Chapter 76: The Bench on Su Causeway

Park bench
John and I went to Su Causeway in Hangzhou not for the view or a walk, but to find the bench where we first kissed.

There are endless reasons to visit Hangzhou’s Su Causeway. A stroll with a lake view. A walk through — or rather on — history (it was, after all, named for Su Dongpo, the Song Dynasty poet). A brief respite from city smog. Or even just to fawn over the lotus blooms that grace the lake in the summer.

You don’t go to see a bench. At least, you don’t — unless you’re John and I, a couple minted beside the shores of this breezy little lake just a little over a year ago, on one otherwise unspectacular bench.

“This is it, isn’t it, sweetie?” I asked, pointing to the bench closest to one of the causeway’s bridges — a bench that happened to hold an entire family, curious why John and I were ogling their chosen seat.

“Yes, it’s ‘our bench,'” John beamed. We had secretly christened it our own bench, with John often suggesting that we plant a tree nearby, to commemorate a love that grew right from this very spot.

At least, we could commemorate the spot itself, in photo. Even as other empty benches beckoned people to sit and enjoy them, we wanted only one. That is, if that family would help us.

“Excuse me,” I asked in Chinese. “Would you take our photo together, on this bench?” The family of three must have wondered why this bench, and why this foreigner — they looked as confused, as though I had just spoken English to them. But their son, trembling a bit, accepted my camera, and then they made room for John and I to capture this moment, on Su Causeway.

But sometimes, the moment captures you. John and lingered on in sentimental serenity, breathing in the place and its memories, and staring into each others eyes with the same romantic aspirations we had that summer. Unfortunately, we lingered a little too late — and I missed my planned train back to Shanghai.

The moment, however, was worth it.

How has sentimentality taken you on a journey — in China, or elsewhere?


Memoirs of a Yangxifu in China is the story of love, cultural understanding and eventual marriage between one American woman from the city and one Chinese man from the countryside. To read the full series to date, you can start at Chapter 1, or browse the Memoirs of a Yangxifu archives.

Did you enjoy this article?
Sign up now and receive an email whenever I publish new blog posts. We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time.
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

6 thoughts on “Chapter 76: The Bench on Su Causeway

  • June 23, 2010 at 2:44 am

    aww u missed the train.. that’s so romantic 😀

  • June 23, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Awww. That’s really sweet. Totally worth it to miss your train!

  • June 23, 2010 at 7:10 am

    That’s really sweet. We have the Cheesecake Factory and the Salvador Dali museum… ha ha. They are the first few things we did after we met. I know sometimes it seems too mushy sometimes, but things like your bench really make for a great love story a couple can cherish for years to come.

  • June 23, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    How romantic! The little things really do stir up such emotion and memory! I still fondly remember taking the Amtrak to Chicago twice a month to visit Dave. Or meeting him at the train station in Ann Arbor when he came to visit me.

  • June 23, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    You guys are so .. cute and romantic… My husband and I are just crazy I think.. laughing and teasing each other all the time… you guys are like… the “Twlight” movie.. well without vampires and wolves of course… My husband is not romantic in the traditional way.. that most women love.. he has his own ways.. that catch you by surprise… like surprising you with an ice cone at work, or helping take our bra off at night, or just staring at you and smiling until you ask him what!! and him saying .. your just really beautiful… (smile)… our special spot in China… ummm….now that I think.. we dont have one.. but.. we have special moments that we remember.. and we visit those often in our mind.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.