Sharing: Two Weeks in Quanzhou and Xiamen

My uncle Siu accompanied me to Shenzhen from Kowloon Tong MTR station on June 1, 2010. We waited at Mr. Hong’s place as my nephew Xu booked the bus ticket to him. Mr Hong and I went to another place by a rental car and then went with several people by van. He can’t speak English. Finally, we went by a sleeper bus around 8.00 p.m. instead of 6.30 p.m. There are double deck sleepers in three rows totally around 42 sleepers. It’s elevated on the head so the person behind us can put his/her feet under our head. We stopped around 11.00 p.m. and had a round table meal where everybody picked up the food with their chopsticks even though there were serving spoons and there was no provided drink. We arrived Xia Mei-Quanzhou 7.00 a.m. instead of 6.00 a.m.

Xia MeiMy cousin Kiok and Xu picked me up at the bus stop of a six lanes road and then we walked to their apartment at the 7th floor. I had soup of kidney with egg, porridge, vegetable pickled, etc. My cousins, cousin in-law and nieces from Da Xia Mei came.
I went with my cousin in-law by motorcyle to their store in the market except for the first day I walked with jie jie (=elder sister, mandarin) Kiok. I went around the market either alone or with her either by walking or by motorcycle. Sometimes they cooked and we had meal in their shore as there is a small kitchen in the back of the store.
Huan and I visited her friends who work at the Nan’an government’s office and had lunch at a Chinese and western restaurant. Jie jie Kiok, my nephew Yue and I walked to Kentucky Fried Chicken to have a light meal before I left for ge ge (=elder brother, mandarin) Fu’s house.

Da Xia Mei-Quanzhou
I visited my cousins' house on June 3. Jie jie De wanted to serve four boiled chicken eggs in sweet warm water but I asked her to give two eggs only. Later on, sao sao (=sister in law, mandarin) Xiu Feng served eight quail eggs and I should eat at least two eggs.
Ge ge Fu, sao sao Feng, jie jie Kiok, Xu and I went to the grave of the eldest sister of my father, who was left with her auntie when my grandmother decided to move to Indonesia with my two uncles to accompany my grandfather.
Huan accompanied me to go to Da Xia Mei on June 4 by bus on a six lanes road. The wife of ge ge Chu served four boiled chicken eggs in a sweet warm water but I asked to eat only one as we would have supper. I stayed in Qin’s house before and after going to Quanzhou.
Qin, Huan, their two friends and I climbed paved mountain near their house and then had a Chinese tea in the mountain.
Ge ge Fu and his daughter Hong picked me up at Xia Mei on June 8 to stay at their house. Hong accompanied me to walk around in the evening. Sao sao Feng served four boiled chicken eggs in sweet warm water before leaving their house and I ate two eggs. According to Hong, there should be four or eight eggs in the bowl.

Si Huang-Quanzhou
I went to the house of Huang (=yellow) with ge ge Chu, jie jie Kiok, Huan and Xu. My paternal grandparents used to live in that house with several families. Ge ge Bo, grandson of my paternal grandfather’s brother, gave an explanation about the house which was renovated in 2007. There were my grandfather’s name Yan Tjhong, with a square he passed away, as one of the residents and my uncle’s name Bing Soe as one of the donors in the wall plaque.
I followed their instruction to do an ancestors' veneration. We also visited the temple built by the Huangs.
We had lunch in a restaurant and then had a Chinese tea at ge ge Bo’s house. He gave the copy of our family tree several days later.

Chong Wu
Yue, his daughter, Qin, Huan and I went to Chong Wu Ancient City ( on our way to Quanzhou.

Huan and I went out for dinner and joined the exercise in the park for a while in the evening. We stayed in her apartment. She accompanied me to look for the pink church by taxi on June 6. The priest asked all of us to stand up at the front yard to welcome Bishop Joseph Cai Bingrui ( He gave his blessing after the Mass for everyone. I asked his blessing and congratulated him. I went home by showing the address in Chinese character from Huan to the taxi driver. We went back to Da Xia Mei by taxi around 20 minutes in a 6 lanes road.
Ge ge Fu, sao sao Feng, Hong and I visited Fujian Taiwan Kinship Museum, West Garden and Yun’s shop on June 9. We had dinner in a ferry restaurant, went to the train station as Hong would go to Fuzhou and dropped me at Xia Mei.

