My husband’s ancestral home is in Meixian, Guangdong Province. The name of the home is Di Hua Ju. It was built in 1918. In 2002, it was praised as a cultural relic, and became a protected unit in Guangdong Province. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ancestral house. The descendants returned to the ancestral house to celebrate its centennial anniversary on November 11, 2018.
Our whole family participated in this great celebration. Considering that our children and grandchildren have never been to our motherland, it was necessary to take them everywhere to experience our motherland’s culture.
Di-Hua-Ju covers an area of 3,750 square meters and the built-up area is 1,850 square meters. There are 42 rooms, 8 kitchens, 9 bathrooms, 8 toilets, 7 livestock houses, 1 rice milling room, 3 halls, 1 worship room, 12 patios, 8 small halls and 16 corridors. With so many rooms and halls, patios and corridors, it was impossible for us to get a thorough understanding of them in a day.
Our children came to the rural environment for the first time and were curious about everything. First, they surrounded the fish pond in front of the house and intuitively thought that fishing here would be lots of fun. Indeed, according to our cousin Yuanfa’s memory, during the summer vacation of 1957, he and my husband secretly fished with roasted cockroaches as bait in this pond at night. They caught a big fish in just a few minutes.
The cabbage planted by the fish pond were so big. Firecrackers were set off before the worship ceremony. The firecracker box which was much larger than the big pizza box and the tall incense burned for the ancestors was as big as a bamboo pole. All these were their first experience.
After the worship, they ran through and visited the whole house and said, “So amazing”.
去到梅州，一帮不谙中文的假洋鬼子只能靠着手机行事，在网上找到了旅馆附近的万达广场用餐，选择了一间火锅餐厅，对着菜单上的方块字， Google translate的功能也有限，只好乱点鸳鸯，还好国内的饮食水平一流，吃得很满意，对麵点师傅在餐桌旁生动地为他们表演拉麵感到很新鲜，另外还有演员在桌前表演川剧的变脸，在美国的餐厅还没有尝过这种待遇，回祖国的第一餐就获得美美的享受。
Our children all work in Northern California. They chose to fly from San Francisco to Guangzhou. We flew from Los Angeles. According to the original plan, we would meet at Guangzhou Airport in the morning of 11/10 to transfer to Meizhou. Unfortunately, our plane was delayed for four hours due to mechanical problems and could not catch up with them. We had to meet them a day later.
At Meizhou, my children who cannot read Chinese could only rely on their mobile phones for translation. They found Wanda Square near the hotel for dinner on the Internet and chose a hot pot restaurant. Faced with the square words on the menu, Google Translate has limited functions. They had to scramble to understand the menu. Fortunately the domestic cuisine was fantastic, and they were satisfied with it. The performing chef vividly hand pulled the ramen for them. In addition, there was a performer who performed Sichuan Opera face-changing at the table. They have never tasted this kind of treatment in American restaurants. They enjoyed the wonderful first meal in the motherland.
左：用Google Translate 翻译菜单，右：餐馆师傅的拉面表演
“Dad, I want to live in China”
在天安门广场的中央，看到了天安门；人民大会堂；英雄纪念碑；毛主席纪念堂。孩子们在广场上还悠闲地踢起了刚在小店买的毽子。游故宫时，一起爬上太和殿外的大理石楼梯，感受故宫建筑的宏伟, 孩子们计划着回家后要看一部电影 The Last Emperor。游颐和园，我们一起爬上万寿山看美景，在美丽的长廊上嘻哈追逐，体会着当年慈禧太后的游园乐。在十三陵，孩子们惊奇地听着皇帝有许多宫女陪葬的故事。在长城，孩子们像一群脱了缰的野马，在长城上快乐地跑啊跳啊，他们欢快地冲往远处的至高点，一下子就把我这老太婆撇在了后头。
在北京开了眼界，长了知识，吃得美味，玩得开心。小孙子突然冒出来一句话：“Dad, I want to live in China”
Beijing is a political and cultural center. We took the children to Beijing to experience the motherland culture. Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs, and the Great Wall, are all famous scenic spots. They have seen them on TV and now experienced the scene personally. This was precious education.
At Tiananmen Square, we saw the Tiananmen Gate, the Great Hall of the People, the Monument to Heroes, and Chairman Mao’s Memorial Hall. In the square, our happy children kicked a shuttlecock they had just bought at a local shop. While visiting the Imperial Palace, we climbed the marble stairs outside the Taihe Palace Hall to feel the magnificence of the Imperial Palace building. After that, the children planned to watch the movie “The Last Emperor” when they returned home. When we visited the Summer Palace, we climbed the Longevity Hill together to see the beautiful scenery and chased around happily through the beautiful corridors. We imagined the pleasure Empress Dowager Cixi must have had in this garden. In the Ming Tombs, the children were surprised as they listened to the story of the emperor’s burial with many palace girls. At the Great Wall, they were like a group of wild horses, running and jumping happily on the Great Wall. They rushed happily to the highest point in the distance.
