Packed the folks up and sent them to the airport via the MARTA. They’re on their whirlwind way to Syracuse and then to San Diego, and then back to China where they’ll stay for a week, before flying to Finland so my step-dad can teach an intensive 3-day class before they get to sightsee that area for a couple weeks. Goodness, but they’re definitely keeping busy!
Learned a few more fascinating things about my step-dad. He was in China during the Cultural Revolution (!), and with his education, was shunned as an enemy of the state. He was accused of being an intellectual and a capitalist sympathizer. His mother, another scientist, was accused of being a capitalist and exiled to the countryside. Lots of fascinating and jaw-dropping stories from that time. Now I need to read up on that time period. I wasn’t very interested in it before–finding ancient Chinese history and mythology much more to my taste–but some of the happenings from that time are stranger than fantasy.
My folks and fosteronfilm and I had dinner at Fung’s Vegetarian Chinese Restaurant in Roswell [920 Woodstock Road Suite 200, Roswell, GA 30075, (770) 643-1161]. It’s a Buddhist vegan place where they sculpt and create meat simulations out of tofu and wheat gluten. It was delicious! I had their Seafood Delight. The only meat dishes I still have occasional pangs of longing for is seafood. The fish tasted exactly like I remember fish being like. The shrimp was a little less accurate, but it was still very yummy. My mom had a faux chicken dish, and fosteronfilm had their faux roast duck. I had a taste of both their dishes, and the chef got the texture and taste of both chicken and duck down really well. I also picked up some free Buddhism literature as we were leaving–not just skinny pamphlets but full books–to add to my research pile. For local folks, I highly recommend Fung’s if you’re in the area. Their food is exquisite, and the environment is quiet and soothing. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have a website.
I did end up getting a bit melancholy by the conclusion of the evening. I kept thinking about how I really wish I’d grown up with my step-dad as my father figure, rather than my largely absent biological dad and all the conflict and ugliness of his and my mom’s relationship. My step-dad is such a good influence on my mom. He’s an incredibly intelligent man with a kindly disposition and an easy sense of humor. And he and I have so much in common. He has a real interest and passion for the old Chinese folktales and myths, and he’s really supportive of my interest in them. Despite working in a library and being a huge proponent of literacy and education, my mom never shared my interest in fantasy and science fiction. What would my childhood have been like with him as a mitigating influence on the friction between my mother and myself, I wonder?
Musings on what might have been
You would probably not be as interesting a person as you are now if ultra-wonderful stepdad had been your primary father figure and the conflict in your family had been lessened while you were a child. In my experience, people with ultra-happy childhoods often turn out to be rather bland as adults. Of course, too much childhood agony can also lead to truly fractured individuals. It looks like you are somewhere in the middle, undoubtedly a good place to be. I wonder, too, if you would have appreciated your stepdad as much if he had been one of the adults asserting limits during the usually rebellious teenage years? Perhaps as things now stand is for the best. You have one or more degrees in psychology, right? Sounds like those musings may make good story fodder.
had dinner at Fung’s Vegetarian Chinese Restaurant in Roswell
Brit and I found that place a few weeks ago and have been a couple of times. We were going to see if ya’ll wanted to go after all the VP stuff is done… very happy people work there…. I couldn’t figure out if they were Buddhists or Adventists!
We definitely need to go there with you and Brit, perhaps to welcome her back from VP? It sounds like she’s a little uncertain about how well she’ll be eating while at the workshop.
They must be fascinating to converse with. 🙂
I suspect you would have found other tensions at that time, as is the way with teenagers and their mothers. Perhaps there would have been fewer of them, though.
If you are interested in reading about the Cultural Revolution then I highly recommend Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang. It’s an *amazing* book. And brought this period in history alive for me in the way that a straightforward history book probably wouldn’t have.