For over three years, we watched as all of our friends played host to an endless flow of family visitors. Brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles visited for weeks at a time while grandparents would stay for a month or more. Meanwhile, our family scorecard registered a collective zero visits. Did they not like us? Perhaps it was something I wrote; a complaint about the air quality (it does get a tad smoggy at times) or the dangers of simply crossing the street (sprains do happen). Or maybe I’ve undersold Wangjing (motto: There’s nothing to see here). In retrospect, perhaps lauding the grandeur of three KFCs at one intersection is not enough to entice relatives to visit us in the great northeast of Beijing. Or is it?
In November, I sensed something was afoot when my brother-in-law took a detour en route to Cambodia to stop by for a whirlwind tour of Beijing eats and sightseeing. He had a great time before we watched him depart for the warm climes of Cambodia while we braced for the icy fingers of winter in Beijing and the cold holidays without family.
Hot on his heels, in December came the news from my cousin and her husband that their five years of waiting for permission to adopt a child in China had finally come to fruition. Before heading to pick up their little girl, they are spending a few days visiting with us, overcoming jet lag, and seeing a few notable points of interest. It really is the perfect time of year to visit all of the grand Beijing attractions. What is a bit of skin-cracking, bone-chilling, freezing cold, winter weather between family members? Why would a non-heat-retaining skinny person like me care? No worries, a few layers and a few days of sightseeing (again) should be pleasant. I’m just ever so grateful that we finally get to play host to some family visitors.
Oh my, more good news. My niece also informed us that she would be visiting too – just after my cousin leaves. Yes, January really is the best month to visit Beijing to take in the cultural attractions. I love the Forbidden City in winter; if anything, it is more forbidding. The Great Wall screams to be enjoyed while wearing ski pants. The summer in the Summer Palace is actually a misnomer. Could there be any other relatives waiting in the wings for February?
I suppose I should be more specific the next time I complain that no one is visiting us – in May. Oops, I’ve got to run, the line for tickets has finally thawed and I can no longer feel my fingers.