July 23, 2020

Memories from Trips to China - Timeless Thursdays 10

It's been four long weeks since the last Timeless Thursdays, it was the 9th run of the meme, and now it's making a comeback (if only you guys can still remember and wants to join). I know memes are supposed to be consistent but my sincere apologies, I hope you'll still give me a chance to start them time to time when life permits me to.

For this week, instead of sharing just one memory, I'll be sharing a few photographs from my several trips to China, through the years, and will try to share a portion of the story behind it with as much as I can remember. For those of you who don't know yet, I am whole-heartedly a Filipino, but I am a quarter Chinese and I am proud of my heritage as a Filipino-Chinese. 

At the end of these memories, I would like to ask you all, which of these photos and stories spark something in you?
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BEIJING - January 12, 2013

What you see above is not a tour group. these are complete strangers. There is no announcement or a product endorsement here, they are all in the beginning of a performance. Yes, this is one of my most memorable experiences on my first trip to China. As we walked to the Temple of Heaven, we passed by several groups singing together. At first we thought it was a choir practice but no. As I was watching and appreciating their beautiful song, I looked back and find myself in the middle of so many more Chinese people singing the song with all their heart. These are songs that they all know, probably thought from school, but the mostly senior group sings them with so much pride and honor. I think they are singing for their country. 

I was so regretful to not be able to shot that moment on video but hey, I think I'm not regretful at all because I was standing there in awe. In the middle of the song, I felt so emotional because I have never seen, in my life, a group of strangers singing traditional folk song together as one. It was the most patriotic thing I have ever seen, I felt like I was on a real-life Les Miserable setting. As they were all singing, the Chinese man beside me held my hand and sang with so much conviction. He seems to be mouthing the words and asking me to sing with him, but of course I don't know the song so I just smiled and watch him sing. After the song we all clapped and all hundreds of them went on to do their strolls. It was a very beautiful moment, very documentary worthy. 
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TIANJIN - January 11, 2013

It was our very first winter experience. The photo above shows me and my dad on the Tianjin railway station. This was the very first overseas trip I did with my father after my childhood days in California where we once lived. Since it was winter, there were not much tourists so it was a delight for us to travel around the busy cities of China. We were amazed by how eerie and cold it was, and saw the beauty from the eerie and quietness of Chinese winters in the northern part of the country. For somebody like me, the first winter experience was magical. Not the first for my Dad because he lived a few years in Iran where he told me stories of harsh but beautiful winter seasons. 

Though it did not snow the whole time we were there, seeing everything so gray and white and cold and frozen is just a delight for someone who lived all his life in the tropics. 22 countries after, I still haven't seen snowfall except for a few flurries in Prague last December. I pray that I can experience a beautiful (but not harsh) white winter.
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JINJIANG - November 4, 2014

This was at my father's cousin's house, one of my Chinese uncles. He was not just my uncle but he was also my father's friend. My father was born and raised in the Philippines but whenever he visits my Grandpa's hometown, my uncle has been so nice to my father and they grew a bond. Sharing this photo because this is another touching moment for me. 

We spent 4 days in Jinjiang and Quanzhou to visit my grandfather's old house and seaside town and my uncle's family took very good care of us as their guests. I was so happy to see all of the for the very first time. They speak no English, and I speak no Hokkien. So for them to remember me, on the first day I saw them I gave them a copy of my University photo as remembrance. 

And on our last day in the city, they invited us for dinner, it was amazing! My uncle's wife and his daughter-in-law prepared a very delicious Chinese table for us filled with seafood and fried rice and fruits and vegetables! Then when I went to the restroom, I passed by this family frame. There I saw my photo. How can you be more family to them than seeing your photo on their family pictures. I haven't seen them since, I hope they are all well and healthy at the moment.
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XIAMEN - November 8, 2014

Xiamen was our entry point and our last stop for my 2014 trip to South-eastern China. We visited an uncle in Jinjiang, my aunt in Fuzhou, but we know nobody in Xiamen. Luckily, my Uncle Vincent who lives here in the Philippines has a very good friend who lives in Xiamen. I call him Uncle Cai, he is the one on the photo with me above. We may no be related but Uncle Cai adopted me and my dad for a few days like we are not just guests but family. He doesn't speak English, and I can't speak Hokkien as well so it was hard for us to converse but these are just moments when you seem to understand what they say that the hearts speaks louder than words.

