Mr and Mrs Tariq and their youngest son pose for a group photo in their apartment with the interpreter (L) in the College of Defense Studies (CDS) of the National Defense University (NDU) in Beijing on Nov. 23, 2016.
It was past 4 p.m. on Nov 23, on the campus of the College of Defense Studies (CDS) of the National Defense University (NDU) located in Beijing's Changping District, we came across Mr Tariq, who was taking a walk after concluding his afternoon classes. He prefers such cozy mode of exercise to more strenuous sports. After a few words of chatting, this hospitable Pakistani military officer invited us to his home for a visit.
The “home” of Tariq is actually a two-bedroom unit in an apartment building the college provides for foreign military students who have family members living with them.
In the sitting room, we saw Tariq's youngest son Zubi, 4 years old, still in kindergarten. The lovely little boy, blinking his big eyes, looked at us curiously.
Tariq told us the CDS has set up a kindergarten for children of the foreign military students.
Tariq is a brigadier general in Pakistan Air Force. He came to the CDS this September to attend a one-year-long defense and strategic study program. This is his first time studying in China, so he looked forward to it very much. Tariq's wife and their three sons also came to China with him.
“Pakistan and China have a time-honored deep friendship and people of the two countries treat each other like friends. So I feel at home here,” said Tariq when we asked him whether he is used to the life in China.
After two months of studies, Tariq has an increasing interest in China. When asked about what impresses him most in China, he mentioned China’s economy without any hesitation.
“I ever read articles on China’s economic development, so I am eager to know what China has done to achieve such a huge economic progress within decades.”
As we were talking, Mrs Tariq came back from a party arranged by the college for spouses of the students. Today they learned how to make traditional Chinese paper-cutting. Mrs Tariq liked it very much and showed her works to us.
Mrs Tariq said that she was also worried before coming to China about the language barrier, and what to do if they cannot get accustomed to the life here. But it turned out they worried too much: the college personnel have arranged everything for them and are ready to help for any difficulties they meet, she said.
The night shut in, Mrs Tariq stepped into the kitchen to prepare supper, while the kids and their father sat in the living room and waited for the family dinner. Though it was chilly cold outside, we were deeply touched by the warm home of Mr. Tariq.