Spring Festival Memories

In our Spring Festival video, we invite you to peer into the life of a Guilin resident who walked the same arduous path traveled by so many in China from poverty to prosperity. Join Dayong, a CLI team member since 2009, as he converses with 叶叔叔,Uncle Ye,about how the quality of life has changed for the better.

 

While watching the video, follow along in the below transcript for the Chinese characters, pinyin, and English translation. You can also use this link to download a PDF containing the interview transcript and vocabulary list.

 

 

Spring Festival Interview Transcript

Dayong (00:03 – 00:11)

叶叔叔,您好!首先您可不可以简单地介绍一下自己?

Yè shūshu, nín hǎo! Shǒuxiān nín kěbù kěyǐ jiǎndān de jièshào yīxià zìjǐ?

Hello Uncle Ye! First off, can you offer a basic self-introduction?

Uncle Ye (00:11 – 00:21)

我是1953年出生的,现在63岁了。

Wǒ shì 1953 nián chūshēng de, xiànzài 63 suìle.

I’ll start from the beginning? I was born in 1953, so I’m 63 years old now.

Dayong (00:22 – 00:23)

您是属…?

Nín shì shǔ…?

What is your zodiac sign?

Uncle Ye (00:23 – 00:33)

属蛇,我的儿子也属蛇,我的孙子也属蛇,我们刚好三代都是属蛇的。

Shǔ shé, wǒ de érzi yě shǔ shé, wǒ de sūnzi yě shǔ shé, wǒmen gānghǎo sāndài dōu shì shǔ shé de.

The Snake. My son is also the Year of the Snake. And my grandson! We all happen to be the Year of the Snake.

Dayong (00:35 – 00:51)

这样啊,我想问一下,如果您找一个词,或者找一种感受来表示您对新年的感情,您会选什么词?

Zhèyàng a, wǒ xiǎng wèn yīxià, rúguǒ nín zhǎo yīgè cí, huòzhě zhǎo yī zhǒng gǎnshòu lái biǎoshì nín duì xīnnián de gǎnqíng, nín huì xuǎn shénme cí?

So, I want to ask, if you could find a word, or find a feeling to describe the emotion you feel toward Spring Festival, what word would you choose?

Uncle Ye (00:52 – 01:43)

就春节快乐嘛!小时候就盼着一天能吃上一顿好的,就这么简单。以前生活比较苦,一年到头就盼着能吃点猪肉或者吃个鸡大腿,得个两毛钱的红包就欢天喜地了,现在不需要等,想吃的都有,不用再想着吃什么好吃的,生活水平提高了,不再讲究吃的了,就想着亲朋好友在一起交流一下工作经验,情感之类的。

Jiù chūnjié kuàilè ma! Xiǎoshíhòu jiù pànzhe yītiān néng chī shàng yī dùn hǎo de, jiù zhème jiǎndān. Yǐqián shēnghuó bǐjiào kǔ, yīniándàotóu jiù pànzhe néng chī diǎn zhūròu huòzhě chī gè jī dàtuǐ, dé gè liǎng máo qián de hóngbāo jiù huāntiānxǐdìle, xiànzài bù xūyào děng, xiǎng chī de dōu yǒu, bùyòng zài xiǎngzhe chī shénme hào chī de, shēnghuó shuǐpíng tígāole, bù zài jiǎngjiù chī dele, jiù xiǎngzhe qīnpéng hǎoyǒu zài yīqǐ jiāoliú yīxià gōngzuò jīngyàn, qínggǎn zhī lèi de.

Well, I choose “truly happy.” When I was young, I always looked forward to this time of year because it meant we could eat well. Just that simple. Life was hard. Throughout the year I’d always hope to eat a little pork, or even a chicken leg. But when we got those red envelopes with 0.2 RMB inside, it was overwhelming joy. Now, you can eat whatever you want. There’s so much good food to eat these days. The quality of life has improved drastically, no more worrying about whether we can eat. Spring Festival is now about being with your friends and your family, talking about your experiences with work, and just interacting and socializing.

Dayong (01:44 – 01:47)

您有几个兄弟姐妹?

Nín yǒu jǐ gè xiōngdì jiěmèi?

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Uncle Ye (01:47 – 01:57)

我们家有三个兄弟姐妹,我是老二,上面有一个哥哥,下面有一个妹妹。

Wǒmen jiā yǒusān gè xiōngdì jiěmèi, wǒ shì lǎo èr, shàngmiàn yǒu yīgè gēgē, xiàmiàn yǒu yīgè mèimei.

Our family has three siblings, I’m the second-oldest brother. Above me is my older brother, and below me is my younger sister.

Dayong (01:58 – 02:01)

您的哥哥妹妹现在都在桂林么?

Nín dí gēgē mèimei xiànzài dōu zài guìlín me?

Are your siblings both in Guilin?

Uncle Ye (02:02 – 03:03)

都在,都在桂林。

Dōu zài, dōu zài guìlín.

Yes, they’re both in Guilin.

