Unwilling Participant

Thursday, Feb. 21 was “Lantern Festival.” This is the day of the first full moon after the New Year, and it is another important holiday in Spring Festival. Qingyundian, our village, was having a giant celebration for the holiday, consisting mostly of traditional dances, interesting costumes, music, and general merriment.

I (Carrie) couldn’t go to the festival because of a meeting I had to attend, but Jacob went along with the preschoolers to take pictures. Also, one of our gate guards at the Foster Home was participating in a drummer’s circle, and some of the nannies were dancing, so we wanted to go in support of them. Jacob and a few other foreigners innocently went off to join the fun.

When they got there, they were standing in a crowd of 100s of people watching the performances. What happened next is priceless…

Jacob said he was watching this group of women dance. All of a sudden, they spotted him and 2 of the other foreigners (both women) and came up to them. Before he knew what was happening, they had tied an apron around his waste and put fans in his hands. Protest was futile, and suddenly he found himself in the middle of the crowd, being instructed by a group of elderly Chinese ladies on the finer points of the elegant and womanly art of the fan dance.

Cameras flashing, crowds pressing in… this was his moment to shine! He was a big hit, evidently. Perhaps not for his skill, but at least for his good-natured participation. For those of you who know Jacob well, you’ll probably be shocked that he did this, considering how much he doesn’t like being the center of attention. He was the only man in a line of about 30 women; I’m guessing everyone got a lot of good laughs. He is now famous… newspapers were there, as were TV cameras. The lady we sometimes buy vegetables from even complimented him on his dancing last night. She pointed at Jacob, swayed back and forth while waving her hands in the air, smiled broadly and said, in English, “very good!”

Then she burst out laughing…

Jacob’s laughing, too, so it’s OK if you get a good chuckle.

The look on his face can best be described as: “What the heck am I doing here?”

He fits right in, don’t you think?

Note: This blog was published with Jacob’s permission. (Sort of.)


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