Chinese SAGAS – My life in China – private teacher in Min Hou
After finishing my job in Hwa Nan I began to tutor a young boy, He was just 6 years old and came to my house every morning. I think I was more as a baby sitter than a teacher but the family wanted him to know the customs of foreigners. They wanted me to have him tidy up, to clean and so on, the usual housekeeping. This was not easy and he was just a tiny boy.
They paid me well and I needed the money.
When I began my job in Quanzhou I thought the little boy would not come anymore. I was not in Min Hou every day, but could be there during the weekends. The family wanted me to teach him during weekends and I agreed. I would come back on Friday evenings and go again on Sunday evenings. It would be fine to come home. Someone needed to take care of the house.
The mother, who is in fact not the mother, her brother is the father, took me to their hometown during the spring festival. She wanted to introduce me to the Chinese tradition and show me the house they are building.
I have never seen anything like it. Several thousand square meters on 5 floors, with a huge garden and a handmade flower fountain made from jade. It took the workers half a year to cut it out. Another fountain with a different statue beside it. Tea table made of jade is in the garden and at the top floor, which is going to be a playground; there were 2 peacocks in a cage up there, in the shadow.
In the basement there is going to be a wine cellar.
On the ground floor living room and kitchen.
On the first flor would be the parents’ bedroom, a huge space.
On the second floor they would put the guestrooms and on the third floor also guestrooms.
On the 4th floor the playground and there would also be some animals in the area. I did not quite understand if it was inside the house or in the garden.
The couple have 6 children and some grandchildren.
The gate was closed when we arrived and someone, a relative, I think, came and opened for us. He also took us on the tour around the house. Everything was just concrete and dust, No decoration yet.
This family has a stone factory and they export statues, tiles and all kinds of stones to Europe, Asia and Amerika.
The mother of my student often goes abroad on business and for leisure. She is 27 years old and is going to stop working after 2 years. Her dream is to come to sales in Paris. Her father is 62 and the mother a bit younger. I have also seen the grandmother and one sister. In fact I was teaching one in the university but have not got a clue who she was. You don´t see it on the surface which student is from the extremely rich and who is not.
When the little boy came to my home he always came by a company car. He came in black cars with private chauffeurs. Black cars are the rich people’s signature!
The city where they are from is somewhere close to the airport, I don´t remember the name but it is famous for textile production. When we walked around I saw some beautiful houses, huge ones, but most of the houses were rather shabby. I wondered why the extremely rich and the poor ones lived together in this area.
My face fell to the ground when I realised that those who lived in the shabby houses were the rich ones too. They just live like the poor ones and collect their money. They don´t want to leave their friends and their city and prefer the simple life, was explained to me. It is difficult to comprehend. The public gardens are huge, grand temples and then the tiny houses almost falling apart.
I did wonder if some of my neighbours in Min Hou were in fact the rich ones, even though they lived like the poor oens.
Everyone in the village was curious. Not many foreigners visiting and now my friend was becoming famous in the area. She was not very pleased and said it was enough to have a father who was famous. No matter if people are rich or poor, they are shy. Shyness is cultural in China, especially among the girls. Although I thought that the ones who had travelled abroad would have more confidence, but this day in the village I discovered how unsecure they are. It is important to keep face and a foreigner who takes a lot of pictures is not good, if you want to lay low.
I saw some little kids and they liked being photographed in the park. We were even invited to someone’s house but did not go in. It was not proper for my friend and she was already becoming too famous and did not want to add a visit to the fame!
I enjoyed the day with my friend and my little student. On our way home we stopped and got something to eat. The Chinese are always hungry. We got some traditional cakes with vegetables, very good, but perhaps not that healthy. I ate one, while my friend had 3, but I liked it a lot. There are small trailers all around where the people sell their hot food, the street food. Some foreigners’ don´t like them and say the food is not clean. I don´t agree. I love this food, it is hoot and different from the restaurants. After walking or spending a time outside it is nice to stop by these trailers and have a chat and something different to chew on.
Tutoring the little boy during my stay in Quanzhou did not happen. The family never contacted me again about that. I called and they told me he had decided he wanted to do something else and a 6 year old who is supposed to have everything in his live had of course the final say in the matter.
Learning English was not at the top of his list.