“Xicheng Dama” from America: Terry Crossman’s happy lif…
BEIJING, Aug. 29 (Xinhuanet) — Terry Crossman, a 62-year-old American man with Chinese name Gao Tianrui, has become viral online after expressing his willingness of being a “Xicheng Dama” (elderly women of Xicheng) in a newly posted video online.
“I have lived in Beijing for more than 20 years, and this is my home,” said Crossman during a recent interview with Xinhuanet.
“Xicheng Dama” is a nickname referring to a group of volunteers, usually women in late middle-age. Their daily duties are mainly supporting the police regarding public security issues in Xicheng District in Beijing.
“When I gradually found out that those ‘Xicheng Dama’ are actually residents who are enthusiastic about maintaining the security of the community and helping to make the district better, the wish of becoming one of them started to grow,” said Crossman.
Wearing red armband, Crossman usually patrols around Shichahai on his electric bicycle, offering help to those in need.
Obsession with China dates back to childhood
“I found myself interested in China and Chinese language when I was only 13,” said Crossman. “I read the Tao Te Ching, and got the idea of Taoism at that time, such as letting things take their course.”
Crossman came to Taiwan when he was 18. During that journey, Crossman got his Chinese name Gao Tianrui, given by the captain of a ship, and he uses this name until today.
Inspired by what he had experienced in Taiwan, Crossman went back to the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S. and majored in Chinese language and culture to make full preparation for his future career in China.
Fall in love with Beijing
Crossman’s story with Beijing could be longer than many Chinese people.
In 1997, Crossman and his family moved to Beijing permanently after 12 years’ work in Hong Kong.
“I learned Cantonese in Hong Kong, and I married my wife there who is from Singapore. We have two children,” said Crossman. “But now, I get used to living in Beijing. This might be the reason why I have stayed here for more than 20 years.”
Crossman finds it comfortable living in Beijing.
“I enjoy chatting with neighbors, gardening on the balcony, listening to music in the nearby pub, and providing assistance to people in need,” said Crossman.
“In addition, I like Chinese food very much, especially spicy and salty food,” he added.
He often makes Beijing’s typical food “bean-paste noodles” by himself at home.
Amazed by China’s rapid development
“Beijing has changed a lot in the past 22 years,” said Crossman.
What impresses him most is that no one will be curious about seeing a foreigner.
When he first came to Beijing, wherever he went, he would be surrounded by people, he recalled. But now, he attracts barely a second glance because Beijing has attracted many foreigners.
Online shopping makes Crossman’s life in China quite convenient.
He ordered his new made-in-China cellphone in the morning and received it in the afternoon the same day. He said he could not imagine this happening elsewhere except for China. He also orders fruits and vegetables online.
What’s more, Crossman shared a story of one of his friends who owns a small restaurant where public transportation is not convenient. Thanks to the shared bicycles, now his friend’s restaurant has more customers.
Besides, China’s high-speed trains also impressed Crossman a lot. Taking the high-speed train saves him a lot of time on the road, which allows him spend weekends in another province like Shanghai and Shandong.
After becoming viral online, Crossman learned some new Chinese words, such as “Wanghong”(online celebrity). He laughed happily while talking about this.
“I am addicted to changes, and maybe that’s why I love living in Beijing,” said Crossman.
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