Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 3 years 6 months ago

In this Phase, I will be researching more about the back ground information on the Linden Family and the Centre. I have also researched some other information about Xizhou itself. 

Background Information (From Step 4 of Phase 1)

To begin with, I will be researching background information about Brian Linden, the father of Shane and Bryce and husband of Jeanee.

Brian Linden is an American who came to China in 1984, at the age of 47. In the early 1980s, Brian worked in China as a cameraman and translator for the news company CBS. During his young adult years, he studied then graduated from Stanford University. During the 1990s, he traveled around China, spending at least 200 nights in Chinese trains. He studied at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and he met and eventually married Jeanee Quan. Jeanee's grandparents were from southern China but only grew up in San Francisco, speaking English as her first language.[1]

Once Brian and Jeanee got married, they traveled around Asian villages buying paintings and furniture that they sell during this summer time at a gallery in Door County, Wisconsin. This occurred during the 1900s. The couple (at that time) wanted to look for something more than that. A place in fact where they can build a cultural center that would help preserve and honor the fine Chinese handicrafts and artwork. [1]

During Brian's time in China, his family (which included his wife Jeanee and his two sons, Shane and Bryce) were considering locations for them to permenantly stay since the boys were being home-schooled in hotel rooms nearly three years now. Finally, after long days of deciding, they sold their house in America and gave all the proceeds to a four-courtyard compound in the Yunnan village of Xizhou.[1]

There were many challenges that the Linden Family found hard to continue on. Surprisingly, they found the daily challenges manageable for them. [2]

One of the main goals that the Linden Family has is to hope that they could make their complex a museum. The structures that surrounds the courtyard is bought by the Lindens. It is an expanse of land that stretches all the way to Erhai Lake on one side and to the Himalayan foothills on the other. The soil in Xizhou is so rich, the rain is so steady and the climate is so mild that the valley is like the American Midwest.[1]

In the poor farms of the villages, children often wear rubber flip flips/slippers of hand-me-down shoes from their parents or siblings. [1] In this Phase, I will be researching more about the background information on the Linden Family and the Centre. I have also researched some other information about Xizhou itself. 

Background Information (From Step 4 of Phase 1)

To begin with, I will be researching background information about Brian Linden, the father of Shane and Bryce and husband of Jeanee.

Brian Linden is an American who came to China in 1984, at the age of 47. In the early 1980s, Brian worked in China as a cameraman and translator for the news company CBS. During his young adult years, he studied then graduated from Stanford University. During the 1990s, he traveled around China, spending at least 200 nights in Chinese trains. He studied at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and he met and eventually married Jeanee Quan. Jeanee's grandparents were from southern China but only grew up in San Francisco, speaking English as her first language.[1]

Once Brian and Jeanee got married, they traveled around Asian villages buying paintings and furniture that they sell during the summer time at a gallery in Door County, Wisconsin. This occurred during the 1900s. The couple (at that time) wanted to look for something more than that. A place in fact where they can build a cultural center that would help preserve and honor the fine Chinese handicrafts and artwork. [1]

During Brian's time in China, his family (which included his wife Jeanee and his two sons, Shane and Bryce) was considering locations for them to permanently stay since the boys were being home-schooled in hotel rooms nearly three years now. Finally, after long days of deciding, they sold their house in America and gave all the proceeds to a four-courtyard compound in the Yunnan village of Xizhou.[1]

There were many challenges that the Linden Family found hard to continue on. Surprisingly, they found the daily challenges manageable for them. [2]

One of the main goals that the Linden Family has is to hope that they could make their complex a museum. The structure that surrounds the courtyard is bought by the Lindens. It is an expanse of land that stretches all the way to Erhai Lake on one side and to the Himalayan foothills on the other. The soil in Xizhou is so rich, the rain is so steady and the climate is so mild that the valley is like the American Midwest.[1]

In the poor farms of the villages, children often wear rubber flip flips/slippers of hand-me-down shoes from their parents or siblings. [1] 

The Linden Center is dedicated to preserving and saving the cultural heritage of China, creating experiential learning opportunities and creating an unique environment for the guests. [3]

In 1995, Brian and Jeanee Linden opened The Linden Gallery for the past 10 years to show people Asia's magnificent culture. [4]

Information From 3-to-5's:

The Linden family owns two other compounds just like the Linden Center.[6,7]

Mr. Linden has traveled to almost every single province in China.[6,7]

The local villagers are proud to have at least 25 foreigners living in their village.[6,7]

