Telescope: China | Jiangxi Province Pt. 2

August 26, 2014
– By James Elaine

Continued from the last blog

…the next morning I met my friend, He Xiangying (Huh Shee-ahng-Ying), and his girlfriend at the bus station. It was early morning, we talked awhile, ate and waited on our bus to arrive and take us to Yongxin (Yong-sheen), his hometown in southwest Jiangxi Province. This type of travel is an ordeal for Chinese. Xiangying works in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, near Hong Kong, and can usually only go home once a year. The trips are costly and time consuming and he cannot leave his job. Also, at this time of year, train tickets are very difficult to get, the trains are sold out and packed as millions of people all over China go home for the Chinese New Year.

Yongxin was alive with people on the streets, buying, selling, eating, talking and laughing, families were being reunited after long absences and feasts were being prepared; food, drink, and fireworks. And everything was RED.

We walked through the busy village, across misty fields, down dirt roads, into mazes of buildings to Xiangying’s home. Along the way I noticed mirrors hanging in many of the windows and above the doorways, some even had old rusty knives hanging beside the mirrors. Xiangying told me that the people have done this for years to keep the evil spirits out.

A meal was waiting for us when we reached his home. We sat down to eat and drink as everyone else came and went eating and chatting as they please: grandmothers, children, aunts, friends, fathers, dogs, and an occasional chicken. At this time of year the ritual is to go from family house to house to greet and drink and eat again and again. All extended family members are called brothers and sisters or aunts and uncles. It is a beautiful and tight knit family community. I was the first foreigner to visit Xiangying’s home (and the first one in his entire village), and even though they weren’t sure how to act and what to say to me, I was treated as family. It was a special occasion for all of us, especially for me.