Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Lovely evening

Well yes, my Grandson came and we had such a lovely evening - after almost five years. He teaches English to Chinese adults right down in the South of China and, of course, he has not been able to come 'home' because of Covid (which he actually had at the end of last year.

My first surprise was when my son brought him in at around seven o'clock.   My son came into the room first and I thought it was my grandson!   They are so very much alike.   Another interesting thing was when he spoke - after living in China for almost six years his accent has changed completely.   He almost sounds as though English is his second language - although he still speaks perfect English  it is with a slight foreign accent.   As a teacher of English as a second language myself for part of my career I found it fascinating just listening to him.

We got out the Atlas and he pinpointed exactly where he is teaching (the place is right on the Tropic of Cancer) - it is never cold so he had to buy himself a lovely thick fleecy lined anorak to come home.

He is very happy there - he seems to  love everything about it and has many Chinese friends.  When I was in China many years ago my first husband and I bought a Chinese poem, writte n on parchment and when we got home we had it framed and it is hanging on the wall in my sitting room.  My grandson was able  to point out many of the characters on it(I have had it translated by a Chinese friend I have here) and to explain the whole idea of their written and spoken language.  It is fascinating and one wonders just how children ever learn to write it - it is so complicated to the English mind - although we did learn the symbols for 'forest',  'person' and 'water' on my picture.

We also talked about visits he has made - to Shanghai (where his grandfather lived for three or four years before World War 2), to Beijing and also to small towns around where he works, where he says a foreign face causes people to look at him and point him out to their children, who often try to practise their English with him.

He found the journey extremely tiring - he didn't come via Bahrein (I had got it wrong) - he came via Dubai with a 5 hour stop over.   So the whole journey took twenty four hours.   When I went many years ago the stop over was in Qatar and was only 2 hours).

We had such an interesting evening and it was so lovely to see him again.   I went to bed on cloud nine and slept like a baby.

 

26 comments:

JayCee said...

What an amazing life he has. You sound, quite rightly, very proud of him.

Amy said...

What a beautiful visit! And a wonderful story.

Librarian said...

I am glad I was right in assuming that you'd be sleeping much better after a sleepless night and the exciting visit!
I am also glad that you and your grandson had the chance to see each other. It is good to know that he loves everything about his life in China - it would be awful to think of him, homesick and unhappy, wouldn't it! But I imagine he does miss his parents, and his grandmother, from time to time. I know I would, but then again I have never lived further away than a half-hour walk from my parents and my (maternal) grandparents, and because I have never felt the need to live elsewhere, I still live in the town where I was born and can hardly imagine what it must be like to up sticks and go to live in a country where people point you out to their children because you don't look like them (it would make me feel VERY uneasy, and I would never point out anyone to a child because they look different).

Melinda from Ontario said...

What a lovely visit you had. It was comforting to hear how much you enjoyed hearing your grandson's stories of living and working in China. I must keep that in mind because I'm a little worried about my own son's oversea travel adventures which begin in 6 days. Part of me knows he'll return with greater confidence, new knowledge and perspective about the world, and a load of wonderful memories. The other part of me just worries.

Granny Sue said...

What a life he has made for himself? Fascinating. I sometimes marvel at how the English, who are often thought of as such homebody, are actually scattered all over the world. Even my own family: my mother came to America at 17. Her sister to Canada, and her nephew to Australia for a while. His daughter still lives there. Then there is a cousin in Spain, and I think one in Finland, and one who lived in the Philippines for a while. We Americans get around too, but that seems to be more expected if us! But then, the British colonized so many parts of the world, didn't they, so they have always been a traveling people.
Interesting about your grandson's accent. My mother never lost her Cambridgeshire accent, even after 60 years, but those from her home I imagine would have detected a change.

Ellen D. said...

When my middle son married his Chinese wife, we had a wonderful time in China for their wedding. We visited Nanjing (her home), Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian (where we saw the terra cotta warriors). It was all amazing and often people would want to pose with our group of American visitors.
Now this couple lives here in the US with their 2 children. My 7 year old grandson speaks Chinese and often translates between his Chinese grandma and me.

Barbara Anne said...

Pat, I am so happy you had a visit from your grandson as it had been long enough since the last visit! Isn't it good to be assured he's happy to live in China, in teaching, and with his life? I imagine the hugs when you saw him and before he left will warm your heart as you remember his visit.

Hugs!

John Going Gently said...

Nice one pat

Rachel Phillips said...

I am pleased that your grandson's China experience as a foreigner is a good one.

Pixie said...

How wonderful to see your grandson after five years!

VC said...

What a happy time. Grandchildren are a blessing aren't they? It's been a long lock down for China!

Anonymous said...

Lovely visit, I can feel your happiness from here!

Ceci

Jennyff said...

What a good day you had, almost worth the five year wait.

Country Cottage said...

How wonderful a visit you had.

Anonymous said...

Heartwarming story Pat. - Pam.

Heather said...

What a wonderful treat that must have been for you. Five years is a long time not to see one's grandson. You must have enjoyed exchanging experiences with him about your own visit to China.

Anne Brew said...

Pat I read somewhere that although chinese characters are complex they can be read and understood in the many different regions rather as numerals can be read and understood in England or France or Germany.
I hope that makes sense!

Tom Stephenson said...

Lovely. I remember being told that the ancient symbol 'to arrive' in early Chinese depicted an arrow stuck in the ground - an old method of choosing a campsite was to shoot an arrow in the air.

Susan said...

It sounds like you had a great day with your grandson. He must have many stories about his life and work in China. You state he lost his British accent. I suspect if he stayed in Britain for any length of time his accent would come back. I noticed this when my British husband spends time in England. Also, in the US, people usually guess he is from England, Scotland or Australia.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

One of my cricket club-mates has spent a lot of time coaching football in China - C19 put a stop to that alas

Hilde said...

How nice to see your grandson again after five years! And it is so good to hear that he loves to live and work in China. Did he always want to go to China and therefore learnt the language or was it the other way round - the language just because it was interesting and then the decision to go to China ?
Hilde in Germany

Cro Magnon said...

Sadly it is those very long hours in the sky that has stopped me visiting a few places that I would loved to have seen.

potty said...

Years ago we had our fornames and surname written out by a Chinese chap in York. The characters we had framed and I have often wondered if another Chinese reader would be able to say them !

Gerry Snape said...

that is so lovely Pat...when my grandgirls come is also for me a wonderful time...xx

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hilde - Dan fancied going to China and had a diploma in teaching English as a second language (his various degrees are in maths!)
Love your story about the arrow Tom - I shall ask him.

Thank you all so much for your cheery responses - it all adds to my happiness about the day.

Brenda said...

What fun. Love my grands