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When is the largest yearly human migration in the world? Chūnjié (春节, Chinese New Year).
For the year of the Tiger, Adeline traveled by train 13 hours (hard sleeper), then three hours by bus to arrive home where her mother and father waited anxiously to spend the holidays with her. Adeline is one of three children and the only one who could make it back home. Train tickets are expensive and hard to come by due to poor regulation of ticket sales; scalpers purchase tickets at regular price then raise them to criminal proportions. Happy to reunite once a year, Adeline’s mother prepared a hometown favorite.
Every Chūnjié, the folks in Adeline’s hometown, Dūnziwān (墩子湾, a village in Hubei province) make their own làcháng (腊肠, sausage). This doesn’t happen in every hometown across China. In fact, Adeline’s husband is from Gāohé (高河) a neighboring village one hour away and they don’t make sausage at all; their specialty is steamed fish.
Returning to Beijing, Adeline carried 16 sausages, 3 hours by bus then 16 hours by train (standing room only!), arrived at her house and divvied up the sausages gifting me 8 sausages the day she returned to work. There is a lot to appreciate about this sausage beyond its flavor!
Per Adeline’s direction, I boiled a pot of water, cut off a link from the string and after ten minutes in the pot sliced it for my breakfast. Spicy and numbing from the Sichuan peppercorns, I savored a taste of a family tradition Adeline traveled long and wearily for. Adeline, to you and your family Xièxiè!