A Chinese Birthday
#growingupchinese Chinese American Dream Part 1
The Chinese American Dream is a series of stories that have been shared with me for public distribution. We share the story of a young man growing up in rural China, and his journey to the United States. The stories are told as if he were speaking to you as the events take place. These are all true stories to the best of my knowledge, only the names have been changed to protect the subject’s privacy.
My name is Han, and I live in the small village of Dai Liung in the Guangdong Province of China.
At this point, my life is still very simple. The stresses and pressures of your modern adult world have not yet found me. They may eventually find me, but for now; I’m just a kid living in rural China.
Today is my birthday, I turned ten years-old, Happy birthday to me. Even though it is my birthday, the day hasn’t been very special, it is just another day in the life of a young villager. A Chinese Birthday in a village.
I just finished my second trip between home and school. The morning walk to school was about 1.5 miles. Around noontime, we came home for lunch, and then we walked back to the school again. At the end of the day we took our final long walk home.
Once we arrived at home, we helped our parents take care of the livestock, we did our homework, and we tended to our other charges.
I am very busy all of the time, but my life is still quite simple.
It’s just about time to feed our family pig, Missy. As I look at my beloved Missy, I slowly realize that she has now been under my vigilant care for about twenty months. Just four more months and it will be time for her to go under the butcher’s knife.
One of my duties is caring for our family pigs. I take care of Missy, and I have raised a few others like her for about two years, and then it’s time to go to the butcher.
Missy’s time with me is almost up, and I’m about to move on to raise the next family pig. Missy is like one of my pets, except that I know that we will be selling her to the butcher for slaughtering after two years are up. With some of the money that we will make from selling Missy, our family will be able to have a great feast!
Ironically, we will eat “char siu,” or as you call it in America, pork ribs! I care for Missy, and this makes me sad, but this is my way of life here.
Next, it’s time to herd and feed those pesky geese! Have you ever tried to work with geese? They are aggressive little buggers! Quite mean, and they try to hurt you!
Loudly, as I feed the mean geese, my mother shouts out from somewhere inside the little house, “Don’t forget to feed the rabbits!”
Happy birthday to me. It’s just another day in the life of a young villager way back when it was oh so simple.