Thank you, everyone, for all your natural cough remedies. I’m working down the list and trying them out. I have gotten a little better (at least I’m not up the whole night coughing), so I will credit all of you with the improvement. Who needs google when I have all of you? 😉 Unfortunately, I will be missing my next posting on Friday night/Saturday morning. I’ve been trying to keep up with my translations despite being sick, but alas, my body finally has to concede defeat for one posting. I will be back next Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. My sincerest apologies. 😦
Shi Yi has left China to visit Zhousheng Chen. (I have a soft spot for scenes in a c-novel taking place outside of China.) Anyone ever been to Bremen, Germany before?
Chapter 8.3 – Inevitable Times of Parting (3)
Her flight arrived on schedule in Bremen.
Following his instructions, she went to collect her luggage and then, with nowhere to go, she went to the main hall to wait. She was sitting directly across from a shop, and in its window, she could see all different sorts of people inside the shop as well as her own faint reflection. Tilting her head slightly to the side, she smiled at herself. Zhousheng Chen, it’s been two months since we saw each other.
Two months. Sixty-one days.
The outline of many figures would intermix in that window, all coming or going.
She saw several people appear in the mirror-like window, including him. Today, his dress was very simple and very ordinary, a white shirt, black pants, and glasses. Shi Yi quickly turned around and saw that the remaining stern-looking men with him were all wearing dark blue dress shirts and two were even carrying black briefcases. Only the man, who looked to be approximately thirty-five or thirty-six years old, walking side by side with Zhousheng Chen was more casual in appearance
When she rose to her feet, he had already walked up to her.
“My wife, Shi Yi.” Zhousheng Chen made a slight gesture, introducing her to the man beside him, and at the same time, he looked over at her. “This is my university classmate as well as my old friend, Mei Xing, courtesy name, Rugu.” This name was rather unique. It was relatively rare to find someone with a courtesy name. Since Zhousheng Chen had introduced him in this way, she construed that he must be a longtime friend of the Zhou family as well.
Shi Yi smiled cordially. “Mei Rugu? Wasted willows, withered lotuses, but ‘mei ru gu’ [the plum blossoms are as before].” Such a wonderful name. She felt embarrassed to praise his name directly, so she used this subtle way to express her admiration. Quickly, she added, “Hello Mr. Mei.”
Mei Xing appeared rather surprised. He glanced over at Zhousheng Chen and bumped an elbow against his arm.
“Yes?” Zhousheng Chen laughed.
“You’re a lucky guy.”
With slight curiosity, Mei Xing politely asked Shi Yi, “Miss Shi Yi, the first time you met your husband, were you able to understand the meaning behind his courtesy name so quickly as well?”
Shi Yi shook her head. “I did not know he has a courtesy name.”
“My apologies,” Zhousheng Chen quickly said. “I do not use it often, so I forgot to tell you.”
His apology was very proper and polite.
The expression on the face of the man in front of her had changed from surprise to admiration and now was replaced with puzzlement and wariness.
Fortunately, Mei Xing understood propriety and did not ask further.
They left the airport and went to the hotel. Upon making all the appropriate arrangements, he left Shi Yi with Mei Xing, telling her only that there were some procedures that Mei Xing would be helping her to sort out and complete. After Zhousheng Chen had left, four or five men systematically opened up their brief cases and computers. Mei Xing began patiently explaining to her what she was about to take over, which were mostly Zhousheng Chen’s personal assets. The numerous and complicated words and phrases used gradually caused Shi Yi to feel dizzy as she listened to them, and she started to gather that this Mei Xing must be serving as his personal financial advisor.
And these other people were, in fact, just Mei Xing’s assistants.
When she had finished listening to everything, all she could comprehend was that he wanted to give her some of his assets. Exactly how this was to be done was explained very clearly to her by Mei Xin. All the assets, whether they were movable or immovable property, did not require her to personally manage them. Everything that they were doing today was simply a formality.
“Trust me, all the assets under his name are clean.” Mei Xing removed his glasses, folded them up, and tucked them into his jacket pocket.
