Flower Town

A story about a small village on the outskirts of Chengdu that faces down developers, earthquakes, and me.

“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.”

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Sascha Matuszak

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