As a person who had lived in the North for more than 20 years, I felt very uncomfortable the first time when I come to the South. I was not accustomed to the local foods and, of course, made a lot of jokes. At that time, my father was checking out of the office in Shaanxi and he couldn’t come back until December.
In 1992, the main city of Tonglu was in Jiangbei. So I lived in my uncle’s home in Jiangbei while the oasis garment factory I worked for was in Jiangnan. And the only way from Jiangbei to Jiangnan was to take the boat. Every day I have to walk from the house to the ferry, then take a boat from the Jiangbei to the Jiangnan, after that I walked again to the factory. At that time there only had human tricycle in Jiangbei while Jiangnan had nothing at all.
Thanks to my uncle, who took pity on me and spent more than 300 yuan to buy a beautiful pink-purple Angel bicycle for me, I can ride this beautiful bicycle to work in rain or shine. At that time, he was a farmer in Shangyangzhou and was not well-off. But he never told anyone else as if he should do it for me. Toughed and grateful, I always keep this in mind.
Because of talking Mandarin, I was regarded as a heterogeneous person. Fearful and nervous, I always encountered small gangsters whistling and throwing small stones on the road I passed.
At the end of the factory worker registration, ZAJ and I sent notifications to whom we picked from the applicants based on the appearance and the academic qualifications of them. In the end, of course, we chose a lot of handsome guys. I have to admit that I am appearance oriented, but the facts have proved that we were still very visionary. Many of these admitted employees have achieved great success. A few years later, I still felt a sense of familiarity when I met with anyone of them as if we were long-lost relatives.
After the notifications were issued, we took the employees to the hospital in Jiangbei for medical examination on the appointed day. The matter that I took the medical report with ZAJ that day will never be forgotten, and it made me create a worse impression of Tonglu.
That day ZAJ and I took a thick stack of the medical reports from the hospital and divided the reports into two parts in our bicycle baskets. On our way home, suddenly, a car rushed out of the corner. I was too panicked to keep both hands on the bike’s handgrip, finally tumbled down by sudden braking. The reports were scattered all over the place. While picking up the scattered reports, I was shocked to find a man, whom I swear I never touched before, getting close to me and asking for compensation.
ZAJ came over and argued with him that I didn’t hit him while he insisted that it was my impact that torn his pants. Then the man’s voice grew louder and, suddenly, a group of people surrounded him. They all kept talking to us but I couldn’t understand at all. I just told them seriously that I hadn’t hit him.
Fortunately, a traffic policeman came to ask for information, and I described it again, and the man who blackmailed me stole my bicycle. The police asked him to return the bike to me and took us to the sidewalk. ZAJ quietly came to my ear and said that this man was from Nanxiang, where the villagers were very united, and the people surrounded us before were all came from Nanxiang.
Seeing more and more people, I seem to see the pictures in the film: in front of me, countless mouths are chattering at me. I don’t think the police can solve it. So, I asked the blackmailer how to compensate, then he asked for 50 yuan in half-native Mandarin. Of course, I said no and he asked for a compromise — 10 yuan. I quickly took out 10 yuan from the bag, and the blackmailer quickly took it with a smile then turned away. all the people around instantly dispersed, I stood in the same place with a contemptuous look.
Back to my uncle’s house, I locked myself in the room, silently crying. At that time, I felt very helpless and the only thought in my mind was “I want to leave this place”.
I didn’t tell my uncle those terrible things, because I was old enough to be an independent girl and living in their house, in my mind, was already big trouble for them. Besides, though very naughty, my 14-year-old brother, Gang, let me live in his newly decorated room and he lived with his grandmother. I feel very warm and touched inside, and How can I make my uncle and aunt worry again?
At that time, little Gang was cute. thin and small, though his eyes were not big, he was very handsome. He would like to talk to me with care and concern every time I was at home. At that time, I felt that this little cousin who had no connection before was like my brother. I would never forget that one day on my way to work by bike, he waited for me by the side of the road I passed and bought me a hairpin in the department store.
All the warmth at that time came from my father’s relatives in Tonglu. My father’s second brother, my second uncle, was also a farmer in Shangyangzhou and loved me very much. Because of his old age and hard work in farming, he looks much old, thin and black. Once he feared that I could not keep up with a nutrition, and specially made an old duck pot for me.