Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Grandma Turns 90

To be able to reach 90 is pretty impressive. My parents are no longer the type to make a big deal out of any celebration anymore, but I just couldn't let this one slip by. So, I lit a fire under their butts, and made sure we all put a little bit of effort into it. In the photo above, there are a bunch of Chinese goodies that are all meant for something lucky or with meaning. But if you ask me what they mean, I can't tell ya.

With any special occasion, Grandma always has a little bit of wine in this tiny white teapot. I'm sure it's meant for either God or ancestors, and in Chinese - "bai sun", meaning something religious... but again, traditions and Chinese meanings are all lost with me. Along with these rituals, there is always chicken too.

And of course, who can forget the incense. Incense brings back bad memories of when I used to go to the Buddhist temple with my grandma as a child, and the temple would be packed with people every weekend. I dodged people along with my grandma going from spot to spot to bow infront of our ancestors. Everyone had long incenses in their hands. Being only a child then, I was at the perfect height to these incenses, and while rushing past people, I'd get a couple poking into my head, burning a bit of my hair even. But that's probably the only "bad" (but amusing) memory I had with my grandma.

My grandma has always lived with us. She was the one who took care of my brother and I while my parents worked alternating day and night shifts. She took care of all our meals. She is a woman of few words. A lot of secrets still lie deep inside of her. I once went into her room at a time when she was flipping through photos that she has all kept inside a cloth bag, but she didn't want to tell any stories about them. I still wonder who those people in the photos were, and what they mean to her. When it comes to us though, she is always clear about the fact that we should always do what makes us happy. No matter how wrong someone else might think it seems. This of course makes her a great supporter of my wildest dreams (and very often, the opposite of what my parents believe). She indirectly hints to me that there is only one thing that is more important than family... myself. You have to take care of yourself first. Before anyone else.

In this photo, her great-granddaughter, Maddy, is singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Maddy wants to sing it quietly into her ears. My grandma is very healthy and strong for her age. Her hearing is perfect. Completely with it. And even has her full set of teeth. Her legs are a little weak, which makes walking a little difficult. But she can still do it. 

Auntie May, her daughter-in-law, (my aunt), bought her cake from Golden Day Cake House on Hastings St. It is the first time we've tried a cake from that bakery (usually we'd pick one up from Pine House, Maxim's, or a bakery near our house), but this bakery has been around for decades and some swear it has the best Chinese cakes. After trying it, I think it does live up to its reputation. The cake is soft and spongey. The cream isn't too sweet. And this mango mousse was just refreshing.

At night, we had a family banquet dinner at Golden Swan Restaurant, one of our family favorites.

My brother and I picked up a balloon, a bouquet of hot pink roses, and a pair of pure gold earrings. We spent the day before in horrible torrential rain scavenging for the earrings. For the longest time, she's been wearing mini gold hoop earrings, but since they've broke, she doesn't wear earrings as often because she doesn't like the other ones as much. So, it was our mission to find pure gold mini hoop earrings. Who knew it would be quite difficult... but we found them in the end. And she was beyond happy.

5-year-old Mia drew her a card. None of us understood what the pictures meant, but it was the cutest thing. We think it's a picture of her sharing an ice cream with great-grandma.

Happy birthday, grandma! You are 90 years young! To may more years of health and happiness. Love you.

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