China in My Eyes
2020/03/03
 

"How does China develop so rapidly?" "What kind of life do the Chinese live?" For Mauritian friends who have never been to China, those are their questions out of curiosity. However, for friends from Mauritius who have been to China, they are eager to share their stories.

In order to enable the Mauritian people to know the real China, the Chinese Embassy in Mauritius recently has held an Essay Competition on the theme of "China in My Eyes". Friends from Mauritius who have ever studied, worked and lived in China participated actively and submitted more than 130 articles. Participants of the contest write stories about China in rich content with sincere and touching emotions. From today on, the Chinese Embassy will publish excellent articles from the essay contest, enabling us to follow the author's perspective and take a look at China in their eyes.

Mr. Tej Chandra Gooriah studied and lived in China from 2009 to 2015. During his six years in China, he not only mastered a wealth of medical knowledge, but also learned to speak fluent Chinese, falling in love with delicious Chinese dishes and fascinated by the charming Chinese culture. Let us share his unforgettable experience in China ...

 

The "Love Story" Between Me and China

Tej Chandra Gooriah

 

The People's Republic of China truly represents another world in itself. This unbelievable nation has amazed us all from the start of the human civilization. Honestly speaking, this land of wonders was a total mystery to me up and until I decided to pursue my tertiary studies at the prestigious Zhejiang University, School of Medicine in 2009. From there, my love story with China began.

The actual click happened in year 2008 when China widened the window to the world and startled us all with the hosting of the Olympic games in Beijing. From there, germinated the deepened curiosity towards this great nation. In 2009, the former President, His Excellency Hu Jintao, visited our beautiful island of Mauritius as part of his five-nations trip in the African region and consolidated our countries' friendship. His mighty presence and vision further boosted my choice to study in China and discover the place.

                                                                                                                                

In September of 2009, I arrived in Hangzhou. The initial months were difficult but with the help of my seniors, I got in sync with the lifestyle. The biggest initial barrier was Language, the famous ''putong hua''. The process was lengthy and together with my medical courses, I attended regular and compulsory afternoon mandarin classes. And gradually, the fluency set in thanks to the daily interactions with the people I came across on the campus, in restaurants or while running errands at the market. I was really into learning more to enrich my vocabulary. It was always a proud moment when I was able to convey and converse with my Chinese friends using my fragile "Zhong Wen". With the language barrier crossed, it meant easier socialization and numerous new friends who helped me adapt to the new culture including the local cuisine. My girlfriend Melisa and I are ardent fan of the local food and street-side delicacies. Among our favourites were the ''DongBei Cai'' which stands for cuisine from North-eastern part of China. We are always up for a ''Di san xian'' which consists of fried potato, green pepper and eggplant or the "Suan La Tudou Ci" – Stir fried shredded Potato in vinegar. The famous barbecue, known as Shao Kao, was the saviour for our late-night cravings following saturated hours of studies. The famous "Yang Rou Chuan" or Lamb Kebabs was a must among other yummy local staples. Those late outings meant little time for breakfast in the morning before the lecture. That's when the Mantou, Bao or Bai Mian would satisfy our starving stomachs. To gobble all these, we had to master the use of the "Kuai Zi" - chopsticks, rather quickly, to appease our taste buds. Life outside the campus was a different story. My campus was located on the outskirts of Xihu district and it was always a long bus journey to the city centre. In 2010, I bought myself an electric bike and I could discover the nooks and corners of the City.    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

China was much more than just life in Hangzhou. With my improved spoken mandarin, it was time I discover the land with its rich cultural and historical heritage. Being a medical student, time was money and holidays were limited but I have still managed to visit quite a few cities. In 2011, I travelled to Nanjing City, the capital of several Chinese dynasties in the ancient times. Over there, the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum on the Purple mountain, the mighty 500 years old Nanjing City wall and the Fuzimiao area with symbolical landmark of the Confucian Temple caught my eye. But Nanjing is also a large metropolis with its heavy industries, easy transportation and skyscrapers. Time in Nanjing was fantastic and thought that I have seen it all until I visited Shanghai in 2013.

                                                                                                                               

Shanghai is only 200 km away from Hangzhou. I feel Shanghai is China's real window to the western world because it gives the London or New York City feel. My friends and I visited Nanjing Road, the busiest pedestrian streets on the plane that accommodate stores of world-renowned brands and the biggest restaurants from around the globe. At the end of Nanjing Road is The Bund from where we watched the breath-taking skyscrapers in the Pudong New Area lighting up and marvelling us with an unforgettable show of lights. The Pudong area is a totally different city all together with the majestic Pearl Tower, Shanghai Tower and Shanghai World Financial tower. Shanghai is, no doubt, a mesmerizing city but my most cherished experience remains my visit to Beijing in 2015.

My family had flown to China to attend my graduation ceremony. Couple of weeks before the event, we all travelled to Beijing. Our tour guide welcomed us with a sumptuous lunch and then we walked through Tian An Men to reach the gates of the Forbidden City with Mao Zedong elegant portrait hovering our heads. The place is massive and represents the epitome of Chinese architecture. From the huge copper vats to the grand palatial buildings, every single structure served its purpose when the City was occupied by the different emperors from the Ming to the Qing dynasties. The next day, we travelled up north to Badaling gate, the best restored part of The Great wall of China. We reached to the top of the wall by gondola lift. It was a magical moment for all of us and inevitably our Mauritian flag floated up there. On our way back to the hotel, we passed by the majestic Bird's Nest stadium. That evening, we attended the Beijing Acrobatics Show at Chaoyang theatre. The energetic show surely captivated our minds and then followed by a wholesome dinner during which we tasted the Beijing Duck. We also visited the Summer palace, the Temple of Heaven, enjoyed a traditional tea ceremony and appreciated a good exposé on Chinese traditional medicine. I was quite sad upon leaving Beijing but home was always Hangzhou.

 

Hangzhou's striking aspects are the greeneries, its breathable air and cleanliness. The West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011, is the main attraction site of the city. It is such a peaceful nature spot blended with century-old trees, temples and museum. A boat ride through the lake takes you to the east side of the lake where one accesses the road to Longjing village for the world-famous green tea by the same name. In the middle of all the greeneries, there is also the sound of harmony between the individuals. Above everything else, China is about the people. The most kind of human beings, down-to-earth, cultured, respectful, honourable and happy men, women and children. In China, the elders are worshiped as close to God. They are given their due value in the society and respected selflessly. Young children are left under the guard of their grandparents and the kids are imbibed with the same values taught to their parents. We ought to stand and salute the discipline and laborious attitude of our Chinese brothers and sisters. They toil the land and make China more prosperous. Their attitude to always give and not expecting anything in return reflects the golden heart they have. Sadly, my time in China ended in April 2015 and I travelled back home bagging all these beautiful memories in my heart and my mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

My time in China and with the people has had the most significant impact on my life, professionally and emotionally. I only pray to God to bless and keep the People's Republic of China safe.

 

 

 

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