February 16, 2010

CHINA: American granny's first Spring Festival after getting Chinese "green card"

. BEIJING, China / The People's Daily / Life & Culture / February 16, 2010 After 10 years, Eunice Moe Brock, a 93-year-old American granny, has gotten used to enjoying the Chinese lunar New Year like a local in Liaocheng, in east China's Shandong Province. The year 2010 is the Year of Tiger in the Chinese lunar calendar, and this Spring Festival is the first the silver-haired granny has passed in China since receiving permission to live permanently in China in July last year. On the New Year's Eve, Brock, at her home in the compound of a local international hospital, ate 20 Chinese dumplings stuffed with Chinese cabbage and pork, her favorite. Her friends gave her tiger-themed toys as presents and posted Spring Festival couplets, or poems, on her door frames. The next day, the first day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, Brock was visited by friends. They gave her New Year greetings in accordance with traditional Chinese customs. I AM AN AMERICAN BUT I HAVE A CHINESE HEART: Eunice Moe Brock at the home in Shandong. August 2007 file photo courtesy: China Daily She told Xinhua Monday that in comparison with Christmas, China's Spring Festival involved more affection among family members, relatives and friends. When she walked along streets, she said, she could sense the atmosphere of rejoicing and festivity and see items with typical Chinese festive items everywhere, such as antithetical couplets (two poem-like phrases written in calligraphy on vertical red banners), red lanterns and Chinese knots. Born in Beidaihe, in northern China's Hebei province, on Aug. 11, 1917, Brock didn't go back to the United States until she was 13 years old. She later worked as a nurse at a children's hospital in Colorado before she was appointed as head of the education department and president of the hospital. In 1999, after her husband passed away, she sold her villa, garden and car and came back to China. She has since made a lot of friends in Liumiao village, in Anle town, Yanggu county. Though she is not a wealthy woman, she has tried her best to help local people. She donated 30,000 U.S. dollars to local schools to buy computers for the children. Every Christmas, she rides a donkey-pulled wooden cart to take Christmas gifts to the children. She said she enjoys riding in the cart and that it is delightful to give presents to children. Brock's father, a missionary from the United States who loved traditional Chinese culture, gave his daughter a Chinese name, Mulin'ai. Over the past decade, Brock has made numerous donations to local primary schools, hospitals and villages. She also taught English at a local school without pay. In 2006, she was awarded the title of China Charity Ambassador by the China Charity Federation. She says she wakes early every morning, reads books and writes. She also loves playing electronic games. She even taught a local boy to play chess. "I consider myself a Chinese woman. I'm so happy to enjoy the Spring Festival," Brock said. Her dream for the new year is to write a book about psychology. [rc] Source: Xinhua See earlier report in SENIORS WORLD CHRONICLE