I started my first Chinese class in October 2011. My teacher was a visiting scholar at Bryant University from the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan. In class she enthusiastically told us about her home city and made it clear that we were welcome to visit anytime. Since I was so close to Wuhan (only 2 1/2 hours on the fast train), I decided to pay her a visit.
It was great to get the chance to see Huang Laoshi again and to meet her family. One of the great things about this family’s hospitality was the way they invited me to feel at home. They told me to practice my own customs in their home as if I were in my own home. The invitation to make myself at home seemed to carry so much more meaning when presented in that way and it really did put me at ease.
One of my favorite moments of the visit was when my teacher’s four-year-old daughter got down from her chair and walked around the table holding her glass of juice. She walked up to me and raised her glass in a toast. That was a sweet moment that summed up my feeling completely welcome by all who were present that night.