On Saturday morning there was a knock on my room door. One of the ladies who works at the entrance of my dorm building started saying something frantically. I had no clue until she said "lai lai" (come come), and I followed her. It turned out that the main dorm phone was for me, and it was one of the cousins of my Mandarin teacher back in Canada calling. My prof let her cousins know that I was in town, and where I was staying.
Half an hour later a lady came to pick me up, and whisked me away on the bus. We bought some groceries for lunch, and she bought a bag of sweets for me to take back with me (moon cakes, crackers, and cookies of all kinds). Lunch was a big affair with various family members and friends showing up for the feast. There were all sorts of food -home made mutton dumplings, chicken, sausage, tofu, veggies, ribs, beef, etc.- and many toasts (including some welcoming me to Baoding and to their house). I even tried a chicken foot, which doesn't have much meat on it in case you're wondering.
The other cousin then invited me to their house for the afternoon. I met the grandparents, and was plied with even more food! It was the first time that one of the cousins had a foreigner in their house. Apparently as little as 10 years ago foreigners weren't allowed to go into common Chinese people's houses.