Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jordan and Hong Hai'er in Shanghai!

Hello everyone! My name is Jordan Griffin and I'd like you to meet my faithful friend, Hong Hai'er (红孩儿). His name comes from a character in one of the four Chinese classics, Journey To The West, in which the Monkey King is confronted and nearly defeated by a child clothed in red, the Boy Sage King, who commands the power of fire, when the goddess Guanyin subdues him by bringing his hands together and forcing him to bow.  
Hong Hai'er crossing the Yangzi River, the longest in China and the 3rd longest in the world!
My experience abroad so far with Hong Hai'er hasn't exactly been what one might call a "usual" one. For example, I've already appeared on local television here (twice!), attended two weddings, judged an English competition, and visited neighboring Korea. So if you're looking for an unconventional experience, this post is right up your alley!


Judging a local English competition

Beginning with a brief background, I'm living in a type of home-stay in Yangzhou (about 5 hours north of Shanghai where I'll be studying) with my good friend's family. He's an international student of ours at UNCG who I met when I asked to join him for lunch after seeing him eating alone in the caf one fateful day. One year and 2 trips to China later, here I am making this post and preparing for a year-long study of Chinese language in Shanghai! So if this isn't inspiration for you to get involved in our colorful international community here on campus, then I'm not sure what is. I have been here for about 3 months so far getting myself into wacky adventures and will begin school in about 1 month. You'll be hearing from me in another post after I've started school and can comment on that and I couldn't be more excited!

Typical Chinese lunch
My home-stay family eating lunch

I started my experience by moving in with my home-stay family. We soon visited our town's 东岳庙 Daoist temple and 个园, one of our city's most famous classical Chinese gardens.

Jordan at the classical gardens

Daoist Temple of the God of Mount Tai 东岳庙

个园 Chinese classical garden

I was soon approached by a friend of a friend of a friend (relationships/who you know, also known as 关系 (guan xi), is a crucial part of Chinese life, influencing everything from society, jobs, politics, and business) to participate in an episode of popular local television game show. The first of my media studies / asian studies double major is Media, so I was extremely interested in gaining first-hand experience in the Chinese media industry and getting a look at all the behind the scenes goodies and viewing the Chinese process of television production. I'd later be interviewed on another local television show after watching the action on set.

Being prepped for recording.


The sky really is the limit in China but the lesson here is to push your study abroad to the limit and never be afraid to ask questions; you'll open doors to unique opportunities you never even knew existed!

Kung-pao chicken!