故事15 | Paige: Neighborly

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我在中国的家 2022
故事15 | Paige: Neighborly

作者:Paige

翻译:潘泽彬

校对:Luz、Zuzana、Joanne

It was a hot, summer day in 2015, and I’d hardly been in China for more than a couple of months. I was walking up to my apartment building during a break between classes when a woman shouted at me from the stairway of my six-floor walkup. “美女!!!”  She waved at me excitedly. By now, the shouting and waving didn’t faze me; living in Nantong, Jiangsu, I heard the word “外国人” several times a day while out and about. But the woman kept waving at me, and started to approach me.

那是 2015 年一个炎炎夏日,当时我在中国已经待了几个月的时间。课间休息时,我走到公寓楼,一个女人在六楼的楼梯口向我喊道:“美女!!!”她兴奋地朝我挥手。现在,这些叫嚷和挥手并不会令我尴尬。我住在南通,每天出门都会听到好几次“外国人”这个词。但是那个女人一直向我挥手,开始接近我。

The woman said something to me and I stared blankly, shrugging my shoulders as politely as one can in these sorts of situations. She pulled up a translation app on her phone; “Are you an English teacher?” she was asking.  I nodded my head, and she motioned to add my WeChat.  After exchanging WeChat information, I said goodbye and headed up to my apartment, thinking little of the interaction. 

那个女人对我说了些什么,我茫然地看着她,在这种情况下我会礼貌性地耸耸肩。她打开一个翻译 APP:“你是英语老师吗?”她问道。我点了点头,她冲我比划着,想要加我的微信。互加微信后,我向她道别,然后回到公寓,并没有太在意这次互动。

at first in English, inviting me to her home for dinner, but soon the English became long sentences of Chinese characters that I had to translate before I could read them, and as soon as I translated one message, another line of text would come through:  Are you in China alone?  You’re so brave. Do you cook? You could come over for dinner sometime.  We just bought this house and are renovating it, when we move in you should come over.

我一通过微信好友请求,她就开始给我发问题。一开始她用英语邀请我去她家吃饭,但是很快就变成了冗长的中文,我必须依靠翻译才能看懂。还没等我翻译完,又一条信息就送达了:你一个人来中国吗?真勇敢。你会做饭吗?有空过来吃饭。这房子是亚搏手机在线登录入口刚买的,正在装修,等亚搏手机在线登录入口搬进去,欢迎来家里坐坐。

It wasn’t long before they moved in. I came to learn more about her and her husband, about their young daughter that lived with her parents in the countryside, and their son in the first grade.  They started to invite me over for meals. She was outgoing, warm, and friendly, and I started to realize that she was taking me under her wing. 

没过多久,他们就搬了进来。我对他们夫妇有了更多的了解:他们有个女儿,和外公外婆一起住在乡下,还有一个儿子,在读一年级。他们邀请我去家里吃饭。她性格外向、热情友好,对我关爱有加。

But almost immediately after accepting the friend request on WeChat she started to send me questions; at first in English, inviting me to her home for dinner, but soon the English became long sentences of Chinese characters that I had to translate before I could read them, and as soon as I translated one message, another line of text would come through:  Are you in China alone?  You’re so brave. Do you cook? You could come over for dinner sometime.  We just bought this house and are renovating it, when we move in you should come over.

我一通过微信好友请求,她就开始给我发问题。一开始她用英语邀请我去她家吃饭,但是很快就变成了冗长的中文,我必须依靠翻译才能看懂。还没等我翻译完,又一条信息就送达了:你一个人来中国吗?真勇敢。你会做饭吗?有空过来吃饭。这房子是亚搏手机在线登录入口刚买的,正在装修,等亚搏手机在线登录入口搬进去,欢迎来家里坐坐。

It wasn’t long before they moved in. I came to learn more about her and her husband, about their young daughter that lived with her parents in the countryside, and their son in the first grade.  They started to invite me over for meals. She was outgoing, warm, and friendly, and I started to realize that she was taking me under her wing. 

没过多久,他们就搬了进来。我对他们夫妇有了更多的了解:他们有个女儿,和外公外婆一起住在乡下,还有一个儿子,在读一年级。他们邀请我去家里吃饭。她性格外向、热情友好,对我关爱有加。

One day just weeks after we met, I started to feel unwell while teaching a class at the training center I worked at. When I got home, I vomited; I developed a fever and became really sick. I couldn’t make it five minutes without running to the bathroom. I was away from home, still very new to China, and was at a loss as to how to take care of myself.  Everything was in a language I couldn’t understand and unrecognizable:  The medicine was foreign, the hospital system was foreign, the foods were foreign.  Having planned to stop by my neighbor’s that day, I sent her a message to let her know I wouldn’t be coming, telling her I was sick.  She replied:

亚搏手机在线登录入口认识几个星期后的一天,我在培训中心上课时感到不舒服。回到家时,呕吐不止,然后开始发烧,感觉我真的病了。每五分钟就要上卫生间一趟。我离家在外,对中国还不熟悉,顿感手足无措,不懂怎么照顾自己。所有物品上写的都是我不认识的文字:陌生的药品、陌生的医院、陌生的食品。那天我原本打算去邻居家,但我发信息跟她讲我病了,不能去她家了。她回复道:

“I’ll be home in about an hour, but if it’s too late tonight, I’ll be by tomorrow to check on you.”“我大约一小时后到家,如果太晚,我明天再来探望你。


“Don’t worry about me,” I said.  “I’ll be okay tonight.”“别担心我,”我说,“今晚我没事的。”


The next day, she messaged me, “I bought you some medicine last night, but it was too late at night to bring it to you.  Are you at home?”第二天,她给我发信息说:“我昨晚给你买了些药,但回来时已经太晚了,没给你送来。你在家吗?”

