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Different hometown, same love

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By Chhun Chansovan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: Feb 14, 2022

[Cambodia] Chhun Chansovan, Zhejiang University

Chhun Chansovan in a park [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

I believe that everyone will have moments of getting lost, being painful, confused, hungry or helpless. Compassionate people are always willing to give a hand to a stranger, because they know what it's like to be in trouble. Chinese people are characterized by the willingness to help strangers. I have had several such experiences in 2020.

A motherly madam

One day I went to a supermarket to buy a few daily necessities but ended up with too many goods in the shopping cart since there were many of my favorite brands. After paying the bill, I realized that I was all by myself and these goods were more than I could carry, and I had to hold some items to my chest with the left hand, and carry the rest with the right hand, and I must look very funny. At this moment, someone patted my shoulder, and a madam smiled at me and said that she could help me.

Chhun Chansovan enjoys sakura blossom in Tongji University. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Her kind appearance reminded me of my mother's smiling face, and I handed her the items in my right hand. She carried it and walked with me towards the place where I put my electric bicycle. On the way she told me gently not to buy too much at a time and to pay attention to the expiration date, then gave me a canvas bag for these goods. It’s not until we bid goodbye that I realized that my mother was still in Cambodia! At that moment, I felt motherly love in a foreign country rather than a sense of loss. Thank you, a motherly madam!

A memory of kindness

One day, it suddenly rained heavily when I was window shopping on Wulin Road near the West Lake, and I got soaked immediately since I didn't have an umbrella with me or have time to find a shelter. A passerby noticed and waved towards me and let me to take shelter from the rain at his porch. He offered me his chair and a cup of hot tea and said, "Have some tea! Be careful of the cold." Chinese people are just so kind! Without a word, I memorized their kindness in my heart. I love this country, and these moments stored in my heart are the seeds of love!

The campus of Zhejiang University [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

"Motorbike man" of China

A few months ago, I went to Rui’an and worked as a Sino-Cambodian interpreter. After the work, it got dark, and the high-speed train I would take to Hangzhou was about to leave within only one hour left. I had waited for a taxi but couldn’t find one for a long time. Then an old man on a motorbike nearby happened to notice my anxiety and nervousness with a pale face.

He asked me what is the matter. Learning my situation, he immediately said to me, "Get on and I will take you to the railway station." I was extremely happy. What moved me most was that he rode the motorbike as flying to catch up with the train. Finally, we made it. I was so grateful of his help and insisted to pay him, but he just smiled, shook his head and waved away.

The campus of Zhejiang University [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

There are so more touching tales in China that are shocking, changing, inspiring and reshaping me. Even though I couldn’t repay all of them, I swear that I will help others if I have a chance, because I know what gratitude means. I also want to encourage you to join me – whenever a stranger helps you, you then help two persons in return. In the end one kind action will inspire countless kind actions. In my days of studying in China, I have a special feeling, "Although I am a foreigner, I’ve never been an outsider." Because a sentence is always in my mind, “Different hometown, same love.”

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).