In the sixth story a Chinese girl, Jia, comes to New Zealand as a student. She works hard, helps a local company do business in China, finds her true love and a fulfilling life. This short story sets out the adventures and challenges of one girl, who finds “joy and peace” through her own will.
Michael closed his briefcase filled with copies of handouts and a text book. As a part time tutor he had just finished teaching the Organisation & Management class and was completing the administration details. Extra time was required after this first session, but now he was ready to leave.
Closing the door to the staff room, he stepped into the large Reception area on the second floor and as he turned he bumped into a young (female) woman sweeping the floor.
“Sorry!” Michael said moving away.
“That’s OK,” was the reply.
Michael looked closer and to his surprise he saw a young Chinese girl dressed in a cleaning uniform. “Aren’t you from my class?” he asked.
“I’m Jia from your O & M class.” She replied still sweeping.
“Well you are very busy! Are you employed to clean here?” Michael asked.
“Yes this is one of two part time jobs I do!”
“Two jobs?” Michael was surprised.”Why so many?”
She stopped working and looked him directly “My parents have restricted my living allowance so if I want food …. I have to work!”
“Well I never thought I would ever travel to China with you Jia.” Michael commented looking out of the car window. “It seems a long time ago when I was your teacher back in Auckland.”
“This is good experience for us both!” Jia responded smiling as she had done so since collecting him from the airport at Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. “We should arrive in Wenchuan County soon and meet Brian.”
“Yep! Sending him over early to organise the flower growers was an excellent move.” Michael commented, knowing that his business partner who was the Technical Director, needed to be at the site earlier. Now they were travelling to the eastern foothills of the Kunlun mountain range, some four hours drive inland from Chengdu. “These hills are very steep and high. I wonder if they get snow on the tops in winter?”
Jia responded to his question and spoke quickly in Mandarin to the driver who snapped back his reply as he skillfully drove the SUV around a stalled truck on the narrow winding road.
“Yes, snow is seen on the tops in the winter.” Jia replied.
Michael thought to himself ‘Therefore the only land to use is the river flats!’ Then aloud he drawled, “We would never consider planting in an area like this in New Zealand!”
Jia nodded in agreement.
Michael was pleased with the day and the help he had had from Jiaas he expressed his thoughts. “I hope the new ideas will help the villagers! In my eyes,these rural communities have a limited consciousness … “he stalled for a moment searching for a simpler word, “understanding – because they have followed their cultural patterns over so many centuries.”
“You’re talking like a modern Westerner!” Jia shot back.
Looking out the car window Michael could see they had reached the new road – like a motorway with two lanes either way. Further in the distance he could see a lot of vehicles parked on the road side. Wondering what they were, he did not have long to wait as they came around a corner to start passing army trucks filled with troops!‘Were they on an exercise or getting ready to invade Tibet?’
“Good to see you back in NZ.” Michael said as he hugged Jia after she had got off the aircraft at Auckland Airport.
“Thanks for meeting me.” Jia replied as they started walking out of the terminal building. As they came into the daylight she covered her eyes crying.”Aah! It’s so bright here!”
“Bright?” Michael questioned looking at her intently.
“It’s so bright. I can hardly open my eyes!” Jia repeated opening her shoulder bag. “I’ll get my sunglasses.”
They stopped and as Jia searched in her bag, Michael murmured.“And congratulations to both of us as well!”
“Why do you say that?” Jia asked now able to look at him with her sunglasses on.
“Well we didn’t get caught up in the earthquake that was centred in Wenchuan County!” Michael smiled to himself knowing they had both been very lucky escaping from the devastation and suffering caused by the 8.8 earthquake in early May 2008.
“Yes we were lucky.” Jia replied thoughtfully as Michael loaded her suitcases into the boot of the car. “If we had been three weeks later – who knows what we might have experienced!”
Changing the subject Michael gently probed “Did your mother introduce you to any suitable guys when you were home in Wuxi?”
“Yes. Plenty. But… “ Jia paused as she buckled her seat belt then continued, “ … they’re all from the rural areas – ugly and dumb!”
“Ugly and dumb you say! Well, remember you get what you ask for, so it looks like you are back to Internet dating, again.” Michael smiled at her, fully aware of the level of intent Jia had to find the ‘right man’.
Download the rest of the story for free at Smashwords.