I can still remember when he picked us up at the airport, I was quite afraid that we might get lost because I am not familiar with who he is, his face, or his name but all has been arranged by my uncle Vincent and Uncle Xiao in Fuzhou. So we waited for all people from our HSR train to leave until there's a man holding a paper with English letters and there it was, my name! Even from the very first meeting I felt very comfortable with him and he is such a cool person! he took us around Xiamen for three days and it was amazing! The food, the sights, getting to know his family members, it was such a joy! When they visited the Philippines a year after, I never missed the chance to see him. We still get in touch through chat but I hope and pray that someday I can visit him again in Xiamen and we can bond. He's one of the best people I have met and known through my trips. I was in tears after three days of being with his family when he dropped us off at the airport, okay I can get too emotional. I very much thank my Uncle Vincent for letting me know such a wonderful Uncle in Xiamen.
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FUZHOU - November 7, 2014

This is a very touching moment. While walking at the park with my father and his cousin, my aunt Wai Ning, we came across this old Chinese man writing characters on the park tiles. His strokes are amazing, even as per my aunt who writes artistically perfect calligraphy. I was so amazed by him and he even wanted me to try it but I can't write in Chinese. I can feel he wanted to talk to me and I myself wanted to tell him how amazed I am with his talent (He uses a plastic tube with a piece of foam at the end, sliced purposely to have that brush end. Water is filled in on the tube and works as ink on the dry tile which then dries up after a few minutes to nothing). My aunt said that he is not just a good calligrapher because what he is writing are verses to a poem.

My dad was so amazed and he had a light conversation with the old man (my dad speaks some good Hokkien) and he gave a small tip to the old man which he is not asking for. At first I gave my dad a bad stare because it might arrive as an insult but the old man was in tears for joy. I think it's not really because of the money but what my dad did, I think the old man understood that it was an act of appreciation for his art. He hugged us so dear and I was also on tears and the man handed me the brush! I don't want to take it because it's his and I just can't do anything about it but he was insisting so I just gave him a hug and took it with me. 

FUZHOU - November 7, 2014

As we walked away he was looking at us with a big smile and he waved at me. I was literally on tears on a crowded part of a Chinese park, so dramatic huh? But that moment was so touching. We traveled to our next cities with that pole brush on my bag and it even made its way to the Philippines (we had to detach the brush head though as advised by the airline crew. It's here in my room, I just don't know where, but the memory of that old man and his kind and appreciative heart is with me forever and will never be unseen.
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I would love to welcome and invite everyone to join this new Linky that I thought of starting - Timeless Thursdays.


Timeless Thursdays is open for anyone who wishes to share old photos or old thoughts that you would like to share as beautiful memories with everyone. This can be from yesterday, a year ago, or something from your grandma's treasure chest.

This runs every Thursday at 12 am (Manila/Perth Time) until Sunday at 11:59 pm (Manila/Perth Time)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


51 comments:

  1. ...thanks for sharing part of you trip, I will never be able to make it on my own. Take care!

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    1. All my pleasure Tom, thank you for joining me through memory lane :)

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  2. Great photos and great memories :-D I always love photos for memories :-D

    You look really good in the suit and bow tie - great outfit :-D

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    1. We are the same! I actually had a great time while writing this entry earlier :) Thank you so much dear Ananka! I was still so young there :)

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  3. Beautiful memories!

    I remember a similar time when a large crowd started singing a song that they all knew, but that I didn't know. It was in June, 1990, in Paris. Nelson Mandela had just been released from prison, and there was an announcement that he would make an appearance at the Trocadero, so we walked there from our apartment around a mile away. Almost all the large crowd was African, and when he and his hosts came onto the platform in the center of a cleared area, everyone started singing a song of African independence, very quietly. It was incredibly moving.

    be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Dear Mae, that is such a moving story! the way you shared it, I can vividly imagine it in my head and I am sure it was a magical moment to be in that place at that time. I really wanted to go to the Trocadero for a photo but my friend was feeling negative that time I was in Paris and was scared of the pickpockets. I know they are everywhere though hmmm. Thanks for sharing Mae :)

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  4. What beautiful photos and great memories that accompany them. I love looking at old photos because they take you right back to that time of your life. Nice story of the Chinese man who was painting the characters on the ground. I enjoyed it and also the other ones too. Have a nice day and thank you for sharing a piece of your life.

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    1. I am so happy you enjoyed about that Chinese painter bill. It was a very touching and unforgettable moment for me, something I'll be thankful to be a travel memory :)

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  5. Wow ~ what a wonderful post and photos of your treasured memories ~ Hard to pick a favorite ~ all are very moving to the emotions and love of people ~ so good to read and see ~ thank you,

    Live each moment with love,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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    1. I am so happy you like it in an emotional level just as I was there while I was writing it. Thank yous o much dear Carol!

