Monday, 27 June 2016 18:50

SUNY Students Find Their "Nana" in Oswego

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SUNY Students Find Their "Nana" in Oswego Submitted photo

Three SUNY Oswego foreign exchange, senior students moved off campus and into a house right next to Ree Beshures. It was a lucky day for three girls named Na, Jie, and Xiaomin and Beshures a.k.a. “Nana”.

After a very short time there, the three girls invited the Walker family, from whom they rented the home, and their neighbor (Nana) over for dinner. That dinner solidified a lasting relationship. The three girls frequently visited Beshures during their time attending college at SUNY Oswego.

NanaAndGrandchildren MainPicOver the course of the developing relationship, the girls would visit their Nana, bringing her traditional Chinese dishes, stopping over to talk or simply just watch television with her. The girls have always called her “Nana”. "All my grandchildren call me Nana, and the girls treated me as if I was their grandmother too," Beshures said. That winter, the girls stayed in Oswego over Christmas break and Beshures invited them to her home for her annual Christmas Eve party. "Every Christmas Eve I have my family over, the girls were just like family." said Beshures. On Christmas Day, Nana gave the girls SUNY Oswego jackets as a present. They all remained close for the remainder of the school year.

When the girls graduated from SUNY Oswego in May 2011, Jie's mother, Sheng Huilan flew out from China to attend the ceremony. Beshures, along with her extended family, had a get-together in honor of the three girls graduating. "We gave them cards and flowers and congratulated them on graduating," Beshures stated.

"When the girls left to go back to China, I thought it was doubtful I'd hear from them again but I did!" Now six years later, we find that Na, Jei, and Xiaomin still keep in touch with their “Nana”.

Na Jie XiaominSince going home, all three girls have married and have children of their own. Na, Jei, and Xiaomin still send letters that include photos of their children, holidays, weddings and other milestones in their lives to Nana. Nana sends birthday and holiday cards to the girls as well and once a year, Beshures is able talk to them on the phone to catch up with the girls activities.

In the fall semester of 2015, a student of Xiaomin (now a High School teacher in Shanghai, China) named Qili friended Nana. Xiaomin told Qili that she should get in touch with Beshures and she did. "Qili reminds me of being with the three girls” Beshures said.

The four (now adult) girls have always referred to Beshures as Nana. Beshures stated that she thought she had eight grandchildren but including her "adopted" Chinese grandchildren she is now, twelve grandchildren strong.

One day on the phone Qili Facetimed (a video chat option for iPhones) with Xiaomin so their “Nana” could see Xiaomin. Nana updated Xiaomin that she now has 12 Great-Grandchildren. Xiaomin corrected Nana saying "No Nana, you have three Chinese Great-Grandchildren as well." Xiaomin was referring to Jei's baby, Na's baby and her own child as Nana's adoptive Great, Great-Grandchildren. “That makes a total of 15 Great-Grandchildren!” Nana admitted that when Xiaomin said that, it made her tear up. "I'm Nana to all of them!"

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