19th of October 2017
What made me happy during this birthday, the 65th of them, because the weeding was more a feeling about being used, was that 5 minutes before midnight a friend of mine here in Quanzhou called to tell me that his wife had given birth to a son just a minute ago.
I met this wonderful couple soon after I moved to the city and when I was told that the baby was supposed to be due on the 25th of May I said that maybe I would get the little one as a birthday present on my 65th birthday the 22.of May. That little boy came to this world just before midnight and we have the same birthday.
The parents asked me to give him an English name and the little one is now Peter. Peter is someone strong and like a rock for those who need him, that is why I chose this name. The little Peter would grow up and take care of his parents, just as they would care for the new borne and the young one and the teenager and the grown up one. That is how it´s done in China.
This is a wonderful family and what an honour to get a phone call immediately after the birth.
There are some peculiar customs around the birth. Peculiar according to our western customs but normal here in China.
The mothers have to be in bed for a month. They can not take a shower, the water is considered to be dangerous for them and the mothers in love make sure that everything is according to the traditions. I have heard that the fathers sometimes try to circle around the rules, when no one sees, and help the mother to take a shower and wash. Of course this tradition is terrifying and many mothers dread this, but having a baby is vital.
The baby is introduced to those closest to him about a month after birth. There is a party, not a big one, just the closest friends, and I was invited. Being invited was another great honour for me and showed me how close my friendship with this young family was. We met in a restaurant, the baby and the parents with few others. We had dinner together and held the baby. He was tiny, tiny, as the children I have seen is this country are. Everyone was delighted. This little one would be the jewel of the family. He would be the only child and spoiled like they all are but that is ok. Everyone was happy and he knows about the foreign woman that is his grandmother, just as his real one in China.
I met the family when I was looking for a place to wash my car. Their company was just around the corner from the dormitory.
As always, in small companies I was offered tea and the owner and the boss sat down with me and the friendship began.
The husband showed me around the city, took me to the temple and other wonderful places and explained. He also introduced me to some of his friends. Among others there was a owner of a huge hotel. People like my friend and his friends are just like normal people. They don´t walk with their noses up in the air. They are simply wonderful.
He had a factory that made beautiful things of iron. I went there with him and got an insight into how the work is in a Chinese factory. He gave me those two wall candlesticks and they decorate my home and remind me of my dear friends.
Now, all these years later, he has sold the factory and has another business. What has not changed is our friendship. When you make friends with the Chinese it lasts forever. Not just while you are around. That is at least my experience.