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Tracking her homecoming

By Lin Shujuan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-01-30 07:37:34

Tracking her homecoming

Shen packs up for her journey back to her hometown in Sichuan province for the Spring Festival holiday. Lin Shujuan / China Daily

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A nanny who has returned to Sichuan from Beijing on a slow train for Spring Festival has much to celebrate and reflects on how far she has come since migrating a decade ago. Lin Shujuan trails how the rail trip fits into her life's journey.

Shen Xiaoxiang is glad she finally arrived home at dusk on Wednesday - just in time for the Spring Festival celebration that starts on Friday.

It has been a long journey for the 41-year-old Sichuan native who has been working in Beijing as a nanny for a decade.

The train that took her home is a temporary addition to increase rail capacity during the country's annual travel peak - the largest human migration on Earth. It's the slowest of its kind and takes 11 hours more to complete the 1,882-kilometer journey than the 29-hour K-category trains.

The train leaves at around 5 am. Shen's employer offered to pay for a cab to take her to catch the train early in the morning. She kindly refused and insisted on spending another eight sleepless hours the night before waiting at the station for fear of oversleeping and missing the train.

"Don't worry. I can cope," Shen says, chuckling.

She's so grateful for the additional train, which is slow but has tickets that are easily available. Two of her friends from the same village also took the train.

"We have one another for company," Shen says. "That makes the trip much easier."

It has been the best winter ever, she claims, and she has a lot to celebrate at the end of her grueling journey.

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