I have found out that the villagers have never seen so many foreigners living in their village and they feel honored of this happening.[6,7]

The Linden Center opened in 2008.[6,7]

Before 2008, there weren't many foreigners living here in Xizhou.[6,7]

90% of the hotel guest saying here in the Linden Center is mostly foreigner’s or/and westerner.[6,7]

Many westerns are very interested in the culture and traditions the Xizhou people have here.[6,7]

Brian and Jeanee Linden built the Linden Center to show the culture and artifact they have here.[6,7]

The Linden Center makes the local villagers more outgoing.[6,7]

The Lindens own another two compound called YangZhouRan (I think that is what it is called) and the third will open around this year.[6,7]

Many local villagers had some time to get used to the Lindens living here, since Xizhou is pretty small.[6,7]

The Linden Center is a way for the locals to survive.[6,7]

Xizhou is almost 4 thousand years old.[6,7]

The Linden Center has given the locals a chance to have a job. There is almost 50 staff working in all three compounds. [6,7]

The Linden Center is able to provided jobs to more than 40 people.[6,7]

The Linden family always brings their hotel guest to antique shops where they buy their own antiques. Almost everyone in the village knows Brian Linden.[6,7]

The Lindens have been interview by major TV companies such as CCTV and NY Times.[6,7]

The compound that the Lindens own, YangZhouRan is only for educational groups.[6,7]

Information From Local Contacts:

 Mr. Zhao (the retired security guard)[10]

  • Mr. Zhao first started working in the Linden Center (XiLinYuan) around his 60s. Then later on, he was transferred to YangZhouRan to continue on with his job. 
  • If Mr. Zhao was still able to work as a security guard, he would if the Lindens need him. If not, then Mr. Zhao would just leave to do his own things.
  • When Mr. Zhao was working in YangZhouRan, the Lindens were treating him as if he was part of their family. 
  • When Mr. Zhao first starting working as a security guard, his first impression of the Lindens was very good. As what I said before, the Lindens treated Mr. Zhao as if he was part of their family. 
  •  

Mr. Linden[8]

  • The local villagers have never in their life seen so many foreigners all at once. They feel proud that they are here living in their village. 
  • The Linden family owns another compound called YangZhouRan. 
  • The greatest impact that the Linden family and Center has on the village would probably the pride in the culture.
  • The local villagers has view them as a family that has left the states. This is paradise for them. Leaving such a wealthy and comfortable country and come to a very rule part of China.
  • The main purpose of the Lindens coming to Xizhou is preserving their culture. This has made the villagers very proud of this culture. Many of the villagers congratulate them; they hold them in great esteem.
  • The Linden Center has an average of 20-25 guests each night. Most of them are foreigners. Xizhou has never seen so many foreigners all at once in the past.
  • This allowed the villagers to interact and have a much more understanding of foreigners. The foreigners who had come to the Linden Center are not here to have a luxurious stay and hide in their rooms. They are really here to interact with the local people and understand the local traditions. That curiosity is what brought them to come to this wonderful place, Xizhou.
  • To the local people, this has been a real sense of pride when outsiders have come in to learn more about the culture and traditions.
  • The Linden Center is considered heroes to the antique owners in Xizhou. 

The Linden Center Tour Guide[11]

  • During the Cultural Revolution, the Lindens had to take down the words that were carved in front of the main entrance. 
  • For the front door, there are three different layers. One of the layers is to prevent rainwater from damaging the front door.  The local people believe that the three layers of the roof will bring good luck to the people. 
  • On the front door, a Phoenix was carved to represent the females while the Dragon was carved to represent the males. 
  • The former owner of the Linden Center believes the every single woman has a higher position than anyone else in the family. This is one of the many ways of honoring women. 
  • Around all three-court yards on the second floor, you see carvings of animals, plants or people. They are all hand carved. 
  • The white wall you see when you first walk into the Linden Center is used for reflecting light off and into the rooms. It is also used for reflecting bad luck away. Some walls like that have walls written on them for good luck. 
  • In the front desk, you see a portrait of the former owner, Mr. Yang PingXiang. Mr. Yang had four children, two daughters and two sons. Three of them passed away while the only one left is his youngest daughter. She was the one who donated the portrait of her father to the Linden Center. She is still living in XizhuanBaNa.
  • The library right now used to be Mr. Yang's room.
  • The circular block of stone outside of the kitchen used to be a well. Back then, people would take water out from the well using a bucket and use the water for cooking. The water was from underground. Long ago, people were able to drink the water just like that. But now that there has been construction going around, the water has been becoming dirtier and dirtier. 
  • The dining room used to be an area to raise chickens.
  • The paintings above the bar in the dining room were imported from England. The roof of the bar is the original one from back then. 
  • The third courtyard was used to raise horses and the two doors on both sides were for the horses to gallop around.
  • The grey blocks in the TV room and Conference room was an area for people to worship their ancestors. 
  • The army lived here in the Linden Center that’s why the compound wasn't so damaged during the Cultural Revolution. 
  • The third courtyard to the terrace wasn't that big. It was extended to make the area bigger.
  • The office in the main courtyard used to be a gift shop for the hotel guest. Because they needed an office, they took down the gift shop to make more space. 

