That’s my second uncle and me on the first night I was in Jixi. I had met him for the first time hours earlier. I didn’t know what to expect, except a lot of food. Oh, and I expected booze — a lot of it. I was warned ahead of time by my aunt’s family that my uncle and his family loved to drink. Beer and baijiu, a nasty, fiery liquor that people in the northeast love to down to toasts of “Gan bei!” I was able to keep my baijiu toasts to two shots during the trip.

My uncle couldn’t drink much any more. He had a small glass or two of beer during dinner. But my cousins-in-law kept toasting me and refilling my glass. I tried to keep it under control, drinking tea over beer whenever I could. But still, my liver is just now recovering from the past week.

One major topic of conversation during my time there was who I looked like. If I looked like my father or any other relatives. But the consensus was that I looked very similar to my uncle when he was young and in the People’s Liberation Army (he joined when he was 15 or 16). Judge for yourself.


I wonder if I’ll also look like my uncle when I’m in my 70s? Perhaps, but with a lot less hair.