Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 17: Artists on the Rise

​Today is the day that marks that we’ve been through half of our language classes here at Nanjing University! As usual, we had language classes from 8AM to 12PM and language pledge from 8AM to 6PM to practice Mandarin. However, today’s language class was especially memorable because we finally meshed with the kids in our class from Canada. All of us went out to grab lunch together and Northeastern kids had the opportunity to connect with the Waterloo kids. We talked about the similarities and differences between our two worlds and how things we’ve been through are so similar. It was refreshing to meet new people, be on the same page, and exchange individual experiences and lessons we learned from our study abroad thus far in China. In addition, the random restaurant we stumbled into had amazing food and prices (only 12Qua or about $2US!!). 

Following lunch, we had language partners to go to. I have to admit I was not that excited to meet with my language partner because I was already so overwhelmed by language classes Monday to Friday for four hours each. However, as soon as I began my session with my language partner, time flew by. I learned how to use the new words we learned in class through dialogue and flashcards. Honestly, I feel like I’m learning the language faster than I’ve ever had before.  

​After language partners, I went back to my room to rest up and spend some time doing homework and reviewing the chapters. At 5:30, a bunch of us went to a Classic Chinese Style Restaurant (which was completely random again). I had rice in soup with beef belly and vegetables, and everyone else got stir-fry noodles. The rice in soup reminded me of home because my mom would love to mix the two (it apparently goes down better and is a comfort food). The noodles were a perfect blend of salt and MSG. Something I love about Nanjing is that you can walk anywhere you want without a plan, and ultimately end up somewhere awesome with lots to eat and do. Also since food in Nanjing is so affordable, you don’t really have to worry how much you’re going to spend. 

Following dinner, we ran back to Nanjing University just in time for our second Calligraphy class. Last class, we practiced “Seal style” and this week we’re doing “Clerical Style.” Seal Style is a more ancient method for writing and has more rounded characters. Meanwhile, Clerical Style is a more recent style and has characters with sharper edges. Our calligraphy LaoShi told us that Chinese is written from right to left and from top to bottom. We began writing four character idioms with our name on the left on several sheets of practice paper. When we felt ready, we would begin painting on the “Sen Ge” paper, or the final masterpiece. It’s nerve wreaking to write on such a piece of paper since one can only create a dozen in a year. I began the final piece by folding the paper in the layout (the wrinkles disappear when framed). I was extra careful with each “hun (horizontal stroke)” and “Na (downward stroke);” remembering to breathe through each stroke. I had a difficult time trying to put a “Goose tail” on each character. Ultimately I messed up some parts of the characters and my name almost bled through the paper. LaoShi finished the canvas off with two stamps and it was done. 

Caton B., Andy, Jared R., and I then went to McDonalds to get some ice cream. We finished the night off with some homework and reviewing. Northeastern huskies are resting up tonight, excited for tomorrow’s language class and our trip to Anhui!!!

- Michelle F.

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