Mr. Yang (the Golden Flower Restaurant owner)[12]

  • Mr. Linden loved Mr. Yang's alcohol. Whenever he went to hike up a mountain, he always brings Mr. Yang's alcohol. 
  • In 2004, Mr. Linden traveled to many provinces in China and finally found Xizhou. He met up with Mr. Yang and then from then on became great friends. Jeanee and Brian thought that the Yang's family was a great place for them to build China's culture and antiques.
  • Brian and Jeanee and their two kids sold their house in their hometown and moved to Xizhou. Brian bought the Yang family's compound from the government. They paid a lot of money to repair the Linden Center.
  • The first thing that the Linden family did when they came to Xizhou was to preserve the antiques and artifacts. The second thing was that Brian "built" a bridge with China and America. He's a person who helps the countries relationships and prevents them from fighting. Mr. Linden is very famous here in Xizhou.
  • There are 10 foreigners who committed most of the time and contributed to China. One of them was Mr. Linden.

Mr. Yang (the Antique shop owner)[13]

  • Whenever the local villagers or tourists (who aren't from the Linden Center) go to Mr. Yang's antique shop, he makes them pay the actual price. But when the hotel guests from the Linden Center goes to Mr. Yang's shop, he gives them a discount since they are good friends with the Linden family.
  • Most of the Linden Center staff are very rich. So when they go to Mr. Yang's shop to buy antiques, they just buy it because of the amount of money they have. They don't bargain for anything. 

Answers To Previous Questions (from Phase 1):

1] How is your daily life in Xizhou any different from living in America?

Possible Answer: I believe that living in Xizhou has more of a not-up-to-date life, while in America is more of a modern life where everything is new. It must have taken the Linden family a while to fit in with the Xizhou community.  
Answer: Living in Xizhou may be a little difficult because of the different cultures and languages Americans and Xizhou villagers speak and do. As I interviewed Mr. Linden I realized that he tries to make the local villagers part of their community and family.

2] What do you think the villagers thought when you, foreigners came to live in Xizhou?

Possible Answer: Them being the first foreigners to live in Xizhou, this must have been the first time the locals have seen someone other than from their village. They must have had surprised faces with a big smile, welcoming the Linden family to their village. 
Answer: The local villagers felt very suspicious of the foreigners coming to their village. Just seeing 20 foreigners coming to Xizhou made them feel shocked and surprised at that many people. When the Linden family bought the compound (which is now called Linden Center) from the government, the local villagers thought that they would use the place and turn it to something very commercial. Now that the local villagers realizes their passion and why they are here, they began to encourage them. They treated the Lindens like family.

3] Did you ever had the feeling of moving back to the states?

Possible Answer: I do not think they ever thought about moving back to the states since they wanted to live in Xizhou to pusure their dream.
Answer: When I interviewed Mr. Linden, I found out that facing the challenges here enables them to learn more about the Xizhou people, their culture and traditions. The possible answer would most likely stay the same as the actual answer. 

4] What were your first impressions of the local Xizhou villagers?

Possible Answer: My first thought would have been that they were really shocked to see foreigners in their village, since I'm sure that they never or been a while since they saw someone outside from their village.  
Answer: They were really shy and curious about why there are foreigners living in Xizhou. But you can tell that they local villagers are very friendly and warm-hearted behind those shy eyes. 

5] Did you feel like you were going to fit in with the Xizhou community?

Possible Answer: I feel that they would definitely fit in because of the hospitality and kindness of the locals. 
Answer: Definitely because of how the Lindens always wanted to pursue their dreams here in Xizhou. 

6] Did you have to change some of your clothing to fit in the Xizhou community?

