EFZ Update: Old Friends and New Experiences, Lindsay Gillen '12

It has been a very relaxing and enjoyable few days in Shanghai.

Thursday and Friday were ‘rest days’ and class did not meet. The three of us decided to catch up on sleep and then explore new parts of the city. Tourist websites suggested we investigate Dongtai Lu; however, when we arrived, we did not find much of interest, so we ended up returning to the familiar and easily-navigable East Nanjing Road.

Getting back to class after two days of relaxation was not too difficult, as we began with some amusing video-taped interviews between journalists and ‘famous’ athletes that we invented.
Morning class could not end soon enough, however; Pally (佩俐, my partner. I met her in March 2010 when I visited China for the first time) and I had plans in the afternoon. She and her mother—her father was away on business—picked me up at school, and our adventure began right away. We weaved between other cars and bicycles on the way to lunch. We chose a teahouse on the very outskirts of Shanghai and kicked back in a small room separated from the rest of the restaurant by a curtain. The food was magnificent—I tried many foods I’d never seen before, such as duck foot and litchi fruit (荔枝), as well as foods that have become familiar to me, like ham-egg-vegetable-rice. Of course, I had more blue strawberry tea (I will never pass up an opportunity to drink that wonderful stuff). Pally and I reclined on the comfortable couchlike seats and talked for hours. Our conversations were mostly in English, as hers is infinitely better than my Chinese, but since her mother speaks no English, we alternated between the two languages.

Later that afternoon we saw a new Chinese animated film called ‘Kuiba.’ Even with Chinese subtitles, I struggled to keep up, but I think it was about a country living in fear of a monster called Kuiba. Everyone—talking animals and humans alike—had superpowers, and it was set in some sort of futuristic era, but the architecture resembled that of ancient China. This description makes it sound like most of the movie was lost in translation, but you’ve got to believe me when I say that’s the plot in a nutshell.

To end the day I sat down to dinner with Pally, her mother, and two of her mother’s friends, a Chinese-Canadian couple. The husband, a wiry, boisterous man who was perfectly fluent in both English and Mandarin, told me tales of his voyage to China and the fortune he’d amassed throughout his life.

“If you asked me how I feel about China,” he told me, “I would say I hate it! …but I also like it a lot.”

Not only was this day a total blast, but it came with a life lesson. Talking to a man who spent his life connecting China and the United States reassured me that in this day and age, the two languages to learn are English and Mandarin.

前天、昨天是很乐趣了。星期四和无是休闲天,我们去东台路,但是没有意思的东西,所以我们去南京东路。
星期六的课不太难因为我们对彼此采访。
但是早上的课不能结束快够的; 今天中午我跟佩俐(我的朋友)和她的妈妈一起吃午饭。我们去一个茶官。餐是很好吃。我尝试很多菜我从来没吃,比如鸭脚和荔枝果。当然我喝蓝莓茶 (这个茶是很好喝)。 佩俐和我聊天半天。 我们说汉语和英语,但是因为他的英语比我的汉语好,我们说大多英语。
后来,我们看一个中国电影叫 '魁拔。' 虽然这个电影有中文字幕,但是我发现很难理解。 我明白大概百分之七十。
电影以后,我跟佩俐,她的妈妈,和妈妈的朋友一起吃晚饭。妈妈的朋友是一半中国人,一半加拿大人。他在英语和普通话流利。他告诉我轶事对于他的生活在中国。
"如果你问我 '你感到中国怎么样,' 我告诉你,'我太不喜欢!" 他说。 "但是我还很喜欢。"

不仅今天很好,而且有一个重要教训。在这个时代,两个重要语言是英语和普通话。

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