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Nikon D3

Capture Date/Time:January 1, 2008 13:35
Aperture/Shutter Speed: 1/8000 sec, f2.5
Focal Length: 85 mm
ISO: 200
Flash: None

Today was an amazing and emotional day. We arrived at a tiny, rural village outside of Xiamen. My grandfather grew up there and most of his family was still here. The entire village came out to greet us and we spent the entire day going from home to home sitting down and having tea ceremonies, eating local sweets and meeting people. Everyone was so generous, warm and genuinely eager to see us. My mom and I were the first distant relatives to visit in years, and we were able to meet and spend time with my 82-year-old great aunt (my grandfather's daughter in law), the reigning matriarch of the family. It is amazing how the entire family, six out of her seven children, live and work within just a few steps of each other in the small village. The seventh, the youngest, lives and works just a few kilometers away in Xiamen.

After a few hours, we all trekked up the side of a mountain hillside overlooking the village and the outlying farmland. After moving through brush and tall grass, muddy craggs and steep dirt ridges, we came to this, the headstone of my great grandfather. I wish I could capture how I felt when I hiked up, seeing my mom led carefully up the hills with the youngest, 16-year-old member of the local family holding her hand, and an 80-year old sister-in-law, half the size of my mom, holding her other hand and helping my mom from behind. The family has such reverence for their elders, and to see the youngest (there were about three of them that were teenagers) taking the time and care attending to the oldest with genuine concern and deference was something so different from the "spending time on grandma's lap" that seems to be the norm back at home. That same reverence was also in the drive of the oldest; they went up that mountain just as eagerly, wanting to see a loved one that was again their elder. Apparently they attend to the headstone several times a year during ancestral celebrations.

After clearing away the grass, my relatives pointed out our family name written on the stone, the names of my great aunts and uncles and the then-existant grandchildren written on it. The stone, which was more like a huge tomb, was literally on the side of the top of the hill, with a wonderful view of the entire town and surrounding scenery.

I hope to bring my kids to this town and this very spot as soon as possible... they need to experience this!

Happy New Year, Everyone!


01.01.08, 07:36 PM, Chu Kids:

cool daddy!! when can we come to china and see this too? Love you,

the chu kids

01.01.08, 10:32 PM, Pieter:

w 0 w
what an awesome story..... and image

01.02.08, 01:45 PM, P.J.:

A tremendous story to back the image. Well captured. Hope the holiday season treated you well!

01.02.08, 02:30 PM, Obelix:

Happy new year Mike.

This easily is your best "photograph" so far.

01.02.08, 07:20 PM, cool daddio:

What a wonderful context for this photo to read your narrative. It was very easy to hear the excitement in your writing. So glad you were able to do this.

01.03.08, 04:57 AM, odilia:

molto bella..
great colours..

01.08.08, 07:30 PM, Blue:

That is fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.

01.18.08, 05:10 AM, Betty:

as possible. But it will be most likely to buy cheap, when, by LdKdggKrCB that how fast soever its coffers might be emptied, it might easily replenish

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