Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Architectural Art in China

Suzhou Garden

I had a really hard time to decide what this post should be about. Maybe Chinese cuisine, maybe typical education or maybe travel sceneries. However, after I saw some pictures sent by my friend I made up my mind to talk something about architecture.

Suzhou Garden
In the old days, traditional buildings were always coloured with red and gold for those two colours represented royal families. In the yard, there was always a long twist veranda surrounded by rockeries and plants.
The most magnificent and famous historical building complex is the Forbidden City in Beijing. This imperial palace has a history of more than 500 years and attracts countless of people from all over the world every year. 
However, even though I am a person born and bred in the north, I would like to say that buildings in the south of China are the soul of Chinese architectural culture.
In the south, buildings are following the aesthetic way which is called the beauty of asymmetry. You can never find two buildings look exactly the same. This architectural style is totally opposite with the northern one.
You can sit in the exquisite pavilion standing by the side of the lake, wander along the silent path being surrounded by lush flowers, and enjoy the green bamboos growing outside the gridding window.
You will feel like as if walking in an old fade painting.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Yesterday Once More

Even though I like to stay forever young at 17 years old, I reminisce a lot about the past like an older person.

When I was at school I played truant by skipping lessons occasionally, but when I left I missed my carefree student life and the memories kept coming back like a flood that never dried up. School seemed like a paradise to me once I had left its iron gates behind forever.

Warm and silent as the classroom had always been, we were sleepy but still managed to pretend that we were focused on what the instructor said and echoed like half-awake birds. We blinked automatically to cover up our inactive expressions while he wrote on the blackboard. We played poker under the desk with our spines being upright as if nothing happened. We kept on putting up a fake appearance in front of our instructor and were never bored with that.

Students outside of China would be shocked to learn how many exams we had to write in order to pass the college entrance exams (you will be shocked by the pictures) in arts and science. It was not unheard of to have classes from seven o’clock in the morning until nine at night. We were always overloaded with assignments which forced us to stay up till midnight and the following day it was the same.

However with the passing of time, the bitterness we had to swallow became sweet memories because no matter how hard life was, we had friends along with us.

Everything seems just as if it happened yesterday and I can remember every detail clearly. I miss the glare from the reflection of the blackboard, the fragrance of the Gardenia tree and even the naughty fat cat who used to pounce unexpectedly on my lunch.

I miss that time of my teenage years as I can never go back.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Willful Young

Definitely, I was not a good student when I was younger. I used to invest in the stock market and spent all the money I earned in travelling. I played truant from school, picking up my luggage and going away without any permission. I never had a plan and no one knew where I was going. Once, my coordinator was driven crazy by what I did. He gave me a long-distance call and kept yelling at me and blaming me for my improper behaviour. However, I even felt a little proud of my self-assertion. I  went back to school one week later after he asked me to go back immediately.

I believed what I did was an impulsive action that every passionate young person should take at least once. However, as I grew up, my wilfulness was eroded by the lectures on morality from my elders. Everything was regulated. I felt pitiful that I was not a brave person any more. I felt restricted in my actions as different generations have different perceptions of the world.  As time went on however, I began to restrict the actions of my younger relatives and began to conform to the ways of my elders. Inside I was grappling with contradictions.

Doing things under regulations is the typical education pattern in China. Since cultures are different from each part of the world, please can you tell me, do you have the same opinion of youth? Have you ever done the same things as me?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

An island called Gulangyu

I was born in the northeast of China and spent nearly 20 years there. However, I always yearned for the life in the south of the mainland. At the age of 18, I left my hometown and went to a university located in the southernmost tip of China. There, I met my friend who introduced the beautiful island called Gulangyu to me.

I wanted to embrace nature and be surrounded by flowers all year round. I liked the wind blowing from the sea and going through my hair. I enjoyed the feeling of being awakened by the warm sunshine and hearing the melodious chirping of birds. All these beautiful images come together on the island.

Gulangyu is a place full of romantic sentiment. It is surrounded by the sea and immersed in the sunshine all the seasons. Many famous modern Chinese poets live on the island. There is no bridge connecting the island to the mainland. The only way to reach the island is by taking a ferry. It seems that Gulangyu is a place isolated from the noisy world.

Walking on the boardwalk along the coast you will be immersed in the shadow of towering old trees. You can smell the humid grass and salty sea. The streetlights along the side of the silent path are just like vintage decorations in a retro shop. It’s as if everything existing on the island comes out of an old painting.

The most popular sceneries on the island are Sunlight Rock and Shuzhuang Park. Buildings in these places are a blend of modern art and ancient architectural style.

I have been to Gulangyu twice but it never seems enough for me. If you want to while away a few hours siting in a tiny but exotic coffee shop on the island reading a book, It will be a fantastic experience for you. Trust me you will enjoy it.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Endless reminiscence of summer

I came across this city by accident as I was going back home from university and had a transit stop in Shanghai. The airline made a mistake on my ticket booking, which made me have to stay in Shanghai for another day.

I was bored staying in a hotel so I decided to take an adventure. Shanghai was an unknown area to me at that time and I had no clue where I could go. I walked along the street until I found a subway station. I stepped on to the train and got off at a station just because the name of the station was interesting. After I came back up to the ground, I went on my lonely but exciting trip. I felt like that I could touch this metropolis covered in the beautiful sunshine.

Since it was during the weekday, people were busy in their office. I could hardly see any people on the road. Trees were full of lush green leaves and flowers were blooming vibrantly. All this silent beauty made the world immersed in a surreal dimension.

I kept on the path; the modern building complex emerged gradually. It seemed that just after one step, the Oriental Pearl Tower loomed in front of me. My trip was interrupted by a sudden raising awareness that I had totally lost my way and I don't know how to go back to the airport. I felt so regretful that I did not go across the road to see the Huangpu River just metres away that day.

I looked for the police officers everywhere but failed to find one, which made me call my  friend from the net who worked in Shanghai. She googled the route and directed me on the phone leading me to my destination.

Thanks to the mistakes made by the airline, I gained a memorable experience unintentionally. Although my trip was just walking through the city, I really enjoyed the peace and silence.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Lasting rains of spring

When I was a little girl - which seems a very long time ago - my family celebrated the Spring Festival or better known as the Chinese New Year every year. No matter how far we lived apart this was a special occasion which brought us together. This year, that will happen as usual but without me.

I never thought that one day I would not be able to stay together with my family during this special holiday. However, life is changeable. I can still remember clearly what we had for dinner on that day last year. It was dumpling with shrimp mixed with leek and egg in it. That is the most traditional dumpling.

There is always snow at the beginning of spring but the gentle rains wash it away. It is like a cleansing of the earth. As a family we used to watch TV programs which showed the festivities leading up to midnight. There is a special copper bell in the city of Beijing which is struck at midnight. Then, we know that the New Year has begun. Many people go outside and light firecrackers which bath the skies with brilliant hues. Everyone changes into their new clothes. We also have a tradition of putting signs on the two sides of the door which convey luck and prosperity to the family. Having everything new marks the exact beginning of the new year (according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar).

Although the initial legend has blurred, we still keep the customs. People stay up till very late in the night. Since I am on the other side of the Date Line, time is 12 hours behind. When my family celebrates the festival at midnight, I am awake in the middle of the day. Thanks to technological development, my family can still keep in touch on the Internet. The celebrations this year will be a combination of both modern and archaic heritage which will start another chapter of my memory book.