Farewell for now…

After 11 beautiful days, we have reached the end of our trip. I can speak for everyone when I say that this trip has taught us so much more than how to say 你好 (ni ha- hello). China has revealed so much of itself to us, and in turn, it has peeled back our own layers. I have found more of myself in China. Before going to this trip, I visited our Intermission Bulletin Board and saw a quote posted: “There is a saying that someone who visits China for a week will go home and write a book about it, someone who spends a month there will write no more than an article, and someone who remains for a year or more will be unable to write anything.” When I read the quote for the first few times, I truly had no idea what the author was trying to express. It didn’t make any sense to me. Wouldn’t staying in China for longer give the write more to write about? How can more to say limit one’s words? Throughout my trip to China, these words and questions lingered in the back of my mind. For the first half of my trip, I still didn’t agree with the quote and didn’t understand it. However, as the trip continued I began to get a much better grasp of the quote. I had the realization during one of our reflection conversations at the end of the day. Someone was trying to talk about how they felt about China and their observations and said, “I’m honestly so confused, it’s like every time I finally feel like I have a grasp of what China is, it slips from my fingers.” This is what the author is trying to tell us, and also what I now have to try to tell other people. China is a paradox, and it does not fit one narrative. It is both a country of traditional methods, and economic and technological advances unlike any other. It is infused with the rush of billions, and the patience and steady pace of years of labor used to craft intricately, beautiful buildings and artifacts. It is both the past and the future. They strive for both industrialization and cleaner air with vibrant trees. And I could not begin to explain or understand why this is the case. I have loved trying to figure this country out, but I believe that it was never meant to be understood. The varying facets of this place allows any kind of person to find themselves here, and there is true beauty in its welcome. I cannot wait to come back to China when I have the chance to further investigate its mystery. China is an enigma, a contradiction, and a haven, and it has rendered me speechless. -Gabby Lowe

 

Today, to start off our final day here in China we had a nice sleep in and headed out for the day at 9. Hosted by Angela Yuan’s parents, we toured the National Museum of China and explored the history of this complex, beautiful country. After spending time in the museum, we enjoyed a delicious meal at Sue Cuisine, where some students , and Mr. Weathers, sampled some interesting parts of a fish served at lunch. The best part of the meal was the tiny mandarine oranges that were absolutely delicious. We then headed to a cultural performance center where we received an outstanding performance in traditional Chinese music and art. Afterwards, we were given the opportunity to try the different traditional instruments and meet the musicians. Although most of them did not speak English, we were still able to communicate through body language and began learning the techniques of these different instruments. Something I have started to gain a deeper understanding of is the universal language of the arts. Whether it be with my dancing, Clara’s drawings, Gabby’s musical abilities, Sofie’s amazing photos, or listening to the traditional Chinese music today, they have a way of calling to people from all over. Today was an amazing opportunity to once again connect with new people over the language barrier and appreciate the beauty of the art they produced. I have learned so much about China and myself on this trip, and look forward to continuing my discovery of the importance and influence of the arts in my life and how it relates to others. I am sad this trip has come to an end but am extremely grateful for the amazing experiences I have had the past 11 days. I look forward to coming home to share what I have learned and anxiously wait for another opportunity to travel here again! -Anna Murray

Lunch

Dinner

National Museum

Lunch at Sue Cuisine

Dinner

From Stomach Infection to Smiles

After climbing the Great Wall Sunday, I realized my stomach was not feeling normal. After a surprising episode having to do with my intestines sunday night vera and I knew it was time to go to a clinic. Six hours at the clinic provided us with the information that I had a fever and a bacterial infection in my stomach. We came back to the school and for a day and a half and i treated myself with an entire season of Hart of Dixies and multiple bathroom trips. This morning I felt ready to embark on the adventures China had in store for us. At the National Museum I spent a lot of time gawking at many outstanding paintings of Mao. Then I perfected my museum walk in attempt to fit in. After we went out to lunch and ate eyeballs and tongues of fish. I got lost for 20 minutes on my way back from the bathroom, but Sofie and Anna found me eventually. Then we traveled to this Arts and Culture Center and listened to some very inspiring traditional Chinese music and learned to play the instruments. After we went and had a very good relaxing dinner in this beautiful space on a roof full of plants. A huge thank you to Angela Yuan’s parents for hosting us! -Sonali Butensky

Tencent

Our last day with Tencent was an exciting way to end our visit in China. We were first shown a presentation describing the process of Tencent’s Penguin Pictures making a film or TV series, using its upcoming series The Message as an example. After a replenishing cup of coffee at the Sculpting in Time Café, we were driven to the countryside of Beijing, where a not-yet-released tv series called The Golden Eyes was being filmed. The producer’s assistant led us around the set. Although we could not take pictures, we were amazed with the elaborate and realistic sets made to look like archeological sites. Then, we watched the scenes being filmed, which allowed us to see the difficulty in getting a movie scene exactly right. Personally, my understanding of the filming process was limited before today. I never took into account the conditions that the environment provided (being the cold) or the amount of time it took to manage a scene with skillful acting and precision of the cameras. Finally, after waiting in the cold warehouse building for over an hour, we were able to take a picture with one of the actors, a Chinese celebrity called Wang Yuexin. Today we truly experienced the extent of Chinese hospitality and generosity, as we were hosted kindly by Tencent and guided by friendly and funny employees, Nana and Rime. Later in the day we were treated to a musical performance and dinner by Porter’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Yuan. Though we are sad our time in Beijing has come to an end, we are happy to have ended our trip with a fun day and we will certainly remember this moment forever. We have been left with a wonderful impression of China thanks to the people we have met, and we definitely hope to return someday. – Marisol Carty

1 thought on “Farewell for now…

  1. Miao hwang

    As a Chinese native speaker, I never had to think before I speak it. But the longer I teach, the more complicated I discover Chinese language and its philosophy are. I solute millions of nonnative speakers learning Chinese language and culture.

    After you live in China a year or more, you learn so much that you don’t know where to start so you are unable to write anything about China. That is what the quote is saying. But don’t let that stop you from learning Chinese language and Chinese people. It is a lot of fun and it all make sense once you get the hang of it.

    Reply

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