The other day I had an idea to interview some people that I interact with regularly here in China. The first person I interviewed was my tutor, since I needed her help in translating my questions. She has also started sharing some interesting stories about her family with me.
*note, I don’t seem to have access to appropriate accent markings for Mandarin on WordPress, so I apologize to Summer for leaving them out.
What is your name?
Li Yan Hui which means “Colorful morning sunshine”.
Li, my last name, means “plum”. The meaning of my last name comes from the plum tree. Many generations ago, someone in my family worked for the government. He did something wrong and was banished to the country. It was harsh country, but the family was able to survive by eating plums that grew freely. My family changed our name to “Li”.
(Yan Hui uses the English name “Summer” for her students.)
How old are you?
Where were you born?
In a town called Zhang Jia Jie, in the Hunan province in southern China
Who are your family members?
Father, mother, myself, and my meimei (younger sister) who is 27.
What can you tell me about your education?
Most people in China have six years of elementary school, three years of Junior High, three years of High School, and four years of college. I went to a “crap” college, only three years, and got a Bachelor’s degree in basic finance. Then I had an internship at a bank. I regret not working harder in high school, because I couldn’t get into a better college. I went to a community college. My instructor couldn’t solve a hard equation I asked him to help me with.
Did you get educated in Beijing?
No, in my hometown.
How did you get into Beijing? Are your parents here?
No, my parents are in my hometown. I came here because of my sister. My father paid a lot of money for my sister to go to a top art school in Beijing. She worked for top fashion designers here, and then she quit to try to make her own business. Its complicated though, and now she is not working.
What is the best place to go to in China?
The national forest park in my hometown of Zhang Jia Jie. The movie Avatar was based off this place. It was very crowded in the summer, and I waited in line for two hours.
What is your favorite restaurant in Bejing?
I can’t remember the name of it, it is in the Village, on the 2nd floor. It serves food from Hunan Province, but less greasy.
What is the best place to go to in Beijing?
I like quiet places to think. The Confucius Temple is my favorite place. It is not crowded and it is only costs 30 RMB ($5) to get in.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to watch movies, listen to music, read, and hike. My favorite movies are Lost in Translation, and Life of Pi.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would go to Machu Picchu.
Where would you like to visit in the United States?
I would rent a car for a road trip across the U.S. I really want to see the Grand Canyon.
What do you like to eat for dinner?
Hunan, Korean, Japanese, and Mexican food. I like them all because they are spicy.
What is the best thing about China?
Everything! It is my mother country.
What is the worst thing about Beijing?
The air, and the houses are too expensive for us.
What is the best thing about Beijing?
It is an international big city, and multicultural. It is “open” compared to the rest of China. It has the best universities and libraries.