Chinese Family Visit – Anhui Province, Tian Chang (安徽,天长市)

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Nanjing is still in holiday mood since the Chinese Spring Festival is in high gear. Last weekend however I had a chance to visit Cong Mei’s 丛栂 home in Anhui Province. Anhui Province borders Jiangsu and from the Capital City – Nanjing its a 2 hour bus ride to Tian Chang City. This being my second visit to a Chinese home, I thought I was prepared but what I experienced there was totally different and very exciting.

Let me introduce Cong Mei who I will later be referring to as Xiao Mei (小梅)。She schooled in Anhui and currently works in Nanjing at a computer sales company. A very beautiful and cute girl, calm and collected. Xiao Mei can speak good English and hopes to travel outside China in the future. She is very ambitious and being the eldest child she has a smaller brother who I later came to meet in the invite to her home.

施丛梅 - Xiao Mei
施丛梅 – Xiao Mei

We left Nanjing in the after noon as the biting cold persisted. Warmly dressed we boarded the small bus and later it navigated out of Nanjing and after a 2hour ride we were in Anhui Province. During the ride she kept telling me what I should expect since there are no foreigners in the small city. She added that the locals who were later friendly would want to get a glimpse of me let alone touch and request for selfies together.  The border of Jiangsu and Anhui Province was clear as signboards clearly spelt out WELCOME TO ANHUI PROVINCE – 欢迎你安徽省。Patches of snow on old rooftops were visible and temperatures dropped, the further we went interior.

On arrival at the small bus station, just as she had predicted, a swarm of locals were excited to see me. The air was dry and the sun kept temperatures abit warm despite the cold evening breeze. From the station we proceeded to her home which was not far from the station.  They live in a beautiful apartment away from the noise of the city. The interior of the house is a clean white with great decorations and quite spacious. The most beautiful Chinese home that I have seen so far.

Xiao Mei and I at her home.
Xiao Mei and I at her home.

The accommodation and hospitality that a Chinese family will accord a foreign visitor is normally very warm. They received me well and Xiao Mei’s brother was eager to meet and talk to me. The arrival day was spent getting familiar with the family and friends, and by dawn I met her cousin who comes in late due to work.  Passing time in the evening was spent learning some calligraphy tips from her brother who’s writing was very beautiful #Inspiration.

Xaio Mei's brother and I practsising calligraphy. I must say that his calligraphy is very good.
Xaio Mei’s brother and I practising calligraphy. I must say that his calligraphy is very good.
手机族 - Xiao Mei and her brothet, their addiction to mobile phones is very clear :-)
手机族 – Xiao Mei and her brother, their addiction to mobile phones is very clear 🙂

The next days were spent going for walks around the town, taking Xiao Mei to check-out the driving school near her home and shopping. Tian Chang cannot be classified among China’s large cities but the warmness of the people living there can be felt. Walking around the streets drew  some attraction as the locals had not seen an African walk down the streets in a very long time.

A view of Tian Chang from the river bridge
A view of Tian Chang from the river bridge.
A wall mural along the river that is a key attraction site for visitors.
A wall mural along the river that is a key attraction site for visitors.

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I spent a good 3 days at Xiao Mei’s home and getting to know and understand Chinese culture was very interesting. These are truly experiences that cannot be read from a book, you just have to go down and get the full dose.  Going back was sad since I was loving the place. Despite the biting cold that kept us in heavy warm clothing, the experience in Anhui was really great.

Thanks 施丛栂 | Special Friend

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