“Our family name is Fan. Our elders decided that our generation would all have the same middle name. So my cousins are Chang Hung, Chang Zhi, and Chang Bo. And I am Chang E. It means very beautiful woman. Do you know the mid-autumn festival? She is the beautiful girl with long hair that goes up to the moon. That is Chang E. Here, let me get a book and show you.”
And so rattles off Fan Chang E, known to clients by her English name, Fanny. She has been working for Tammy’s Wins Arts and Framing Gallery for ten years now. The shop has had various locations in Shunyi in that time, but finally settled at the Pinnacle Plaza branch. Fanny came straight from her native city of Xiangyang in Hubei when she was just 16. Having already known shop owner Tammy for many years, her parents allowed their Fanny come to Beijing to work in the shop, where she is responsible for framing and for selling local gifts popular with the expat crowd.
“I get to go home once a year, on Chinese New Year, to see my parents. They are farmers, and they are very busy, so they have never been able to come to Beijing to see where I work. I was born in the year of the rabbit; so was my father, who is now 62. And my sister. She’s 12 years older than me, she’s now 38. I think people who are born in the same year get along very well.”
Fanny disappears to get another book to show the characteristics of a person born in the year of the rabbit. “Meticulous,” her tongue trips on the long word. Then she refers to the Chinese equivalent in this bilingual guide to the animals of the Chinese zodiac. “Jing xin. Ah yes, that’s me. I’m very careful and I pay attention to detail.” Her English is impressive, considering she says she came to Beijing with poor English and has improved it via her daily interactions with her clients. She laughs heartily when I out that a framer like her must, out of necessity, be careful and pay attention to detail. “Ah yes, that’s right, that’s right.”
She is a cheerful young lady who not only knows her business; she is also confident among clients and engages in comfortable banter with them. When asked if she could pose for a photograph, she directed it herself saying, “I want to stand here by the frames, because I want to advertise the shop!” The long-standing Shunyi business has a gem in Fanny. Come to the Pinnacle Plaza branch of Tammy’s and ask for Fanny’s help with your framing needs, discuss any of the souvenirs or home accessories, or during a lull in her work day, just simply be with her and talk shop.
Tammy’s Wins Arts & Framing Gallery
Daily 9.30am-6.30pm Door 702, Pinnacle Plaza, 99 Yuyang Lu, Tianzhu Economic Zone , Shunyi District (8046 5266, 158 0159 6180) 顺义区天竺开发区裕翔路99号荣祥广场702
Photo by Dana Cosio-Mercado
Dana is the beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Beijing in 2011 (via Europe) with her husband, two sons and Rusty the dog. She enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new food. In her free time, she can be found exploring the city and driving along the mountain roads of Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu.