My hometown is a small village in Shandong province, eastern China. My parents are still living there. I haven’t been back home for years though. In my impression, the village is surrounded by a chain of undulating hills. Four bumpy dirt roads lead to the outside world, each in the four directions. Crops like corn and wheat are rotated in the bottom lands, sweet potatoes and beans are planted on the hillside. These crops provide the staple food for people and livestock. There are also hawthorn trees, pepper trees, persimmon trees on the hillside, and these trees used to provide side money for daily expenses. People there live simple but self-sufficient lives.
Recently when I called back to my parents, my mom described to me the enormous development in my hometown. The yong generation mostly goes outside to the big cities for work, and they are reluctant to stay home to do the farm work. Hence, the farming is mainly left to the elderly people. With the money earned outside, young people come back and buy decent houses in nearby cities. In this way, they are no longer living in the village, only occasionally come back to the village to visit their parents. My mom worried that in the near future, maybe within 20-30 years, the village will be half empty, with only elders left there. Cars have become a main transport for the young generations as well. The young generation can easily afford cars. In big events, all kinds of cars are usually parked at the entrance of the village, which makes a fine spectacle.
Hearing these progress in my hometown, I have mixed feelings — both happy and worried. on the one hand, I am happy because the lives are getting better and better for my hometown fellows. On the other hand, I am worried because although individuals’ lives are better now, the village’s infrastructure doesn’t improve. The village is still connecting the outside world with the four bumpy dirt roads in four directions. The hills used to be covered by green trees and crops. However, they are now been torn ugly due to the extensive stones mining. Numerous busy-working quarries are located on the hills, and from the quarries earsplitting noises and clouds of dusts severely affect people’s living.