In Beijing, we went to “Quan-Ju-De” restaurant, the original one in Wang-Fu-Jing, to taste authentic Peking roast duck for dinner, and experienced a more modern hotpot place known as “Hai-Di-Lao” for lunch. The grandchildren were also very interested in Beijing snacks at Qianmen Street and Tongluogu Lane.
While visiting the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, the children experienced the high technology of face recognition in the restroom and learned how they conserve toilet paper this way.
In Beijing, we have broadened our horizons, gained knowledge, enjoyed delicious food and had lots of fun. My younger grandson suddenly said to my son, “Dad, I want to live in China.”
The Big Buddha
While in Hong Kong, we visited relatives as well as tourist spots. We visited with the only elder ancestor of the Chu family, 85-year-old “7th auntie”. At Tung Chung, we queue up for the cable car to worship the Buddha on Lantau Island. Each cable car accommodates up to eight adult passengers. Our family of thirteen squeezed together in one carriage for fun. When the cable car went up the hill, the Buddha on the top of Angping Mountain could be seen on the left side, and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge which was recently opened to traffic, could be seen on the right side. The cable car fare was HK$235 for adult and HK$110 for kids, which was worth it.
Up on the mountain, the air is fresh, the scenery is beautiful, and the Temple of Heaven Buddha was magnificent. It is said to be the second largest outdoor sitting Buddha in the world. You can relax naturally and experience the breath and beautiful of nature. The kids climbed up 260 steps with great
enthusiasm to worship the 23-meter-high Buddha and gave a high-five to the Buddha.
We like Guangzhou
From Hong Kong to Guangzhou, we experienced riding a high-speed rail. There were many young and old in our team, so to avoid congestion and troublesome crowds, we chose first class. The fare for adults was $323 RMB and $162 RMB for children. It only took 57 minutes from West Kowloon to South Guangzhou. It was convenient, comfortable and fast.
We rented a medium-sized minibus in Guangzhou to visit the Guangzhou Tower, went to Shunde to find delicacies, went shopping on Peking Road Pedestrian Street, and joined a night cruise tour of the Pearl River. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the rental plus parking fee, high-speed rail fee, overtime fee (2 hours) totaled $1,000 RMB. We finished our planned schedule perfectly by renting that bus.
Although we only spent one day in Guangzhou, we had enjoyed the Guangzhou city view from the 26th floor viewing platform of Guangzhou Tower. Guangzhou Tower is the tallest tower in China (ticket fare RMB $150, children $75 RMB, free for the elderly). Guangzhou Tower is one of the eight new sceneries of Yangcheng, and now it is the first choice for foreign tourists to visit.
The 2 hours night tour of Pearl River cruise fee was $180 RMB which included a delicious buffet and some performances. The scenery on both sides of the Pearl River is fantastic, especially the beautiful lights of Guangzhou Tower.
孩子们在北京步行街购买礼品不亦乐乎。回程路上又放下了一句话：We like Guangzhou.
People say: “Eat in Guangdong, cook in Shunde”. We admired the delicacies of Shunde. Our driver led us to “Deyunju” and ordered a 25-kilogram fish (one fish cooked 3 ways), fried milk, roast goose, fish pie, large potted chicken, vegetable fish ball, tofu and so on. Fourteen of us shared the bill which was $894 RMB. Deyunju is a small farm village. After being remodeled, each house became a dining room with a unique style. There are bridges and a small stream running in the courtyard. While waiting for meals, we had fun with our children and grandchildren in the farmyard.
Everyone was happy to buy gifts in Beijing’s Pedestrian Street. On the way back, another sentence was uttered: “We like Guangzhou”.
My sister-in-law who was grew up in Indonesia also joined us on this trip. She said, “Unexpectedly, China is so beautiful, I like Guangzhou very much, especially the delicious food. Reminds me of my mother’s cooking skills”.
The 12-day fascinating vacation is over. The happy moments are always passing quickly. It’s our pleasure that the children had a good time. Being able to travel with the whole family is the greatest happiness. What makes us happy is that although the children take leave to travel, they do not forget to automatically strive for time to study during the journey. The children are also examples for us to learn from.