“One guidebook we read aptly described Yangshuo as having an ‘international, bohemian atmosphere.’ ‘This place is great,’ Chris said. ‘I could just hang out here.’ We loved it from the first moment, walking from our hotel to West Street, a pedestrian walkway filled with sidewalk cafés, clothing stores, local gift stores, and art galleries containing scroll after scroll painted with Guilin’s famous scenery.”
“Guilin was the only place that fascinated me simply for its landscape. I am just not that much into scenery. I get more excited about culture and people. That’s why I like to go places. But Guilin was all about the scenery. I just had to see those mountains. No other scenery has had such a hold on me as Guilin, and for so many years.” –Home is a Roof Over a Pig Photo credit:...
“Across the street I spotted a small, rather unkempt park. But at its center was a Chinese pavilion, its tile roof flowing down into curves like the skirt of a pirouetting Cinderella, a jewel of traditional Chinese simplicity in a setting of drab apartment blocks and 1970s-era academic buildings.” –Home is a Roof over a Pig
“Outside I saw a long red line of contiguous courtyards. They were affixed to a drab contemporary apartment block, making them even more striking: an explosion of red brick and verdant vines, of character and history. Inside the courtyards, elderly women chatted on stools or tended small gardens. The courtyards looked like pieces of the village, a part of the old world taken with their residents to the city when they had come seeking a better...
I remember well the first time I walked into our apartment in Tai’an. My heart sank. It was tiny. I told myself we’d be here one year—tops. We removed all furniture we could get by without—the coffee table, the desk—in an effort to get more space. We moved the remaining furniture around, trying to squeeze out a little more room. We bought our kids a bunk-bed-plus-trundle so they could have a little more floor space in their bedroom. And then,...
The Chinese writer Zhang Ailing said that every butterfly is adead flower flying back to look for her lost life.
They say you never forget your first love. For me, I never forgot that first Chinese pictograph I fell in love with: 家. This character—meaning “home”—shows a roof over the ancient Chinese representation for pig. In ancient China, the life of man and his swine were so closely bound up together that the pigs just wandered freely through the house.
This experience began my life-long love for Chinese culture, and my desire to understand the Chinese mind, a mind that could produce such beautiful pictographs that truly reflect the essence of their meaning.Learn More
Home is a Roof over a Pig is the story of one American family’s two-year encounter with China–and how it transforms them.
When Aminta Arrington moves from an army post in Georgia to a small town in China, she doesn’t go alone. Her army husband and three young children uproot themselves too. Aminta hopes to understand the country with its long civilization, ancient philosophy, and complex language. She is also determined that her daughter Grace, born in China, regain some of the culture she lost when the Arringtons brought her to America as a baby.Learn More