征文26 ▏Upul: Becoming a bridegroom in Hubei province

家外之家 2021
征文26 ▏Upul: Becoming a bridegroom in Hubei province


Name : Upul


Country of Origin : Sri Lanka


Occupation : Journalist


How did I begin my journey in China? 


I can still remember watching a TV program on China and Chinese culture about 20 years ago when I was still very small. In the background, I heard melodious strains of Chinese music and I can still remember how the program featured key places of Chinese cultural interest and famous Chinese icons like The Great Wall. As I was just nine years old, this program formed such a deep impression in my mind that the longing to visit China one day was a longing that was present in my subconscious mind from that day onwards. I still remember 3 years ago; my editor called me into his room and asked me whether I would like to undertake a visit to China. He also added that the visit would last 10 months. I couldn’t believe what I heard. I was overjoyed. I could only mutter ‘yes sir’ because I was still suffering from the shock of having my childhood dream of going to China coming true.

我还记得大约 20 年前,那时候我还很小,看过一个电视节目,是关于中国和中国文化的,背景音乐是悠扬的中国传统音乐。我仍然记得这个节目介绍了中国的文化名胜和标志性建筑,如长城。那时我才 9 岁,但这个节目已经在我脑海中留下了深刻的印象。有朝一日我要去中国,这种渴望,自那天起便成为我潜意识的一部分。我还记得 3 年前,编辑把我叫到他的房间,问我是否愿意去中国。他还补充说,这次旅程将持续 10 个月。我简直不敢相信我的耳朵,欣喜若狂。因为儿时的梦想终于要成真了,我激动得话都说不出来,只能咕哝一声“是的,我愿意”。

Everything started in Beijing 


It was a day in February. The weather was so cold in Beijing. I landed at Beijing airport for the first time in my life. I didn’t know more about Beijing or China. But I was gradually getting to know about the country. As a journalist, I started a new journey in China. I wanted to be crazy for a while on my first foreign visit and as such, I explored my surroundings and smiled at people. I was asked by many Chinese people “Ni shi na guo ren” 你是哪国人 I replied to them “wo shi sli lanka ren” 我是斯里兰卡人. As our first arrangement, I could attend the Two Sessions at Great Hall in Beijing. Then I got an opportunity to visit The Great Wall.

那是二月的一天,北京的天气真是太冷了。我第一次降落在北京机场,那时的我对北京,甚至对中国都知之甚少,但我开始渐渐了解这个国家。作为一名记者,我开始了在中国的新征程。这是我第一次出国,我想“疯”一段时间,因此我不断探寻周边的事物,以微笑待人。很多中国人问我“Ni shi na guo ren”(你是哪国人),我回答他们“wo shi sli lanka ren”(我是斯里兰卡人)。我在中国参加的第一场活动就是在北京人民大会堂举行的两会,之后我还游览了长城。

Upul taking a picture with one of the friends he made on his many journeys in China

Becoming a Bridegroom in Hubei province


Then the journey had begun. It was early October when we landed at the Wuhan airport it was about 2:30 pm. We had a special tour planned for the next morning of Sanxia, a nearby village. The next day, we arrived in Sanxia and it was beautiful. The whole environment was green and there was a nice breeze which made us feel happy. The villagers who were dressing in traditional clothes had welcomed us. I trekked around and I had a feeling that a ceremony was going to be held by villagers for us. Ohh God, it was a wedding ceremony. A traditional wedding ceremony. It is called “Tu Jia Hun Jia” After few seconds the elder villagers appeared in front of us and played some traditional Chinese music instruments. Then we all were ordered to sit properly and a beautiful Chinese girl who was dressed in traditional clothes appeared before us. There was a small ball in her hand. She had to choose a boy among us as her future husband. We all were advised to have our hands up and we followed the order. Then it was her turn and she had to be thrown the ball to a boy. I could not believe my own eyes. She threw the ball to me and I got a chance to be her husband. Then I dressed in traditional wedding clothes and “married” her. It was an unforgettable memory in my life. Before getting married in my country I could get married in China.


A picture of the traditional marriage ceremony in Sanxia

Got a new name from a little girl


During my stay in China, I visited about 15 provinces and closely touched the events of the vast and diverse Chinese culture. When I was in Beijing, I used to go to Ritan park twice per day. Once I was studying Chinese at the park a little girl came to me and tried to talk with me in her broken English. She came to Beijing with her mother for medical treatments. She helped me to study Chinese and I helped her to study English. The most important thing was that she gave me a new name such as “Davei” (David). After I was expressing this incident to our Chinese teacher then she also called me Davei until I returned to my home country.

我走访了中国大约 15 个省份,近距离接触了中国广袤多元的文化活动。在北京的时候,我每天会去日坛公园两次。有一次我在公园里学习中文,一个小女孩来找我,试图用不是很流利的英语和我交谈。她和妈妈一起来北京看病,她教我中文,我教她英文。最重要的是,(由于发音问题,)她给取了我一个新名字,叫“Davei” (David)。我把这件事告诉中文老师之后,她也开始叫我 Davei。我回国后,才没有人这么叫我。
Meeting a small friend on one of my trips

The Visit to Xiamen


A visit to Fujian province was also another milestone in my China life. As I heard the Fujian province had an important role in the ancient Silk Road. Also, Fujian has four UNESCO world heritage sites such as ‘Wuyi Mountain’, “Earthen houses(Tulou)”, “Kulangsu” and “Danxia”. Fortunately, I got a chance to visit Kulangsu island from Xiamen.


I would like to thank the Chinese government, Mr. Yu Lei who was the Director of the China Asia Pacific Press Center (CAPPC) and its all staff members, the Renmin University of China, and Ms. Nini who got my attention to this competition.

我要感谢中国政府,中国国际新闻交流中心亚太分中心 (CAPPC) 主任俞雷先生及其全体工作人员,以及中国人民大学,还有推荐我关注这次征文比赛的妮妮女士。

作者:Upul 翻译:潘泽彬

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