In the past decade, Wang Yunxia, 30, spent her adult life largely on a factory floor in southern Guangdong, far away from her daughter in central China, and even farther away from her husband in Beijing, where he was also a migrant worker.
The family would gather once a year to celebrate Lunar New Year, whether at their village in the province of Hubei, or elsewhere.
"It doesn't matter where," Wang said quietly. "When we're together, we're family, we're home."
Left: Yunxia and Nianlian go shopping ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Right: Yunxia waits at the supermarket checkout.
Struck by nostalgia this year, Wang had thought of steaming a pig's head, a traditional dish in her village, on the eve of Lunar New Year.
But unable to find a container big enough, she fell back on hot pot - a spicy staple in Hubei cuisine - of salted chicken, pepper and some duck leg.
Yang recalled the questions his daughter would bombard him with: Was it tiring in Beijing? What did you do the whole year? What did you eat?
"A dream of mine is to work hard in the city and earn as much money as I can, for my family, for my child," a teary-eyed Yang said, his arm draped over his wife's shoulder, as if searching for her support.
"But today I feel like I've let them down somehow."
PHOTO EDITING GABRIELLE FONSECA; TEXT EDITING Clarence Fernandez; LAYOUT JULIA DALRYMPLE