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  6. Dearest Stevenson,
    The BEST photo to me is the iconic one with you and your Dad in 2013 at Tianjin station.
    You talk a lot about emotions and yes, your Dad of course has still more ties to the land of his Father and he showed you with a certain pride.
    Complete strangers can open up their hearts so wide that it makes you filled with a waterfall of emotions, gratitude and also a way of not quite knowing how to accept all the love and attention... We have felt that in several Asian countries and it fills up your heart and leaves a forever mark on your soul. After all, those 'complete' strangers might not be real strangers. It was our destiny to meet them and to interact - for a purpose, maybe not yet known to us.
    Lovely writing! You travel with heart and soul and this is SO much more valuable than just booking a tour and hopping on and off with others. Interacting with the locals is always the best and both of us have been lucky to have experienced that numerous times. An unexpected meal at complete strangers' home, like they celebrate you... It makes you at first uneasy but then the joy fills your heart and soul. It actually IS the best soul food, like gassing up for the next couple of years...
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Mariette your words just always leave marks and tickles my heart, thank you very much for such beautiful comments about my stories and my writing. You are absolutely accurate on those things you said about Asian people. I am not saying that non-Asians are cold or some sort of that but with Asians, there's just this stronger sense of family and belongingness that we get to feel with each other even if we are strangers on a same group. And you are right, I very much agree on your statement about strangers because they are meant to be known and seen by us no matter how short the time of meeting was :)

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    1. Oh thank you so much Mariette! Since that was my first Winter ever, I thought of fixing some nice clothes to wear for that week, it includes that cute bowtie :)

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  8. Dear Stevenson :-)
    As you can guess the second is not mine. I deeply hate ice and snow!
    I remember winters (plural!) where you had to "swoosh" into tiny frozen parking spaces - with a company car, which means you pay for every scratch!
    But the first one is very touching!
    As are the family pictures, so sweet.
    And the old man - I think it´s good he accepted your tip! When we were in ... Townsville, I guess (Australia), I asked an elderly man for the way and we ended up in his house, it was like a museum, we were shown so much, learned so much, he accepted not a thing, not even a coffee. He said having company was enough for a wonderful day, isn´t that sad.
    (His wife was long gone).
    Thank you for sharing this, wee, you saw a lot of places :-)

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    1. Thank you so much for marking your choices and most of all for sharing that story about that old man in Australia. Oh Iris I felt so touched and a bit sad about that and wherever that man is now, I pray that he gets to see more happiness in life. And I thank you for being his company on that day, I am very sure he was delighted to have guests :)

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  9. Oh I did enjoy reading all these lovely memories SQ, it is definitely the people you meet along the way that make these trips so rewarding, especially if they turn into life long friendships. You haven't changed so much over the years, still a handsome young man ✨

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    1. Oh dear Grace that is so ice of you to say! I just gained some more weight now to be honest HAHA Absolutely true about people we meet on travels. I just hope someday when I travel to Perth I can get to meet you and Sami :)

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  10. I still haven't ever made it to China, but I hope to one day. Looks like an amazing trip!

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    1. It is very much worth the visit Susie :) Just like the US, there's vast varieties of regions that offers different views and cultures in China :)

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  11. Oh, I so enjoyed all of these. I could not pick a favorite.

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    1. To be honest it was also hard for me to choose one favorite Rose :) They all gave me heart flutters :)

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  12. It must have been a very sentimental journey for you :) I have never been to China, but I am delighted with their completely different culture and traditions. All the photos are amazing, I was especially intrigued by the one they sing on. You can certainly be proud of your Chinese roots and such a warm family :)

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    1. Oh Rodzina, thank you so much for those words! You are right, I felt very much i touch with my roots while I was there and was blesse dto have a sense of family even the language barrier that we all have with each other :)

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  13. Good night, how are you? I am Brazilian, from Rio de Janeiro and looking for new followers for my blog. And I will follow yours with pleasure. New friends are also welcome, no matter the distance.

    https://viagenspelobrasilerio.blogspot.com/?m=1

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    1. Ola meu amigo Luiz! I am doing well and thank you for the follow, I also have followed you! It's amazing to know somebody from Brazil!

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  14. Buenos recuerdos de tu viaje, sobretodo porque ibas en compañía de tu padre.

    Se disfruta mucho viajando y conociendo lugares hermosos, como los de este paĂ­s.

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    1. Muchas gracias mi amiga! Estoy muy acuerdo por to commento del mi viaje es muy agredable cosa del mi padre!

