American floral designer blooms in Hainan
By / Lin Jianing / Updated: 17:30,02-June-2021

“If I have to choose a flower to represent my life in Hainan, it would be the peony,” American floral designer Elizabeth Chavira, who has been living in Haikou for six years, said.  

 
She finds the peony’s growth amazing. From a tightly closed bud, it develops into a large open bloom with a cluster of petals.


(Photo by Chen Mingwen)


“When I first arrived in Hainan, I was kind of shy and timid,” she explained the analogy. “But later on, I became more open to the surroundings, and started to discover the beauty of the life here.”

Rooted, the flower shop owned by Elizabeth’s husband Daniel, is one of the factors that made her take root in Hainan. Rooted has a varied clientele, which acquainted Elizabeth with the local community, warm and hospitable.
 
“I have a customer who comes every week. Every time he comes, I try my best to talk to him in Chinese. He said he would come more often to help me practice my Chinese,” Elizabeth said smilingly.

 (Photo by Chen Mingwen)

For her, designing flower arrangements is an art form, not just a means to earn her living.  “It is not about merely putting flowers together, it’s a process of creating,” she said. And Hainan makes her inspiration flow. She considers herself fortunate to have stayed here long enough to see acquaintances turn into friends, even family. Like the name Rooted suggests, she has become moored in this once foreign city.
 

(Photo provided by Elizabeth)

Elizabeth is fascinated by the city, all its details, from the vintage feel of the ancient architecture, like Qilou, which is a combination of Chinese and Western designs prevalent in southern China remarkable for the balconies on the upper floors that spill onto the streets, to the colorful new shops coming up. Buildings that the locals might find old-fashioned and dilapidated are full of exotic charm in her eyes.


(Photo by Lara Netherlands)

“Hainan is becoming a more foreigner-friendly city,” she said. “There are more products and services that are really tailored to foreign residents. I definitely want to stay here as long as possible.”

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