Dayong (02:03 – 02:04)

过年的时候…

Guònián de shíhòu…

So, when you celebrate the New Year…

Uncle Ye (02:04 – 02:30)

过年的时候都互相走一走,初一到老大哥哥家。初二到老二我的家,初三到妹妹家,转来转去互相吃个饭,交流一年的工作感情。因为平常都没有这么多时间在一起。

Guònián de shíhòu dōu hùxiāng zǒu yī zǒu, chū yī dào lǎodà gēgē jiā. Chū èr dào lǎo èr wǒ de jiā, chū sān dào mèimei jiā, zhuàn lái zhuàn qù hùxiāng chī gè fàn, jiāoliú yī nián de gōngzuò gǎnqíng. Yīn wéi píngcháng dōu méiyǒu zhème duō shíjiān zài yīqǐ.

We spend the Spring Festival together. On the first day, we go to my older brother’s house. On the second day the family all comes to my house. And on the third day we go to my younger sister’s house. We go here and there eating at each other’s houses, talking about our previous year’s experiences and work. Usually we don’t have the time to be with each other and communicate like we do when celebrating the New Year.

Dayong (02:31 – 02:36)

那现在您的哥哥妹妹都退休了么?还是…

Nà xiànzài nín dí gēgē mèimei dōu tuìxiūle me? Háishì…

So your brother and sister are both retired? Or…

Uncle Ye (02:36 – 02:39)

都退休了。

Dōu tuìxiūle.

They’re both retired.

Dayong (02:40 – 02:47)

想想二十年前、三十年前,你们小的时候过年是怎么样的?

Xiǎng xiǎng èrshí nián qián, sānshí nián qián, nǐmen xiǎo de shíhòu guònián shì zěnme yàng de?

So, 20-30 years ago, when you and your siblings were young, how did you celebrate the Spring Festival?

Uncle Ye (02:47 – 03:06)

我们小的时候就盼着爸爸妈妈初一早上或者年三十晚上吃完饭给压岁钱。两毛钱是最高的了。

Wǒmen xiǎo de shíhòu jiù pànzhe bàba māmā chū yī zǎoshang huòzhě nián sānshí wǎnshàng chī wán fàn gěi yāsuìqián. Liǎng máo qián shì zuìgāo dele.

When we were young, we always looked forward to the morning of the first day, or even the night before, when our parents used to give us “lucky money”.

Dayong (03:06 – 03:08)

两毛钱就是最高的了?!

Liǎng máo qián jiùshì zuìgāo dele?!

0.2 RMB was the most you received!?

Uncle Ye (03:08 – 03:25)

那时候比较穷,父母都不是什么干部,都是靠劳动实打实挣来的血汗钱,生活比较苦,一年到头,家里做一条鱼都不能一顿吃完。一锅汤,放一点佐料,做了,第二天吃鱼冻,寓意年年有余,动动有余。我的母亲那天就买一条一斤多或者两斤多的草鱼,但告诉我们不能一顿吃完,吃完了明年就没有了。要年年有“鱼”。冻者有“鱼”,就是说比方就是我们明年时做事都可以赚到钱,可能有“鱼”。

Nà shíhòu bǐjiào qióng, fùmǔ dōu bùshì shénme gànbù, dōu shì kào láodòng shídǎshí zhēng lái de xiěhàn qián, shēnghuó bǐjiào kǔ, yīniándàotóu, jiālǐ zuò yītiáo yú dōu bùnéng yī dùn chī wán. Yī guō tāng, fàng yīdiǎn zuǒ liào, zuòle, dì èr tiān chī yú dòng, yùyì nián nián yǒuyú, dòng dòng yǒuyú. Wǒ de mǔqīn nèitiān jiù mǎi yītiáo yī jīn duō huòzhě liǎng jīn duō de cǎoyú, dàn gàosù wǒmen bùnéng yī dùn chī wán, chī wánliǎo míngnián jiù méiyǒule. Yào nián nián yǒu “yú”. Dòng zhě yǒu “yú”, jiùshì shuō bǐfāng jiùshì wǒmen míngnián shí zuòshì dōu kěyǐ zhuàn dào qián, kěnéng yǒu “yú”.

We were very poor back then. Our parents weren’t government officials. They didn’t work in some government office. They relied on honest manual labor to earn a living. Life was harder.

 

Vocabulary List:

Hànzì Pīnyīn Definition Part of Speech
1. 春节快乐 chūnjié kuàilè Happy Spring Festival
2. 盼(着) pàn (zhe) to hope for v.
3. 欢天喜地 huāntiānxǐdì with boundless joy; overjoyed adv.
4. 钻来转去 zhuàn lái zhuàn qù to come and go; go back and forth idiom
5. dié to fold v.
6. 红包 hóngbāo Red envelope n.
7. 压岁钱 yāsuìqián lucky money n.
8. 干部 gànbù government official n.
9. 劳动 láodòng physical labor n.
10. 年三十晚上 nián sānshí wǎnshàng Chinese New Years Eve night n.

 

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