In the spring of 2019, Miaozi found herself accidentally pregnant, and soon her boyfriend left her. Miaozi’s mother demanded her to abort the baby, and her father demanded her to marry her ex-boyfriend before the baby’s birth. She struggled against both demands. When winter came and Miaozi’s belly was at its fullest, she and ten friends in Guangzhou decided to host their own special wedding, initiating an alternative family called Chao Family (超家族) to care for the baby and each other. Chāo can mean either “ultra” or “extra” (Miaozi sometimes also pronounces it as cāo, meaning “fuck”)—thus meaning Ultra Family, Extra Family, and Fuck Family at once.
Due to financial difficulties and China’s hukou (residential permit) system, she had to relocate from Guangzhou back to her conservative Teochew hometown. COVID and baby Chao arrived at around the same time. An old biological, nuclear family was falling apart; a new, chosen family was coming together and falling apart. On the first day of 2020, Miaozi and one wedding participant moved back to the old, family village house where Miaozi herself was born. That was the beginning of the Chao Family.