No, the title of this blog doesn’t really make sense in English or Chinese.
Classes finished in early January and I quickly learned that final exam season quite a lot of work from the instructor’s side, too. My roommates and I hunkered down and I managed to finish in time for my January 16 departure to San Francisco.
Arriving home into the warmth of a California winter was a tad surreal. Not because of the temperature, but because of the language. This was the longest stretch that I had ever lived outside of a majority English-speaking country and it was wild to think how easy communication would be. I had this intense urge to recklessly ask people questions, just because I could. When does this shop close? What is the temperature? What time is it? I didn’t need to brace myself, to listen for key words; I had confidence that I would understand!! It was also nice to see family and friends, of course.
From the west coast, I jumped to Japan on the way back to China. It was my first time there and such a fun trip! I made stops in Tokyo, Kanazawa and Kyoto along the way and stayed for about 8 days. It was interesting being in a neighboring country to China, especially given that the two have been in contact for so long. In Tokyo, for example, one of my highlights was the Nezu Museum, a beautifully designed art museum, which was showcasing paintings from the Edo Period. The works were stunning (pictures were not permitted) and accompanied by helpful guides in English. I was struck by how much inspiration in technique and subject matter the painters borrowed from Ming China. One piece that was particularly stunning was created for an emperor of China, using styles adapted from that country but with the addition of gold foil. It was such a lovely exhibit.
Now I am back in China and had the pleasure of hosting several visitors, which was fun for me and hopefully for them, too. It is exciting to look at China and Nanjing especially through fresh eyes again as I explain it for visitors. My sister and Matt were even brave enough to accompany me to that ever popular pastime in China, KTV or karaoke.
One highlight from the past week in Nanjing is the coming of spring! February and March bring the Nanjing International Plum Blossom Festival, the epicenter of which is a hill in the Purple Mountain Park called Plum Blossom Hill (梅花山). Apparently the hill hosts over 35,000 flowering trees and examples of 360 varieties. I went a few days ago with a friend and was so impressed! The blossoms are lovely. Nice start to semester two!