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The smiles of Shiqiaopu

Popularity 2Viewed 2136 times 2014-5-13 19:05 |Personal category:Chongqing life|System category:Life

This is a piece that I originally wrote for the English-language Chongqing News website, when I was asked to write about smiles and smiling.  You can see it on their website by clicking here.

It's local people in my neighbourhood that bring me regular smiles.  I'm quite a habitual person and I enjoy having a set routine.  Therefore I tend to go back to the same places and, provided the service is good, I remain a loyal customer.  I have the hair salon close to my school where I always get my hair cut, the lady who works in the poultry section in my local supermarket who is always cheerful and I have my regular kindly greengrocer.  Even the lady who works at the post office who used to be a bit frosty with me now greets me with a smile.

At the pool hall that I play at on Tuesdays with my friend Charlie we always get a warm reception from the staff.  When Charlie arrived in Chongqing in September I was delighted to learn that he also enjoys playing pool.  Now our weekly contest is something we both look forward to.  As the year has progressed we have smiled more as we clear the table of balls faster, commit fewer fouls and occasionally play the odd shot that has us grinning with delight.

The other day as I walked back from the post office I popped into a stationary shop to buy some pens.  I ended up having a friendly conversation with the shop assistant for about five minutes, which all started when she told me she liked my wallet and asked me where I bought it from.  It was just one of those familiar, comfortable chats between two people who are complete strangers.  It was something so simple and normal, but I didn't take it for granted.  I treasured it.

Despite the dull cloud that covers the city for most of the year, Chongqing folk are a cheery lot: quick to smile and quick to laugh.  Walking around on the streets you can see friends joking together, proud grandparents beaming as others fuss over their grandchildren and shop owners greeting regular customers.  It doesn't surprise me that Chongqing has been voted as one of the happiest cities in China.  When I leave the mountain city at the end of June after nearly two years of living here, I will miss the familiar faces with the smiles I see so often.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (2 comments)

Reply Report austinong 2014-5-14 10:26
thanks for writing about something many of us feel but cannot express.
Reply Report tedbrent 2014-5-14 19:28

facelist doodle Doodle board

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