Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Day 30, Part II: Getting over the hump

Before going into the details of another exciting day at our internships, here is a snapshot from last night. My host mom subscribes to the folk wisdom that walking one hundred steps after dinner makes you live to ninety nine. We headed out by the river, teeming with kids and families out jogging, walking, and zipping around on mopeds. A little further out, a group was starting up the square dancing that we saw first in Anhui. Yesterday we saw an impromptu concert being held under a bridge by the river. It featured accompaniments of some older songs with a saxophone, an acoustic guitar,  an accordion, and a traditional two-string instrument called the erhu. Several old folks watching the performance, making it into a round of karaoke.

As for this morning, I was sent off to the bus stop, stomach full of fruits and a red bean bun. I actually arrived early to our office, home to The Nanjinger, an expat magazine. Jessica G and I have been charged with writing articles tackling the tricky topic of Morality. Shortly after lunch and submitting first drafts of our articles, our bosses took us on a field trip to an art exhibit at Chenguang 1865 Creative Industry Park.

The exhibit in question actually featured a group of local artists along with several American artists based in St. Louis. Nanjing and St. Louis are sister cities, and actually represent the first such relationship between China and the United States. The exhibit, River to River, creates a connection between the great Mississippi and Yangtze rivers. The city of Nanjing played host to the Americans for a month, facilitating cultural exchange through art. Sounds a little bit like a group of college students I know!

Speaking of which, Jessica and I had the great pleasure of meeting a delightful pair of elementary schoolers while making our way around the exhibit. They were there on a school field trip and their teachers surreptitiously encouraged them to practice their English with us. No problems there because their English was leaps and bounds better than our Chinese!

Just after making our way back to the office building, we reunited with the rest of the group near the Nanjing Railway Station. It only goes to show how close we've all become that a few days away from each other felt like an eternity. From there we made our way to the home of Hu Jie. Prior to traveling, one of our assignments included watching one of the documentaries of Hu Jie. That powerful film, Spark, chronicled the activities and the fate of several university students involved in a magazine working to report the truth of the Great Famine.

Hu Jie's films and artwork tend to focus on the persecution of intellectuals during China's Cultural Revolution, and other dark truths gone untold. Despite the horrors of his subject matter, we found him to be an excellent host, an easy-going person, and happy to answer our many questions. These ranged from his observations about generational views of Chairman Mao to how he was able to diffuse his works while under such close watch. 
After this dialogue, we made our way to the top floor of a nearby hotel where we were treated to dinner in a revolving restaurant. Now home at last, I think I'll join my host family in watching a British film, dubbed into Mandarin, starring the man who plays Captain America!

Sydney M.

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