"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
April 19, 2013
Matchmaking in the 21st Century
by Dian Thomas

In China near the Forbidden City, along the moat that surrounds the Imperial City walls, is a plaque at the base of a grove of cypress trees that marks the spot where David O. McKay and Elder Hugh J. Cannon offered a Dedicatory Prayer for China in January 9, 1921. Often when I take Mormon groups to China they want me to take them to the park and show them the plaque and the place where the prayer was offered.

On one of my recent trips, I took several people into the park to find the plaque by the tree. After entering the park, I could see more than 200 Chinese senior adults all up and down the area where the tree is located. Each person stood behind a sheet of paper with Chinese writing and sometimes a photo of a young adult, which I guessed was their child. They were walking around talking to each other as they enjoyed the beautiful spring afternoon.

We walked up and down the grove of cypress trees while I looked for the place I wanted to show them. I soon spotted the tree and the place. A Chinese man had a small stool right on top of the plaque with a piece of white paper in front of it.

I motioned to see if he would move for a minute so I could show my guest the plaque. He seemed to get my sign language and got up and moved his stool. I still could not figure out what the event in the park was all about.

As we were leaving the park, I spotted someone that I thought could speak English. I asked him what was going on and he said that these were parents whose children had not married, and they had each prepared a sheet of paper with a description of their child.

He told me that this is often an event that takes place in the parks where a parent of a single unmarried child can make a date with another parent for their young adults to exchange a phone call perhaps make plans to go on a date.

I sent the photo to another Chinese friend and asked what was on the paper. I hoped she could share more about what happens at the park. She wrote back and told me that many Chinese young adults are so busy they do not have time to look for a date, so the parents (who are usually retired) go to the park with a sign in front of them to meet other parents who have children who also want a date.

She translated the writing on the photo and wrote back and told me this is what it says. “Permanent residence is Beijing, was born in 1957, August 21, the year of chicken, Divorce, no children. My apartment has two rooms and one hall.”

Looking for a mate for this year-of-the-chicken gentleman.

On a later trip, I was walking through the Temple of Heaven with a Chinese friend who doesn’t speak English. I saw another gathering of parents with signs and photographs on them. I gave my friend a puzzled look and she smiled while she put up her two index figures and began to put them together and them pull them apart. It did not take long for me to pick up on her sign language, which meant, “This is Chinese matchmaking.”

For Adventure Travel to see the world with Dian Thomas, go to www.DianThomas.com or write to info@dianthomas.com for more information.

She is the author of many wonderful books on outdoor camping and cooking and family fun. To learn more about her books go to www.DianThomas.com.

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About Dian Thomas

Dian Thomas was blessed with the good fortune to be born near and raised in the remote, breathtaking Manti-La Sal National Forest in southeastern Utah, where her father was the forest ranger. She took the skills she learned in the outdoors and turned them into a New York Times best-selling book, Roughing It Easy. Her appearance on the NBC's "Tonight" show with Johnny Carson boosted her into the national media scene, where she became a regular on NBC's "Today" show for eight years and then ABC's "Home Show" for six years. After more than 25 years of media exposure and 19 books, she now shares her practical insights and wisdom with audiences who want to savor life.

A former Relief Society president, Dian is currently serving as a visiting teacher. Visit her website at www.DianThomas.com

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