as the days surrounding them. While it’s a little crazy DURING that period of time, it’s nice when we get to late January and early February because then we get our break before returning for second semester at the conclusion of Chinese New Year.
During the break, I have been doing a new routine, combining my daily walking (to the coffee shop) with a task list so that I can begin to catch up on things that got behind during the textbook project. I get work done AND get my regular exercise time in–walking to the coffee shop and walking back home again at the end of my “workday.” In the morning, I try to get here as close to opening as possible–10 am. Departure time could be as early as 6, or as late as 9:30 or 10 pm.
Last night, it was in between those two. Dave came to walk me home between 7 and 7:30. We headed on our usual route, and waited at the stop light that led to our neighborhood. After we crossed, we noticed someone behind us walking in the same direction. She was carrying a hot beverage cup. (Of course, I like to think it was coffee, but it could have been something else.) 🙂
Anyway, as she passed us, she turned and said, “Hello!” as in English, as in initiating the greeting herself. In general, people are quite friendly, particularly if I greet them first. However, I usually greet in Chinese. So this was a little unusual, but very welcome. I returned the greeting, as did my husband. After she walked ahead and turned on a road to the right, we turned left onto our road. Dave asked me, “Is she one of your students?”
She wasn’t. But the reason he asked me is because it isn’t uncommon for me to have students (past and present) see me in different locations, and run up to greet me. This woman was just friendly, not crazy. 🙂 So we continued walking down the last block before crossing the last street to our apartment building, holding hands, because we’re funny that way. Suddenly, we heard someone coming up behind us from the beginning of the block and a voice calling something. We stop and turn to look, and it’s the same woman we had seen on the other street. She had come back to the main roadway where we had seen her and then found the road that we had turned down.
She handed me a small bag, much like the one in this picture. She told us they were cakes, and they were for us. I thanked her profusely, and she smiled and walked away. Dave and I were a bit dumbfounded. These lovely cakes are cooked in a griddle with wonderful goodness cooked inside. My favorite are the ones with a custard filling, and the other one I’ve seen often is red bean (sweetened). But at that moment, the really super great thing about the bag of cakes is that they were still warm. My hand was very happy with its new hand warmer.
Dave and I smiled all the way to the apartment, marveling at this lovely random act of kindness. I hope we see that woman again, but more than that, I hope she knows how much we appreciated her thoughtfulness. When we got home, there was one more surprise. I noticed that the filling was dark, so I assumed a red bean filling, but it was raspberry! So yummy! And unexpected. A sweet surprise to end our Friday evening.
Thank you, Mystery Woman! You made our day! ❤