Here’s Vera !
Vera was born and lived in Aletai for 16 years. She was the youngest child in a family of 2 brothers and 1 sister.Interestingly – her brothers and sister lived with her uncle in another city- Changji for better schooling. Vera’s parents both worked in the education industry – her mother was a teacher and her father an accountant for the education bureau.
Vera describes life in the cold city as peaceful. School was a 10 minutes walk from home and she enjoyed that walk every day. She started school at an early age – from 5.5 years old. (this was considered early )She went to high school at age 9 – she skipped a year of primary school because she was tested and found to be advanced.
She says all her studies she finished at school – there was no homework at all ! After school – depending on the time of year and weather – she would spend time playing with neighborhood friends or she would be reading ! Reading is Vera’s passion and even now you will most certainly find her at the local library with an armful of books ! One afternoon- she was in her room reading when she heard a loud thud( she was laughing as she was saying this to me)- she thought it was a snow storm and thunder. She went to the living room to see if everything was OK and she saw her mother in the balcony with a frozen 1.5 mtr carp lying beside her! Someone had made a present of the carp and her mum could not carry it- it had slipped with a massive thud!!
Since her parents belong to a place called Shaanxi- they loved noodles !! A typical dinner at home was noodles with vegetables and meat. They also ate a lot of potatoes , onions and tomatoes.
( She tells me – Xinjiang tomatoes are very famous and are exported the world over for sauce.)
There was one time when her parents and the neighbors decided to swap their houses- as Vera needed admission in the local school and the neighbor’s house was within the school zone. Just like that ! She says houses were owned by the government – so it was easy to do!
There was a lake close by which was supposed to be haunted with monsters. And in the summer, Vera and her family would go to the lake hunting for monsters ! She says this was in fact a regular feature in her house and going hunting for the Kanas monsters was a thrilling and much awaited event in her childhood !
Kanas/Kanasi lake, also known as Crescent Moon lake is located in a valley in the Altai Mountains, near the very northern tip of Xinjiang.
Coming up- Vera’s move to Beijing to study engineering, meeting Cheung,life after university.
Vera lived in Beijing for 20 years –she spent 10 of those years studying and worked for 10 years.
She moved to Beijing to study Electrical engineering at the Communications University of China (Beijing Broadcast institute). Main focus was on TV broadcasting. Most of her time was spent in class and at the library.
There were upto 30 students in one class.
Being away from home, lead her to rapidly grow from a sheltered child to an independent adult.
It was a comprehensive university and it offered many streams of study- arts, literary studies etc but pure broadcasting was the majority.
Vera remembers the scene at the university when most morning’s students would practice tongue twisters to improve their voices.
Most of the top news anchors, producers, come from this university.
She loved her life at the university.
After the degree, she spent 3 years doing her masters in digital signal processing.
She was recommended to do the masters due to her advanced academic performance.
She says her tutor was very in-depth and had broad knowledge and she enjoyed her masters’ studies immensely.
All the studies were in mandarin but they had one English class.
There was a special English test called College English test – CET which they had to pass to get their masters degree.
She met her husband – Chueng while doing her masters.
They used to be in the same laboratory class and conduct experiments together.
They were friends through out the master’s course and only before leaving university they decided to get married.
Chueng is also from the Han group from Tianjin city.
Chinese speed – Vera spoke to me about this term and I found it very intriguing.
It’s a term to express how china changed rapidly. Subways, new buildings, roads all built in a short time at a very fast pace.
Vera says Beijing changed very year.