面包 / Come to the Table

I walked into 8am Mandarin practice time late, banana (香蕉 xiāngjiāo) in hand, slightly ashamed that I had inefficiently slept an hour past my alarm.

My uncharacteristically low-key breakfast sparked at least ten minutes of conversation about ways to eat bananas.

  • peanut butter 花生酱 huāshēng jiàng
  • smoothie 冰沙 bīngshā
  • bread 面包 miànbāo

It didn’t matter so much that I had missed my time to make breakfast (早餐 zǎocān),

because my roommate brought bagels (贝果 bèiguǒ) from her work.

Within an hour, my program director was making 面包 miànbāo for a dozen,

talking about how a shared meal–and the process of creating it–makes space for us to grow in love and joy.

We celebrated the reality that babies (宝宝 bǎobǎo), good food, and all good things

“are precious before they are useful” (R. F. Capon, The Supper of the Lamb).

The celebration continued all day; we spent hours making dumplings (包 饺子 bāo jiǎozi) for dinner.

No one would ever decide to make dumplings because it was efficient.

But seeing the faces (面 miàn) of the friends I had spent the whole day with,

knowing our stomachs were full with many bundles (包 bāo) of love,

it was precious.

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