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Strawberries are in season.

Strawberries that taste like love.

Last spring my sister and two of her daughters spent eight days in China. Eight days I will remember the rest of my life. Eight days in which a part of me came alive for the girls in ways they simply couldn’t before. China was no longer just where Aunt Amy lived; it was where they, too, had walked. And eaten.

Niece Number Two loves me with a love that is fierce. They all love me, but this one, this girl, this nurturer, she loves with raw public abandon. And I love her back.

At one point in the trip she was asked her favorite Chinese food and she answered, “Strawberries.” Before you scoff, you must know that these berries are so full of flavor. They have not been coaxed to the large flavorless, shells of themselves that many berries in America have.

In the market today I told the fruit vendor I had a strange question and asked if I could take pictures of their strawberries for my niece. Once they understood and saw that I really was taking pictures of the berries, the wife called me around the corner and had me take pictures of the stacks of flats. For your niece, to show her the berries. Does America have strawberries?   “We do, but not flavorful like these.” I replied. Ah, Chinese ones are better.

Yes, they are.

They taste like love.

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