“When I moved to Flower Town in September 2007, I ended up in Unit 4 of the 10,000 Fortunes neighbourhood of Hetang Yuese village. The village ringed a large pond that attracted couples and photographers in the summer and lotus root hunters in the winter. The houses overlooking the pond all had a fresh coat of paint. The further you moved away from the pond, the more mundane the homes were. At some point they reverted back to standard country fare – raw concrete walls, a patchwork aluminium roof held down by bricks, and vegetable plots manning the perimeter.”– “Flower Town,” The Anthill, March 30, 2014
Of all the stories in this archive, this is the one that is most tender in my heart. I lived this story, this story is about me and the people I was with, what we experienced – it’s of course first person, but it’s also very personal. I met the mother of my children during the time when this story took place; i connected with the people and place I had been living in for more than eight years most profoundly here, in Flower Town, in 2008 when China experienced a year to remember.
So much happened in China in 2008. It began with a freak blizzard, the Tibetans rose up, the Wenchuan Earthquake tore up northern Sichuan, and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was China’s coming out party. I ended that year in Portland, watching President Barack Obama get elected. It was a helluva ride for me … and this story tells a big part of it.
Click here to read the full story, “Flower Town.”