Shi Yi did not truly comprehend what she was hearing, but she was getting the vague sense that by “clean”, he meant in comparison to the other people in the Zhou family. Mei Xing wanted to laugh as he saw the look in her eyes that showed she wanted to ask but did not dare to. “What’s wrong? Don’t understand? And afraid to ask?”
“Actually, there are some things I do not understand either and also am nervous to ask.” Mei Xing placed the cap back on his fountain pen and then set it beside the document. “How much did you know about him before you became his legal wife? And, from what I understand, it was a marriage that had not yet received the nod of approval from the Zhou family.”
This question came as no surprise.
The only thing that was not expected was that Zhousheng Chen had not explained to him the actual situation.
Shi Yi thought for a moment. “Besides knowing that he likes science and research, I don’t know anything about him.”
What she did understand was the feeling he gave to people. Apart from that, there was nothing about him that was within her expectations. She even had a faint inkling that what she had come in contact with was just the surface, those things that were the least important. The true core of who he was — his background, his character, and even his likes and preferences — she knew absolutely nothing about.
Mei Xing’s eyes seemed very deep as they examined her. After a while, he laughed, “His courtesy name is ‘Changfeng.’”
“Changfeng,” she repeated.
“Have you figured out where that name is derived from?”
“From afar, the gale [‘chang feng’] blows in.Great waves rise up, like a lonely field high upon the mountain ridge.”
Mei Xing laughed and finished off the remaining half of that line of poetry. “Crashing against the shore or ferociously against one another in the narrowed channel. You really were able to guess from where it was taken.”
“Rhapsody of the Gaotang Shrine” – such a famous poem, it would have been very surprising for her to not know it.
However, as she reflected deeper upon the meaning behind his courtesy name, it did not seem to be an accurate reflection of Zhousheng Chen’s nature. These lines were obviously describing Mount Wu’s immense and mighty surging river waters that were unequaled. His temperament, though, was very reserved and detached.
This man, Mei Xing, was born of a traditional background also, and when he spoke, he tended to be quite witty and casual, so their conversation was very enjoyable. At last, after all the official matters had been attended to, he asked her whether she had ever been to Bremen before. Shi Yi shook her head. He seemed very interested in inviting her out for a meal together, but Shi Yi very politely refused and remained alone in the hotel.
She enjoyed the quiet and was not worried about being bored.
There was plenty of time, so she went online and checked some introductions and recommendations for this city, planning that these next few days, when Zhousheng Chen was busy, she could go wander around by herself. With headphones on, she flipped through some websites while occasionally listening to some of the new competition demo recordings that had arrived in her email inbox, and in this way, she whittled away the entire afternoon. Unexpectedly, the faint aroma of tea wafted in, and Shi Yi finally noticed that someone was in the living room.
She stepped out and saw that it was Zhousheng Chen.
She did not know when he had returned, but he was now creating a very pleasant atmosphere as he brewed tea. In front of him was an entire tea set that had likely been brought out not long ago. The water had already boiled and was emitting steam off to one side.
He held the small, exquisite teapot gently in one hand and poured the liquid out from it. Water was added back into it, then it was poured out again.
His motions were very smooth and relaxed. It seemed he had long since grown accustomed to brewing tea for himself. Her eyes quickly rested on one point. She saw the ring that was now on his ring finger. At the airport, she remembered he had not been wearing it. Did he specifically bring it out because she was here?
Zhousheng heard her footsteps but did not lift his head. He fluidly placed another cup in front of himself and poured some tea into it. “I saw just now that you were very focused with your listening so I did not disturb you.”
She smiled, thinking silently that she did not even know what she had been listening to.
The entire afternoon, thinking about him was the only thing she had done with focus.
Shi Yi sat down beside him.
She could not help staring at the ring on his finger again, and sensing her eyes on him, he turned around to look at her. When he saw where her gaze was, he seemed slightly self-conscious, and with one finger, he twirled the ring that was on his left ring finger. “I took it off a few days ago when I was washing my hands and I lost the one I had originally. This one was delivered just this afternoon.”
She gave an “mm.”
A short explanation that came up out of the blue, but it resolved the uncertainty she had been feeling.
“For dinnertime, would you like to walk around?” he suggested.
