Into the home of a Chinese Villager (走进乡村居民的家)

As promised, I’m here to share about my visit to a local village house in Wuyuan. Like Alice stepping into a Wonderland, I was amused, by every corner and every turn.

This is a world different from the urban life I’m familiar with, and I was appreciative of my hospitable driver, Mr Chen, who offered me the interesting experience of visiting his father’s (let’s call him Grandpa Chen) place!

就像爱丽丝走入了一个奇妙的国度一样,我走进了一户朴实的婺源汪口村居民的家。很感谢好客又有亲和力的当地司机陈师傅带我见识了这个与我所熟悉的都市生活有着天壤之别小村庄。

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A typical gate to a local unit.

Note the red tab with 4 stars? This is a credit rating given to each household by the county government! Ranging from 1 – 4 stars, with 4 being the highest. I’m not too sure if I’d be comfortable with disclosing my family’s credit rating to anyone outside the walls… Oh well, but this is a country where personal privacy and rights are not duely respected (I’ve had more than enough first-hand experience dealing with annoyances myself).

每户家庭的大门口都有个县政府颁发的“文明信用农户”等级告示牌,以四星为最高等级来评价各户家庭的信用等级。试问,个人隐私在哪里啊?(说到个人隐私,无视个人隐私与人权的案例我近期倒是有很多亲身的荒谬经历。对于奇葩的变态与精神扭曲的社会败类最好的处置方式就是置之不理,不值得浪费丝毫的时间与精力。)

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Above is a photo of a living room taken in a “sample house” available for public viewing.

Below is the living room of Mr Chen’s father. Completely different, I know.

However, you can see the resemblance in their preservation of the Hui architecture style – squarish living room with a squarish table against the front wall that would typically be decorated with calligraphic or artistic pieces.

上面的图片是一间供公众参观的典型的徽派建筑的客厅。以砖、木、石为建筑材料的四方住宅的中心是会客厅,面向大门的正前方是一张四方的木桌,供一家人吃饭喝茶聊天所用。

下图呢,是陈爷爷的家。是的,跟“典型房”有很大的区别。少了那副充满威严正气的整洁与禅味,多了许多份随性不羁的凌乱。

A disorganised chaos, one might call this… Yet, there’s an element of homeliness and humanity in there. Grandpa Chen took pride in walking his foreign visitor around the house, recollecting his household possessions by their decades and even centuries of age.

“They are memories of the old generations,” he told me.

在这份凌乱中,陈爷爷却满是自豪地带我这个外客参观房子的各个角落,细数一件件家具与一块块砖瓦的悠远历史。

他说:“这是老一辈们的记忆啊。”

I was also shown to a guest room where a 300 year-old wooden bed frame was kept.

“If you laid a layer of mattress and blanket, it’s as functional as new,” said Grandpa Chen

这是张已有300年历史的古床。陈爷爷说,铺层垫子盖层被子还可以当新床用!

As friendly as its owners, this little puppy was not at all hostile or shy upon sighting an unfamiliar face. It would close its eyes in enjoyment if you stroke it on the head, unassumingly. I found my heart melted instantly for this cutie.

陈爷爷家的小狗也跟主人一样好客。这温顺讨人欢喜的小家伙还会眯起眼睛跟你撒娇,最喜欢有人摸它的小脑袋。萌到破表。

Mr Chen and Grandpa Chen on the left :)

The dim lighting and cluttered interior were sworn foes to the picturesque landscape outside. However, the vintage disarrangement was cheerful to look at, and humbling in a thousand ways. You could easily find contentment in the villagers’ eyes as they sit by the well-shaded alleys and people-watch with a lit up pipe, or stroke a docile puppy, or pick up a sleepy child and huddle off to an afternoon siesta. They aren’t rich, materially. But they are rich people whose wealth comes from a genuine contentment from living a righteous, laborious and dignified life.

My Chen has moved out and started his own family in the main county. But he wished to return to his old village after retirement because “that’s where I belong. The peaceful and quiet life is what I enjoy the most,” he said. “Tourism provided us with better jobs, and even ‘free money’, as tour agencies have to pay the villages lump sums of money every year in exchange for permission to conduct tourism activities. It’s good money… but I hope they don’t change our old lives too much. I hope.”

虽然杂乱,虽然物质生活不富裕,仍抵挡不住陈师傅与陈爷爷如阳光般的开朗心态。他们是富裕的一家,最大的财富来自于劳动的双手,来自于生活中满满的正能量,来自于善良待人的那颗温暖的心。不论是坐在胡同间纳凉吸烟的大爷,还是逗狗的孩童,还是哄着婴孩午睡的母亲,他们清澈的眼睛里闪烁的是平静的满足感。这里的村民的生活,很懈意。

陈师傅虽然早已搬出汪口村,到县里成家立业,但他还是向往朴实的乡村的生活。他说,“我老了之后还是想回老家养老,这里才是家。自从这附近的村子被开发之后,很多村民都做起了跟旅游相关的工作。旅行社也得每年给村子发钱,作为开发旅游业的成本(如果我没记错的话,每户人家每年大约收到2000元补贴)。但是我还是希望这里不要有太大的改变…我是这么希望的。”


The Rest of My Wuyuan Story(另见婺源):

  1. C for Canola(婺源。初春的一抹油菜花)
  2. The Most Beautiful Village in China(婺源,中国最美乡村)


Find me on Instagram.

我的Instagram在这里。


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