Tamar Ling Jackson of Xiamen, China

    “Tamar Ling Jackson of Xiamen, China ,” Friend, July 1985, 18

    Making Friends:

    Tamar Ling Jackson of Xiamen, China

    My mother and father and my two little brothers and I live in Xiamen (SHAW-mun), China. This city is a very beautiful seaport on the coast of the Chinese mainland just west of Taiwan. It has been a famous place for hundreds of years. People from Europe and the United States lived here from about 1842 until the 1940s. However, we are the only American family living here now.

    We are the first non-Chinese family to rent a home on beautiful Gulangyu (GOO-lon-gyoo) Island since the Americans and Europeans left about forty years ago. There are about one million Chinese people in this area. Gulangyu is located one-half mile off the coast of Xiamen. It is almost tropical, with palm trees, banana trees, banyan trees, and many beautiful flowers. In December beautiful, large poinsettias bloom everywhere. Because foreigners and Chinese who returned here from overseas have lived on this island in the past, many of the houses are large, European-style mansions. Some parts of this island look like they could be in Europe.

    My two brothers, Joseph and Joshua, and I attend a primary school in Gulangyu called the Lu Jau (LOO-jow) School. We are learning to read, write, and speak Chinese. We also have American classes at home with tutors and computers. Because we are the only foreign children in the whole area, we get a lot of attention from everyone. Recently we met the wife of Chou En-lai, the former premier of China; and we have been on a television program and had our pictures in the newspaper.

    There are four Christian churches in Xiamen, but there are no other Latter-day Saints here, so we have our own Sunday meetings at home. It is a good experience to sing, pray, and study the gospel as a family. I especially enjoy our family testimony meetings.

    It is exciting to live here. The people are friendly, the food is good, and the weather is warm and nice. I have many friends who love me and are very good to me.

    Between the blooming poinsettias on the balcony of their home, Tamar can see Xiamen in the background.

    Part of the old city on Gulangyu Island can be seen from the Jackson’s rooftop garden.

    A Chinese junk unfurls its sails in Xiamen Harbor.

    Sister Jackson visits one of her special friends in a small village near Xiamen.

    Three friends in nearby Jimei (GEE-may) squint in the bright sunlight.

    Tamar often visits with this elderly gentleman on her way to school.

    A tired friend of Tamar’s naps in his mother’s arms.

    Tamar and five of her schoolmates stop on a street in Gulangyu.