During the break between Christmas and New Year’s Day, we had a surprise visit from the Ho family. We met Mr. and Mrs. Ho at their restaurant in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia where we had some great Dim Sum. Harriet had struck up a conversation with Mr. Ho and found out that their son was attending Purdue University in Indiana. He and his wife were coming to the U.S. to visit their son, as soon as they could straighten out Visa issues. They planned on flying through LA and we gave them our phone number to call if they got the chance.
Well, just before Christmas their son, Shyan, called to tell us they were all in LA being tourists, and that now there were 5 of them! We arranged for them all to come up and stay with us for a few days after Christmas. In the picture, above, are Mr. and Mrs. Ho, their son Shyan, Xian’s girlfriend Eva, and the Ho’s second son. There’s one more son who didn’t make the trip. The picture was taken in front of the Santa Barbara Courthouse.
It was a bit crowded, but we were able to fit everyone and had a great cultural experience as we showed them around Santa Barbara. Mrs. Ho prepared a couple of meals, and Harriet had a chance to see how some Chinese/Malasian meals were really made. In this picture, you can see Mr.s Ho working with our pathetically small wok. I think she was disappointed with Harriet’s kitchen tools, although if you know Harriet’s kitchen, that’s an amusing thought. It was truly a unique cultural experience, and a lesson in relative culinary expectations. Bottom line, we now know we need a bigger wok.
We had a wonderful meal at a local Chinese restaurant where the Hos had a chance to negotiate with the owner over some real Chinese dishes, in Chinese. I’ve never had fish with toasted soy bean, before, and it was quite good.
Since Shyan is an engineering student and Eva is a programmer, we stopped off at my workplace to give them a tour. I don’t know that I’m a typical representative of the Software Engineering profession, after all that cut out of Darth Vader in a multi-color boa quoting our ISO-9001 quality statement is at the entrance to my cubicle. But, I probably helped break some stereotypes for Shyan’s folks.
They stayed with us for three nights and then took the airbus to the LA airport for their various flights home (Indiana and Malaysia-which are each interesting contrasts with Santa Barbara). We took this picture just before they left, with their whole family and our two dogs (Mrs. Ho was particularly fond of the dogs and would just sit and pat their heads-which they, of course, loved).
It was a great experience for us and I think everyone had a fine time.