Connecting Mandarin and English,
A Tour of Nanchang
(October 19, 2008) (return
the 232 is as routine as driving home from WOU. The university is only the
third stop from the beginning of the route which is in the "suburbs"
so finding a seat is not difficult. After our stop the bus stops at several
other universities and within three more stops there's only standing room
and that may be limited to the door well. Out our windows we see the busstops
are filled with buses as well as people. It's Saturday and that may explain
the number of people and buses but the number of people continues to astound
At our destination we're met by our friends
Kan and Yiqi with whom we share lunch at a local restaurant. The goals of
the day are vague and so we plan a casual day looking for yarn and strolling
in the park. The park was around a lake and the day was warm on the verge
of hot for northerns like us. Some conversations were around our ailing
health and the reason for not walking too, and other conversations were
around the corruption among officials in China and how difficult it is to
prove anything and prosecute. My mind flashed on Senator Stevens from Alaska
and how he is being questioned about his acitivities.
There's that continuous sweet tension being
the China culture that says that the host should aggressively offer food
and the fact that as guests you can only eat so much. Within three hours
of a huge luncd we were set before dumplings and soup. We did say no before
we ate ourselves sick, but I think in this sweet struggle between the host
and guests, the guests won a couple battles but clearly lost the
A note about Chinese romance:
it is more important than others for you to realize that you are
reading one person's impressions. This may be one of those times.
is a time when young men and women find a special friend of the
opposite gender, and so we were a little surprised to see so little
pairing up or couples on campus at first. Now the picture has changed.
However, in the meantime we heard students talk about how if a boy
and girl walk together, even if leaving or going to class, they
are seen as a serious couple with a serious relationship. There
are no theaters or other apparent forms of activities that young
people can use to share time together as a date, so we don't know
what they might do. During our walk in a park of Nanchang today
we saw several couples walking and sharing time on a bench. On campus
one can also see similar scenes. Apparently after several weeks
of classes in the fall, students find time to become more serious.
Corner on the new campus, I asked "Do you have a boy friend?"
They were mostly girls and I didn't have a better opener. "No,
we're only freshman." was the response heard in unison. "We
have to study." And truly that is their concept; we're here
to study and having a boy friend takes too much time. In part there
remains a strong residue of the past that says once you've agreed
to a relationship, the boy dominates the activities and sets the
side of this picture are the girls that walk in pairs or trios,
arm in arm or hand in hand. It is completely acceptable and expected.
After reading some of the paragraphs from the students, it seems
there is a security is being together and close. This behavior is
American would be taken completely out of context and turned into
a point of gossip and rumor. Just as a Chinese girl walking in America
with a Chinese boy as perceived by another Chinese student.
marriages still occur, it's not very common among college girls.
Typically a father of a college girl has already made a decision
that his daughter will become educated and advance beyond some of
the antiquated traditions.
In the evening a couple students came by the
apartment to practice a speech for an English speech competition Monday