It had been his suggestion, so she had assumed that he was very familiar with this place and simply wanted to take her out for a relaxing stroll and keep her company. However, she discovered that he did not even know Bremen as well as she did. That feeling — when someone had suggested that he would keep you company as you strolled around an unfamiliar city but in the end, you ended up being his guide instead — suddenly gave this man, who was already her husband, an additional sense of cuteness in Shi Yi’s eyes.
She speculated, besides scientific research and the matters within his family clan, was he too busy to look at the world?
Or perhaps, the vantage point from which he viewed the world was different from hers?
The two of them were like travellers who had come here for the first time, and the places they went were all the popular, must-see places of interest. By now it was evening, and the sky was touched by a faint afterglow of the sunset. People who looked like tourists stopped to stand before the beautiful scene and capture their souvenir photos. She led him into a narrow winding street and said, “I was just reading about this place online and thought it seemed very neat.”
There were quaint little wooden houses from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, tucked close to one another, in all sorts of bright colors.
Some places were so narrow they could only proceed single file.
Because the street beneath their feet was uneven cobblestone, the walk was somewhat strenuous. She was not wearing very high heels, but it was unavoidable that time after again, they would get caught in the gaps between the cobblestones. She stumbled slightly but then a hand reached over and held her firmly. “Walk a little slower.”
As she steadied herself on her feet, an elderly couple could be seen walking toward them. Zhousheng Chen quickly loosened his hold and put his hand into his pants pocket.
“When are you planning on going back to China?”
“I do not have any specific plans. I would like to go back, but there are still matters that need to be resolved first.”
Shi Yi pondered for a moment, then suggested, “If you do not go back, then we will live together somewhere abroad, alright?”
“Alright,” Zhousheng Chen promised very simply and promptly. “After I have completed the plan for ten years of investment attraction, we can settle down in any city you would like.”
This was the first time he had spoken to her about what he planned to do.
Shi Yi could still remember, the first time she had paid any attention to this investment attraction plan was during the time of the Qing Ming Festival when she and her father had exchanged a few sentences about it in casual conversation. She remembered that her and her father’s assessment of the situation had been, the person who would be able to save the economy from this course of development would need to have the strength and assets to do so as well as a magnanimous heart. She simply had not known that this person would be Zhousheng Chen.
“In these last several years, the cost of labour has risen radically and a lot of companies are starting to pull out of South East Asia. In five to ten years, it’s inevitable that a large number of factories will close and workers will lose their jobs, right? That’s why you want to invest against the trend?” Shi Yi recalled her father’s words. She did not completely understand all these economic matters, but the principles were simple and obvious so she could remember most of it.
He, however, had not expected that she would pay attention to this type of topic. “There are many reasons behind it. For example, the renminbi has been trending upward for six years, and the cost of international trade has increased by 30%. A 30% increase in costs is extremely frightening, and right now, what is needed are policies that will provide assistance. While the US dollar is falling, the renminbi should…”
Shi Yi looked at him, trying hard to understand.
Zhousheng Chen suddenly stopped. Lowering his head, he smiled, “My apologies. This is a seldom opportunity to spend time with you, and I am using it to talk about such boring things.”
She shook her head. “It’s alright. Continue with what you were saying.”
Seeing that she was truly very sincere, he carried on for a few more sentences. As Shi Yi listened to him, she thought, no matter how many cycles of reincarnation she passed through, she would still always love this man. Entrenched in the very bones of this man was the stance that his life was not to be lived for one person, one family, or one surname. In today’s society, such a person would be considered foolish, so foolish that very few people understood him.
She listened to him for a while and then attempted to sum up what he had said. “So, in short, what you want to do is toss money in to just cushion the effects of the inevitable course of events?” Or in other words, use his own money to oppose the market tide. The end result would be very difficult to change, and at most, the collapse of the manufacturing sector would merely be delayed from ten years to fifteen, maybe twenty years.
Zhousheng Chen did not give a direct answer. He sighed contemplatively, “Therefore, the process will be rather painful.”
