The Days Studying in England(2)

@andygogo (1580)
December 29, 2006 9:16am CST
With fluctuating hills covered by evergreen forests, Bath is a famous tour resort. It is about 40 miles away from westward of London. It has rose its fame ever since thousand year ago when a Rome king had conquered England and built a bath palace for his dear concubine around a steam-wreathing hot spring , which now is called as Rome Bath. A few miles’ away from eastward of the Rome Bath there is a well-known academic institute, the University of Bath. Its campus is located on top of a hill and accompanied by a vast top-hill lake. One day in September, 1985, I came here for my advanced study in computer simulation after my English training completion in East Anglia. One of the university staff guided me to the Fluid Power Center in Engineering Department. After I talked to my supervisor for my project topic and research methodology, he led me to a huge office with floor area about 40 square meters. Dozen students were filled there for different degrees either by courses or by researches. Among them there were 5 Chinese. students Facing to so many unfamiliar eye sights, I immediately became uneasy. Most of them either slightly nodded to me or said “Hello!” gently. I had no idea how to deal with and just stood beside the door embarrassedly. At that awkward moment, one Chinese student left his desk and came to me. He was a very handsome middle-age man, with a moderate slim figure and pleasingly white face, a pair of large and bright eyes under dense eyebrows. The most impressive thing was his haircut, dark, shining nursed and shaped well. “Hi! Mr. Li,” he shook my hand and greeted to me in Chinese, “I am XX Fang from Zhengzhou Warship Research Institute in He Nan Province. You are warmly welcome to join us!” Then, he introduced everyone on site to me and showed me his dormitory. I was deeply affected by his warm heart and started our friendship in this alien land then. I had a very difficult time to start my research, owning to my poor English and computer foundation, especially the latter. As a student to pursue a degree of computing science, I had never had a single tough to computer keyboard before! On the contrary, Mr. Fang always had his days in his project conduction, because he had sound linguistic and technological foundation. He was brought up in Shanghai and had systematic English training ever since his childhood. His technical education had never been disturbed by political turmoil, since he had graduated from university of Shanghai Jiao Tong before the cursed Culture Revolution. He kindly gave me a hand in my difficulty. Thanks to Mr. Fan’s help, I had quickly got over the crisis and managed to develop my project well. In 1980s, Chinese economic reform was still on its nursery. The foreign currency reservation was very limited. In the mean time, we were still struggling against poverty. The average of monthly salary for a common staff was as low as RMB50 Yuan. Therefore, to spend all efforts for money saving was Chinese’s common habit. As a TC award owner, I was able to get 200 pounds’ allowance from Chinese Embassy in London every month. It was an astronomical income comparing with our monthly salary in motherland. However, it was still not easy to maintain our dignity of “visiting scholar” by this mere 200 pounds. Moreover, we all had a secret target in mind: save every penny to buy some duty-free electronics, such as refrigerator, color TV, washing machine etc., to reward our wives and kids who are suffering and longing at home. At that time, these items were real rarities in Chinese market, and were strictly controlled by quota specially enjoyed by people had been abroad. To fulfill such a sacred target, Mr. Fang and I helped each other and developed a lot of fanny stories. (to be continued)
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