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Kenmare man returns to China after 20 years

When Steven Yang returned to China and met family members after being away for two decades, it was as if he never left.

12/29/15 (Tue)

Yangs of Ying Bin Restaurant... Steven Yang, who hadn't seen his father in 20 years, recently returned to Kenmare from Fuzhou, China where he spent some time with his aging father. Yang and his wife Susan, middle, along with their daughter Shirley, own and operate the Ying Bin Restaurant in downtown Kenmare. Another daughter, Linda, is attending the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

Editor’s note: Steven Yang, who speaks little English, was recently interviewed by The Kenmare News about a trip to China. His daughter Shirley, a student at Kenmare High School, who speaks fluent Chinese, served as a translator for the interview and we thank her for her participation.

By Marvin Baker

When Steven Yang returned to China and met family members after being away for two decades, it was as if he never left.

Yang, who has been in the United States for 20 years, went back to Fuzhou to see his father who is aging and whose health is deteriorating.

“His dad is getting old, so that’s why he went,” Yang’s daughter Shirley said. “He said it was nice to see him.”

Yang said his relatives are all doing well and it all seemed just like normal to see them again.

Yang’s father Yang tu Zhou, was a history teacher in Fuzhou, a city of more than 7 million people in Fujian Province, which is across the Formosa Strait from Taiwan.

The city is known for its sea views and mountains and historical sites. As the capital and one of the largest cities in Fujian Province, Fuzhou is also known as the “city of banyans”, because of the numerous Banyan trees planted there.

Yang said his biggest adjustment in going back was in trying to locate where relatives live.

“All the buildings that have popped up make it kind of difficult to find an apartment,” Yang said. “There are a lot of vehicles around, more than before.”

And, unlike the China he knew in which bicycles were the main mode of transportation, there are now a lot of supermarkets and in the past, most food outlets were small grocers or open air markets.

And, unlike the United States, items are sold by weight rather than the item.

“There are lots of U.S. franchises in southern China,” he said. “There’s a ton of food to eat so if you want to get a variety, you can get a different item every day.”

Yang, who is a Chinese citizen, has a green card for the United States as he and his wife Susan own and operate the Ying Bin Restaurant in downtown Kenmare.

Shirley Yang said it is much easier for him to get paperwork in order to visit China, but because she was born in the United States, it would be more difficult for her to get credentials to travel to China.

Yang purchased his airline tickets two months before his departure in December, and while he was gone, the Ying Bin was closed for 17 days.

“My classmates asked when our restaurant would be open,” Shirley Yang said. “I can’t wait that long,” they told her.

Because Fuzhou is near Taiwan and Hong Kong, it is a long trip from the middle of the United States.

He said the tickets were inexpensive, but the flight was 14 hours. From here he flew out to Seattle, then took an 11-hour, direct flight to Shanghei.

He said he got really tired after such a long flight.

But it was well worth it as he was able to spend quality time with Yang tu Zhou.

However, Steven is happy to be back in the United States and happy to be back, cooking in the Ying Bin Restaurant in Kenmare.

“Thank you for Kenmare people and your patience while I was gone,” Yang said... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!