The “painfulness” he was referring to should be that complicated and difficult, old family clan that had endured dozens of generations of being secluded in order to accumulate such wealth. She feared it would not only be his uncle or mother but that each one of the persons in the family would become his obstacle.
She remembered Zhousheng Chen’s courtesy name and suddenly felt that she had been mistaken in her interpretation.
The core of who this man was, was it not also like an immense and mighty surging river, unequaled by anyone?
More tourists were coming toward them again. The street was too narrow, and he very naturally took a couple steps backwards to give way to them. At the same time, Shi Yi unexpectedly reached out and gently took his hand. Very rarely did they do anything so intimate outside, and Zhousheng Chen felt somewhat self-conscious.
In a rather pouting voice, Shi Yi complained, “I’m tired. Hold my hand, okay?”
Her Zhousheng Chen was so alluring.
Since he did not understand the way a relationship between a man and a woman should work, then let her, who knew just ever so slightly more than him, move closer to him, one step at a time.
He suddenly seemed to grow amused, and he relaxed. “Alright, I will hold your hand.”
 字 “zi” or表字 “biao zi.” Called “courtesy name” or “style name.” Upon birth, a person is bestowed a 名 “given name,” usually by the parents. In ancient China, when a man turned 20 and came of age, he would get a new “courtesy name.” This courtesy name was to be used by peers and others of the same generation, while the original given name became reserved for elders to use to address the man. The courtesy name sometimes was given by someone else, but it could also be self-chosen. This practice has mainly become obsolete in present day.
残柳枯荷，梅如故. His surname 梅 “Mei” is actually the character for plum blossoms, while his courtesy name 如故 “ru gu” means “as before”, so therefore, his surname and courtesy name combined means “plum blossoms as before.” Plum blossoms bloom in late winter/early spring, and they are thought to be the most vibrant when blooming against a backdrop of winter snow. They are symbolic of purity, beauty, as well as perseverance and hope. In regards to that poetic sentence that Shi Yi said, in the winter, when the willow trees have dropped their leaves to look barren and the lotus flowers have long since withered away, the plum blossoms still open beautifully and vibrantly as before, beautiful, pure and persevering in the harsh coldness of winter. Shi Yi is using this simple, beautiful, poetic line to compliment Mei Xing’s courtesy name and its poetic meaning and symbolism.
 高唐赋 “Gao Tang Fu” or “Rhapsody of the Gaotang Shrine.” A poem written by Song Yu during the Warring States period. The poem is well-known, with extended descriptions of mountain landscapes, in which it describes King Xiang of Chu’s encounter with a beautiful goddess who says she is from 巫山 Mount Wu (sometimes called Mt. Wushan, Wushan, or Witches’ Hill). These particular lines are describing the surging river waters as a strong wind blows in from afar [a ‘chang feng’], causing huge waves to rise up and come crashing down.
 Official currency of China
A little talk about Zhousheng Chen’s courtesy name: Because courtesy names are chosen when the person has reached adulthood (age 20, traditionally), there is often a reflection of reality in the name, whether it be the person’s personality, what he hopes to become, etc. It’s highly likely that Zhousheng Chen chose this name himself and not someone else. ‘Changfeng’ means a strong wind that comes in from afar, and it was chosen in reference to those two lines from “Rhapsody of the Gaotang Shrine.” In the poem, a strong wind gusted in and whipped up havoc, creating giant, crashing waves of an overwhelming force in a previously calm river. Zhousheng Chen has a burning passion in his heart — the greater good of the people — and he is willing to fight a losing battle if it will prolong the time before the economic disaster occurs and give the people more time to prepare for it. His plan, to inject money into an industry that is destined to doom, is going to bring havoc in his family that had always chosen to be be sheltered and secluded from the world, but the abilities and passions he possesses are unequaled forces to be reckoned with. Prior to his coming of age and taking over the Zhou family, how many people knew what Zhousheng Chen planned to do? Probably not many. Likely just his close friends and advisors, but not many who had the authority or status to bestow him his courtesy name. This name and the lines of poetry from which it was taken on the surface seem to contrast his gentlemanly but indifferent manner that he shows people, so I reckon he chose the name himself, like a concealed way of expressing the plans in his heart.
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