Daniel Thompson is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A sociology major at Lebanon Valley College, he is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.
In this week's post, Daniel takes a moment to explore the gardens of ECNU and pause to reflect on culture.
Life can bring us on a long journey like a fast-paced train ride, but it's up to us to slow it down. One thing that Chinese emperors and empresses had around their homes was a garden where they could relax during their times of needed peace.
This weekend, I went and explored the garden of East China Normal University (ECNU) where we take classes. As I was walking in, I noticed a beautiful gold and white colored cat that was sitting on a rock. I took a picture of it as its ears pointed up in the air. They say that cats significantly resemble lions and love to lie in the heart of the jungle.
I sat down and thought about what we call culture and the beauty that it holds. As I was thinking peacefully, the sweet sound of traditional Chinese music lingered from across the garden and rang through my ears. I automatically jumped up as joy filled my soul when I noticed an older woman sitting alongside her bike playing the flute. I began to savor this authentic moment, thinking back to memories of and home realizing that if I was back there, I would never have been able to experience something like this.
Gazing at my surroundings while I took another stroll through the garden, I saw white writing on stone walls around the paths. There were notes and sayings written to loved ones as if they were carvings in a tree back home. Though cultures can be different, they can still hold many similarities.
My time in China is coming to an end quickly. I only have a month and a half left; midterms are already here and close friends are contemplating the short time that we have together. I try not to think about it too much, but it does get hard. China is one of the places that I can call home now. The culture and lifestyle has gotten under my skin and into my blood.
Daniel's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.