My niece Ling accompanied me to go to Xiamen on two hours bus from Xia Mei on June 10. We went to my uncle Ming’s house by taxi and then we walked up to his apartment in the 7th floor.
My uncle accompanied me to go out in the morning by bus and then I went home alone by bus. I went to the beach near the Xiamen University, Hulishan Fortress, Xiamen University, Nanputuo Temple, Amoy Botanical Garden, Zhongshan Lu.
I had dinner with my uncle, auntie, my cousin Wei’s family in a restaurant on the first day and attended a wedding party of a relative with 16 dishes on the second day. My youngest sister Ling Ling asked me to look for her favourite foods near Xiamen University.
I went to Gulangyu Island by ferry to attend an English mass ( and walked around the island as there is no public transport. There were Filipina and European women as lectors, an African man as the reader of intercession prayers, and two African men led the songs.
I left Xiamen on June 14 at 9.00 a.m. in a sit bus and arrived Shenzhen at 5.30 p.m. We stopped for 15 minutes for a round table lunch and another 15 minutes for relaxing. My uncle Siu picked me up at the bus station and then had dinner at Shenzhen. During the trip, I wished to have meal with chilli and he ordered three dishes with chili.

CommunicationMy major translators in Quanzhou were Xu, Hong and my grandniece Lan. Most of my other nephews and nieces learned English in the school but didn’t have chance to practice it. Sometimes we used dictionary in our cellphones or computer. I showed the Chinese characters from my cellphone including kidney and nun and they showed the English words from their cellphones. I usually recognized if the translation was not correct. English, Chinese (Mandarin) and Math were the subjects for the entrance examination to the university. We also used our hands to communicate.
My cousins and their spouses in Quanzhou speak Min Nan Language ( I could recall several Min Nan words as my parents spoke Min Nan language to my paternal grandmother. Sometimes nobody could translate so I listened attentively when somebody spoke slowly in Min Nan language and when they asked me whether I understand or not, I answered in mandarin wo bu dong (=I don’t understand) and both of us laughed. I found out there are similarity for several name of the foods in Indonesian e.g. lumpia, bihun and kuekeng.
I also could recall several Mandarin/putonghua words even though I still couldn’t distinguish between si yuan (=RMB 4.00) and shi yuan (=RMB 10.00) so the cashier showed me the RMB 10.00 bill. I used to say deng yi xia (=later) as they continuously offer food/fruit.
Once, I missed my bus stop in Xiamen. The driver didn’t know my bus stop Tai Hu Xin Chen Zhan as it’s not her route. I went back on the same bus and she gave me a small piece of paper with Chinese character while talking in Min Nan language. I assumed she knew my bus stop. Later on, I remembered that I didn’t get in that bus stop, I got in the other street. She and another passenger asked me to get off at the bus stop where I was in the morning. The passanger in the bus still gave me sign to walk forward while I walked in the pedestrian.
My uncle and auntie in Xiamen can speak Indonesia as they were born in Indonesia. I spoke in English with Wei and her husband.

I learned to hold the bowl by placing my thumb in the top and the four fingers in the bottom of the bowl. Most of the times, I ate in a bowl with chopsticks except for the porridge.
I also learned the way to serve the Chinese tea in small cups by washing the cups with the hot water, throwing away the first tea, and serving the tea whenever the cups are empty.
QQ is a popular website ( while the facebook can’t be accessed as well as twitter.
I saw funeral processions where the family is walking while holding on a long white cloth in front of the coffin and behind “the performers” (the first six pictures in the picasaweb).
I couldn’t hold my tears when I said good bye to my family in Quanzhou as well as before the mass in Xiamen. Before the mass, I was reflecting the recent blessings in my life including this two weeks trip and the passage “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” came to my mind. It was part of the second reading from Gal 20: 2b.
Here are the links of the pictures of the nature in Quanzhou and in Xiamen
Thank you very much for all of your warm welcome, hospitality, gifts, and red envelopes during my stay in Quanzhou and Xiamen. May God continue to bless you.

Kowloon Tong-Hong Kong, June 19, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible
1. There are four tones in putonghua (mandarin with simplified chinese characters, which is commonly used in mainland China). Taiwan and Singapore are using mandarin with tradisional chinese characters. Difference in tone can signal a difference in meaning.
2. Some of consonants in the romanization of mandarin (pinyin system) will not pronounce as in English, e.g. x sounds like shee in show, she, shine, b sounds like p, d sounds like t.