Possible Answer: During the Lock-In, Mr. T and Ms. Mai discussed with us about the clothing we were suppose to bring. If the U shaped bone (the one right below your neck) was exposed, you would have to cover it up. Short shorts are also not allowed because it will disrespect their culture and traditions.  
Answer: I have realized that the weather in America is almost the same throughout the day. Now that I have been in staying in Xizhou for 18 days, the weather here changes everyday. It gets very chilly in the morning and night and starts to warm up during the day. I'm sure they didn't have to change their clothing to fit the Xizhou community. Just wearing a couple more layers of clothing to keep warm. 

7] During your first couple weeks of living in Xizhou, how did the locals treat you?

Possible Answer: I believe that there will be different perspectives of the locals of the Linden family coming to live in their village. Some may be feeling that the foreigners do not belong in their village while others treat them with love as if they are one whole family. 
Answer: In the beginning, the local villagers felt curious about why there are foreigners coming to live in their village. Later as they found out that the Lindens were here for to pursue their dreams, they started to make the Lindens feel as if they were part of their very own family. 

8] For the Linden family to be living in Xizhou, how did it affect the life of the villagers?

Possible Answer: I believe that when the Linden family came to live in Xizhou, it made the villagers curious about why they are doing this and as well as extended their knowledge about their journey when they ask questions. I think that this also helped the villagers with memory lost whenever they talk about the Linden's journey.  
Answer: When the Lindens moved to Xizhou, this made a 'bridge' with the Americans and the Chinese. This helped the countries with their relationships and prevents them from fighting. This also gave the local villagers a chance to work and earn money to support their family.

9] Where there any difficulties making friends with the locals?

Possible Answer: I believe that there should be some difficulties making friends since communicating with one another was challenging. 
Answer: When I'm walking through the Linden Center, I sometimes hear Mr. Linden speaking mandarin to the other hotel guests. Speaking in the language that the local villagers speak is slightly difficult to understand. 

10] What was your first impression of the village? 

Possible Answer: They might have had an uneasy feeling when they were walking down the village to their home, since the locals would probably might have gathered around them, curious. 
Answer: Living in the states, everything there is up to date. The architecture is all-modern during this time. Also, how strong the buildings are when they look as if they are going to collapse any minute.

Sources

[1] http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/10/village-dreamers/307...

[2] http://www.gokunming.com/en/blog/item/1180/interview_the_linden_centre_i...

[3] http://www.linden-centre.com/

[4] http://www.lindensgallery.com/about-us/

[5] Mr. Craig for the Three-To-Fives interview (28 January 2014)

[6] Fay for the Three-To-Fives interview (28 January 2014)

[7] Annaliese for the Three-To-Fives interview (28 January 2014)

[8] Mr. Linden for the Three-To-Fives interview (28 January 2014)

[9] Mr. T for the Three-To-Fives interview (28 January 2014)

[10] Mr. Zhao, the retired security guard for the Local Contacts (3 February 2014)

[11] The Linden Center Tour for the Local Congacts (4 February 2014)

[12] Mr. Yang, the Golden Flower Restaurant owner for the Local Contacts (6 February 2014)

[13] Mr. Yang, the Antique shop owner for the Local Contacts (11 February 2014)

The information that I gathered together was mainly focused on how the Linden Center impacted the local villagers and village. I also found some background information but that was just for myself to learn more about the Center. Most of the information that I gather was the perspectives of the people I interviewed. I wanted to find what they thought of the Linden family coming to Xizhou and how they like/dislike about it. When I interviewed my local contacts, the main question I was asking for was whether or not the Linden family or Center has impacted them and in what ways. I have interviewed multiple local contacts and I asked them almost the same questions. I have done this to make sure that the information that I have been told is true. There are tons of questions that I want to ask about the Linden Center but they are all not related to the main thing that I want to research more about. They mostly consist of questions about the background information of the Linden Center. Hopefully, I will be able to include that. 

In this Phase, I have done a lot of research about the Linden Center and the family. I have also interview local villagers in the village about their point of In Phase 4, I will be asking and answering questions in preparation of my final product. 

Comments

Hey! My name is Vivian, I'm 14 years old and this will be my 4th year here at SAS. I've lived in New Jersey, Singapore and currently in Shanghai but I am originally from New York. Some of my hobbies include swimming, drawing, listening to music and playing the piano. I'm going to miss the blue skies, starry nights and the nicest local villagers I have ever met. I hope the rest of you guys will enjoy Xizhou as much as I did :)