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  15. So nice to see photoes from your family and you!You all look so happy and kind!
    I love China and hopefully we can travel there soon.Some friends of mine had two difficult choices ,to get home to Norway or stay in China They choose China because they say it is safer there!They send us beautiful pictures from the Chinese great wall and how they have baths in channels around .They are very happy living in China Beijng the whole family with kids!!Looking forward for more blogpost from you place new or old!Greetings Anita in Norway!

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    1. Hello dearest Anita! You are right, it is a different world there in China but the Nature parts on the South are the best because there is not much pollution as compared to those bigger cities in the north. I really hope you can visit China too someday :)

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  16. Pensaba que había comentado ya en tu blog. Ahora veo que no está micomentario y me ha extrañado.

    Te decía que has hecho un buen viaje, que tendrás siempre en el recuerdo, sobretodo porque ibas acompañado de tu padre.

    Feliz domingo.

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    1. Muchas gracias Mi Amiga! I am so sorry that the Comments are so slow for me to post. I just don't want to miss any comment :) I am always so happy with your visits :)

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  17. I hadn't seen your posts in your other blog for a while and decided to visit this one.
    What lovely memories of your trip to China Stevenson. Hope you get to see them again.

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    1. Thank you so much dearest Sami! I am so happy to see you here, I very much am sad too not to be posting in Cavite Daily Photo for quite sometime now but I really hope I can take more pictures of my province to share with you all :)

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  18. Good morning Stevenson. Thank you for your words. I would like to invite you to be a new follower of my blog. I'm already a new follower of yours.

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    1. Followed you back my friend Luiz! Muito Obrigado!

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  19. Hello Steve. I enjoyed your post so much. I have realised that you are a traveller rather than a tourist. There is a huge difference that Sue and I try to stick to when we travel abroad. We like to mix with the locals, not other Brits. We like to learn a little about their country, their language, food and customs. In other words, to make friends.

    You seem to be learning about your own birds and yes, a Paddyfield Pipit is probably very common where you live, one of a number of the pipit "family" of the world. I saw Paddyfield Pipits in India some years ago but the species vary rarely occurs here in the UK. I think that your next purchases must be 1) binoculars 2) a bird field guide, and 3) a camera with a 400/500mm lens. I will turn you into a "birder".

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    1. Phil, it's a very big deal for me to hear about being a traveler and not a tourist, that means so so much to me Phil. I know I haven't yet exposed so much of my self with the locals as much as I want to but slowly I think I'm getting there travel every travel. But you are very much right, I'm not a big fan of tour groups that have fixed itineraries because it gives you less interactions to the real locals and their real lives which very much interests me :)

      Oh so nice of you my friend Phil! I would so love to be a starting birder and your blog has done so much to give me encouragements and facts to be somewhat like one :) I'll keep reading your blog and learning more, starting with the species here in our islands :)

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  20. Lovely trips Stevenson...you are a real traveler (not just a tourist) because you don’t just gawk at the sights, but really get to know the people and take part as much as you can in the street life. I can imagine the wonderful lifelong memories from the trip with your father and the visit with your relatives.

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    1. Oh Sallie, you are so nice to say those words! Thank yous o much and you are absolutely right, I really want to be one with the people and the place itslef in every city I visit :)

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  21. This sounds like the most remarkable trip and I don't know where to begin. So many wonderful and irreplaceable experiences. Yes, maybe good you just have a memory of the heart for the song, although it would have been lovely to hear it, I know. And I especially loved the story of the man painting the calligraphy. What a great artist he is. I hope your father conveyed some of your appreciation that you shared here. But I bet he saw the smile on your face and the awe, and he knew. I love that you were able to travel with your father. I'd give anything to be able to do that one more time.

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    1. Dearest Jeanie I am very much touched by your comment. Thank you so so much for those kind words and I very much agree with you, with how expressive I know my face is, with wonder, awe, and joy, I am sure the old man have seen how pleased I am with his art.

      Thank you so much Jeanie. I very much am saddened because I really want to travel again with my dad, would have been a great trip we had to Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar last May but I just pray that we both have many more years of great health so we can do it even with this COVID delays.

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  22. How Cool Are These - Love That Smile Brother Man - Hope The Days Are Unfolding With Joy - Enjoy The Rest Of This Month - That Garden Must Be Gorgeous These Days - Stay Strong

    Cheers

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    1. Thank you so so much my friend Padre! I hope your days are going well too! I am excited to visit your blog, Saw your latest comment with the Radio Show link, I will be needing that tomorrow since it's gonna be a long day at work.

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