Lishui is the nickname for my uncle, a farmer who has lived all his life in the suburbs of Tianjin, a big city in northeastern China. Whenever people talk about Lishui, my mother’s older brother, they always say: “Lishui is a nice guy, honest, always in a good mood.” As a young child, when I heard him coming to visit, I would rush out of the house, climb onto his shoulders, and pull his ears.

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