Chapter 36 Buy or NotAlright, I haven’t experience much of the world but I do know that the Suzhou garden on TV is much prettier than this… Lin Luoran tries to persuade herself. However, at the idea that this is the house she might buy, Lin Luoran immediately gives up to the scene in front of her eyes.
There is a little island with a bridge in the backyard. In the center of the island is two small bamboo rooms surrounded by green bamboos. Out of the corner gate, a cobblestone road leads all the way to the wood bridge. On both sides of the road, camellia flowers are thriving. Grape trellis is put up along the corner, and lots of bamboo poles are stuck in the field. Seems that lots of vegetables such as cowpea and loofah were growing here before.
On the left side of the backyard is a building with a delicate loft. You can have a view of the street when you go upstairs. This building has carved beams and painted rafters, and several small copper bells are hanging on the eaves.
The space between the wall and the pond is planted with vegetables, including several rows of cabbage which harvest in winter.
With all the bamboos and vegetables, it seems that this was a squire mansion in the ancient times. The question is that it is the 21st century now, and R City is a metropolis. Isn’t it weird that there is such a house in the downtown?
“Sister Wang, how much…is the house?” Lin Luoran swallows briefly. She guesses that her five million yuan is not enough to buy those wood houses, let alone the entire house which almost covers two acres of land.
Lin Luoran remembers that on the year she dropped out of school, the college sold an old campus downtown for eight million yuan per acre. Years have passed, and the housing price must have risen a lot.
Wang Miao’e shakes her head and points to the vegetable field, “You should ask the owner about this.”
Then Lin Luoran and Baojia notice that a man is standing behind the camellia flowers. He shows himself after hearing what Wang Miao’e just said— It is an old man in a straw hat who has silver hair and ruddy cheeks.
Wang Miao’e shows her rare charm and says, “Uncle Jia.”
Lin Luoran sees that the old man is smiling at her. She says in shyness, “Master Jia.” Instantly, Wang Miao’e is stunned.
“You know Mr. Jia?”
Mr. Jia nods, “Luoran is the new apprentice I took in lately.”
Wang Miao’e is surprised. Her family and Mr. Jia’s are friends for generations. She has known from childhood that her uncle Jia has real skills. Back in the days when she and Fatty Cui fell in love, she even brought him to see uncle Jia, hoping that he can take Fatty Cui in, so that elders in her family could agree to their marriage.
Of course, Fatty Cui was not qualified. However, he was unwilling to give up and said inappropriate words crankily, then he was kicked out by Mr. Jia with a thick stick.
The past is always beautiful. Thinking about her past, smile crawls all over Wang Miao’e face, “Luoran, I never thought that our relationship can be this close. We are meant to be friends!”
Mr. Jia waves at them and invites them to the bamboo room on the island. Tables and chairs made of bamboo are placed in the room. It turns out that it is a small tearoom.
Baojia, who is always tough, is now quelled by this sage-like old man and the refined bamboo room. Her gestures and expressions have become much gentler.
Lin Luoran blushes, “Master Jia, I don’t know this is your house…” This is the first time that she comes to her master’s home. She feels so embarrassed for not bearing any gift.
Mr. Jia seems to right look through her. He says while pouring tea for the three of them, “Doesn’t matter. Just make yourself at home. I know your personality. You could send that wild ginseng to your halfway master, and how can you be stingy?”
Lin Luoran’s face turns redder. She says meekly, “Sister Wang didn’t tell me that the house is this nice. I’m afraid that I may not afford it…” Lin Luoran concerns that her master may be in urgent need of money, thus she doesn’t want to disappoint him. Lin Luoran decides to make things clear that she really can’t afford this house for now.
Mr. Jia laughs, “How much do you have now?”
“Less than five million…”, which barely can cover one of the wood rooms.
Master Jia then asks about Lin Luoran’s job and her family background. He doesn’t laugh at her for being over-confident. Also, hearing that Lin Luoran intends to buy a house with garden in case her parents might get bored living in an apartment, Mr. Jia has more approval for Lin Luoran in his heart.
Lin Luoran is not from a rich family and she only has five million yuan. However, she does not begrudge to give her Tai Chi master a 500,000-yuan wild ginseng as gift. She is very nice to her parents. There’s no other explanation for her kindness except than that she is a real filial person.
“I have requested Miao’e to sell the house for 30 million yuan for me., but if you do want it, 20 million is ok… Don’t say no just yet. You can give me your 5 million as the down payment. I don’t need the money urgently, so you can give the rest of the money to Miao’e later.”
Though 20 million yuan is a sky-high price for ordinary people, Lin Luoran knows that only the land itself could be worth this much, let alone all the care and effort Mr. Jia had spent on the house and all these ancient architectures in it.
Baojia is almost chocked on tea not because of the sky-high price, but because that Mr. Jia lowers the price by 10 million for his apprentice. Why does she never encounter such a good deal?
The thing is, Baojia knows that Lin Luoran doesn’t have enough money. Does she have to gamble on stone again? Though Lin Luoran has been quite mysterious lately, could she be lucky every time? Baojia is starting to get anxious because of the house.
“Master Jia, why are you selling such a nice house if you don’t need urgent money?” This kind of peaceful and elegant old house is the best place to live out his life in retirement. Lin Luoran asks, worrying that the old man might have some difficulties.
“Don’t worry about that. I have been intended to move away and live with some old friends. This house is one of my family assets. Compared to giving it to my descendants, I’d rather sell it to someone who will cherish it.
Seeing that Lin Luoran still need time to think about it, Mr. Jia doesn’t urge her. He looks at the watch and says, stroking his beard, “It’s almost lunch time. Since you are here, you may have a taste of my cooking.”
Mr. Jia offers to cook for the girls, which even makes Wang Miao’e panic. She immediately casts a glance to Lin Luoran.
Lin Luoran gets Wang Miao’e meaning. She stands up and says that she can’t let her master do all the work. Mr. Jia agrees that she can go to the kitchen and help him out.
Unlike Commander Qin who enjoys oily meat, Mr. Jia’s cuisine is quite healthy.
For example, he is making a dish called “Fragrant Balls in the Fog”. Nobody can figure out what it is just from the name. The dish is mainly made of shrimp. Mr. Jia chooses fresh and clean shrimp and soaks them in shallot and ginger water to get rid of the fishy smell.
Two hours later, he gets the shrimp out and chops them into mince together with several slices of fat meat. Then he makes tea with tea leaves grown in the rain and fog of Mount Bell, mixes the tea into the shrimp mince and stir-fries them with pine nut. This dish also needs to be eaten with tomato sauce. It gives out an atmosphere of silence, calmness and elegance. It tastes extremely good.
The three of them don’t leave the house until the afternoon.
Baojia rubs her belly. She loves the Dried Bamboo Shoots with Ham. According to Mr. Jia, the bamboo shoots are from the bamboo in the backyard.
“Luoran, this house is so nice. Don’t you want to buy it?”
Looking at the Camphor tree, blue bricks, black tiles and red pillars, Lin Luoran is tempted. Her parents will love it, and the backyard has enough space for the boy to play in…
Should she buy it?