Chronicles of Nanyang – Lantern Festival and Reflections
This article series is from a Hills Learning student, Loraine, who took our intensive course over the summer of 2012. She writes about living in China and her experiences learning about the Chinese language and culture.
Ni hao from Nanyang. Spring has been slow in coming to China, here one day and gone the next. We are all still wearing our coats, both indoors and out.
In my last letter, I had just come back from my winter travels and Chinese new year. But China was not finished celebrating just yet. Lantern Festival was still to come, and I’ve attached a few photos of how I spent the holiday in Nanyang. As before, I was invited to spend it with a family. We began the evening with Peking duck, and then went to the riverside, where people wrote their new year’s wishes on lanterns, illuminated them, and sent them up into the night sky. It’s quite a spectacle to see so many lanterns floating in the darkness, but I hated to think of the aftermath, when they all descend on the city the next morning.
Before returning to work, I got in a few more days of travel, spending a few days in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province. My touring there included a visit to the Yellow River (Huang he in Chinese). The highlight of the area was not the river itself, however, but a large yard full of peacocks and peahens, about 300 of them, all roaming about freely and showing off their plumage. Like many Chinese cities, Zhengzhou has a lot of activities for children; I’ve attached a photo of myself in front of an amusement park ride in one of Zhengzhou’s many parks.
I just started my second semester at Nanyang University, and for the first time here, I have three men in one class. English majors are predominantly women, so this is big news. As before, English Corner meets every Tuesday night, and some of my own students are heeding my advice that this is a great place to improve their conversation skills. In a country where it’s hard to speak English on a daily basis, this is the next best thing.
Now Passover is coming, and as always, it’s a challenge to stay close to one’s roots while on the road. The other day, I received a huge shipment of matzah, which had to go through two or three interpreters to reach me. Although I may be the only Jew in Nanyang, I’m slowly finding Jewish communities throughout the country, mainly in major cities. In any case, after sharing so many Chinese holidays, I’m really looking forward to one of my own.
And speaking of holidays, I hope this holiday season will be one of joy and renewal for you, your family and friends.
Best wishes from Nanyang,