Our Laughter Rang Out on All the Hills

March 5 is “Learn from Lei Feng Day” in China. Here’s a story from Changing Every Day that mentions him. When you finish reading, take the quiz to test your understanding!:

My Childhood in the Countryside

Pei Ci Kuang

池塘边的榕树上,知了在声声叫着夏天,黑板上老师的粉笔还在拼命吱吱喳喳写个不停,等待着夏天,等待着明天,迷迷糊糊的童年。(Banyan tree at the pond, cicadas call in the summer, chalk on the black board, teacher still writes non-stop, waiting for summer, waiting for tomorrow, stumbled childhood)

Do you still remember this nursery rhyme? My childhood was spent in the countryside. I have fond memories.

In spring, plants would start to sprout, animals come out to get some fresh air. After festival, the temperature rose and rain fall increased, and it was high time for spring plowing and sowing. We expected to have a good year! When we were done after school, we queued and sang:”学习雷锋, 好榜样,忠于革命,忠于党’’ (Learn Lei Feng, good role model, loyal to the revolution, loyal to the party.) We went on adventures together, giving everyone a nickname: Corsair, Devil, Pirate, Sailor. Our laughter rang out on all the hills, and in the cave came the echo. Thinking the big people were telling ghost stories, we ran home, completely forgetting what we needed to do. When we took a shower in the evening, our bodies were full of mud, and adults yelled at us, “Crazy kids!” We smiled at each other, discussing tomorrow.

In summer, when grass and trees looked greener than ever, we saw flowers everywhere in every color we could imagine. We didn’t go to school, which left more time to play outside. We created our toys, using bamboo to make a gun, with small fruit as bullets. We played field operation on the mountain. We climbed up the tree to pick star fruits. We went to the mountains to pick up small black fruits. It was enough for our slender mouths to eat for a whole summer. We went swimming in a small river. We got together to enjoy the cool air on the patio. What wonderful summer days!

In fall, the roosters’ crows resounded in the morning in the quiet village and the alleys of small traders. A busy day started on the farmland. Everywhere were busy people’s shadows. Harvest season was coming! After school, our greatest pleasure was to fly kites. We used newspaper and bamboo to make them. They hung up in the sky, symbols of our dreams and our thoughts of our loved ones. We walked in the fields between. Everywhere was a vibrant scene.

In winter, water flowed in the quiet lake, sunlight shone on the lake, and birds flying across the river made ripples. The hill became quiet. We also calmed down, but we still had many activities. We played jump rope, flight chess, cards, hide and seek. That was our happy hour!

My childhood friends, how is your situation? Do our hometown hills look the same? Does the hometown water taste sweet? Do you tell your kids our stories?


To read more stories from Changing Every Day, click here.


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