With references so casual and unassuming we have to pause a moment to let their astounding nature sink in, our friend Hsing-Yi can stop a conversation cold.
“Oh, yes, that happened to me on the Amazon,” she once chuckled in solidarity, as we ladies-at-lunch stopped laughing at whatever silly thing had tickled our funny bones, and stared.
Turns out our friend Hsing-Yi had once taken part in a research expedition through the Amazon rainforest. How she related that fascinating tidbit to our conversation escapes me, but I remember her earnest effort to explain.
“It was the same reaction,” she insisted. “When our boat came around the bend and the indigenous people came running…”
Born in Taiwan, Hsing-Yi came with her husband Jorge to live in Wisconsin by way of Venezuela, which means she speaks three languages fluently. In fact, when her mother comes to visit from Taiwan during the same time her mother in-law visits from Venezuela, Hsing-Yi spends her days in three-way translations. Hsing-Yi’s father, the former national volleyball coach for Taiwan and then Venezuela, once came to watch our bar volleyball team play.
“It looks like you girls have a lot of …fun,” he diplomatically told Hsing-Yi (or at least that’s how she translated his kind response).
That English is Hsing-Yi’s third language rarely comes up, except for the time she proudly sported a pink T-shirt with horses on it that read, “Hot to Trot.”
Told that “Hot to Trot” did not refer to the horses, Hsing-Yi said, aghast, “But I wore that shirt all over town! I wore it to school conferences!”
With her biology background and interest in food safety, Hsing-Yi is the perfect member of our broadly defined gourmet club. She and she alone declares the Spanferkel safe to eat, or the beef brisket ready to go; the latter finally happened amid much fanfare just past midnight after a long, extended happy hour.
Tomorrow we’re gearing up and heading to the Packer game. We’ll salute my beloved football team, but I’ll also take a moment to honor my friendship with a woman who honestly has no idea how very interesting she is.