Then came the knock on my door.  She was carrying a bag filled with boxes and boxes of medicine.  Using a translation app, she typed, “I have some medicine that is good for your stomach.  It will stop the nausea.”  Then she walked into the kitchen, helped herself to my kettle, and made me a drink of the dried pellets and hot water to calm my stomach.  She disappeared down the stairs, and then returned not long after with a tray of food for lunch:  rice, fruit, and green 青菜.  My stomach churned at the thought of eating much of anything; grateful, though, I accepted and ate what I could.

过了一会响起了敲门声。她拎着一个袋子,里面装满了一盒又一盒的药。她用翻译 APP 打字说:“这些药对胃部很好,可以止住恶心呕吐。”然后她走进厨房,烧了一壶水,冲泡感冒颗粒给我喝,还给我倒了一杯热水,以平息我翻滚的胃。接着她下楼端来午餐:米饭、水果和青菜。一想到要吃东西,我的胃就开始翻江倒海,但我还是心存感激,多少吃了一点。

But her care for me didn’t end there.  She treated me as family.  I spent October Holiday together with her family on a trip to the Yangtze River, and when my family came to visit shortly after that, she and her husband personally picked them up from the airport two hours away, treated us to dinner, and took us to the best local tourism sites to show us the beauty of China. I still remember the day she drove me and my family to a nearby water town.  My mom had heard that the area was well-known for its quilts.  As we wandered the rows of shops, a quilt shop caught her eye and we stopped to look.  The shopkeeper was persistent, but my neighbor tried to discretely tell me she could find a better buy for us.  The shopkeeper caught on and was not happy to see her sale walking away, yelling after us as we tried to disappear into the ancient narrow walkways.

她对我的关怀并没有就此结束,她像家人一般对待我。十月,我和他们一家一起游长江。不久后家人来探访我,她和丈夫驱车两小时,亲自到机场接他们,请亚搏手机在线登录入口吃饭,带亚搏手机在线登录入口去当地最棒的景点玩,向亚搏手机在线登录入口展示美丽中国。那天她开车带我和家人去附近的一个水镇。我妈妈听说这个地区生产的棉被闻名遐迩。亚搏手机在线登录入口在一排排商店里闲逛的时候,一家棉被店吸引了她的目光,亚搏手机在线登录入口就停下来看看。店主不遗余力地向亚搏手机在线登录入口推销,但邻居谨慎地告诉我,她可以找到品质更好的店铺。店主发现亚搏手机在线登录入口企图离开,看到煮熟的鸭子飞了,很不高兴,她看着亚搏手机在线登录入口消失在狭窄的古道,不甘心地冲着亚搏手机在线登录入口吆喝

For the short time that we were neighbors, she was always there, keeping an eye on me to make sure I was taken care of.  Towards the end of my year-long work contract in Nantong, I met my now-husband, so I moved away to another city in China to be with him.  It was as though she saw that he was there to take care of me now; I was leaving her nest, and gradually we spoke a bit less.

在亚搏手机在线登录入口成为睦邻的短暂时光里,她一直关心着我,照顾着我。在南通一年的工作合同即将结束时,我遇到了现在的丈夫,所以我搬到了中国的另一个城市与他一起生活。她知道了我有一个能照顾自己的丈夫,我便离开了她的庇护,渐渐地,亚搏手机在线登录入口之间交流少了一些。

Several months after I moved away, I made plans to go home to visit my family in the U.S.A. for Christmas.  My neighbor had found out about my travel plans just days before my departure and hurriedly overnighted me a package.  Even while living in another city, my Nantong neighbor wouldn’t let me go without a gift of kindness; remembering our day at the water town, she shipped a brand new, beautiful quilt for me to carry back to my mom.  

我搬走几个月后,打算回美国看望家人,一起过圣诞节。我邻居在出发前几天得知了我的计划,匆匆忙忙地给我寄来了一袋包裹。即使我生活在另一个城市,远在南通的邻居也会给我寄来善意的礼物,不会让我空手离开。她依然记得亚搏手机在线登录入口在水镇的经历,所以寄来了一条美丽的新被子,让我带回去给妈妈。

My hometown is a small city in Wisconsin, U.S.A. which is famous for beer and cheese.  With a population of 10,000, our quaint, historic downtown is nestled near a river with a set of railroad tracks that crisscross the city.  If you drive just a couple miles out of town you’ll find rolling fields of corn and hay bales.  Winding roads cut through forests where deer and wild turkey live which can often be seen crossing the road at inopportune times.

我的家乡是美国威斯康星州的一个小城市,以啤酒和奶酪闻名。那里有一万多人口,历史悠久的城区坐落在一条河边,古色古香,铁轨纵横交错。开车出城几英里,你会发现连绵的玉米田和干草垛。蜿蜒的道路穿过森林,森林里生活着鹿和野生火鸡,时常可以看到它们不合时宜地横穿马路


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