Who would have thought it? I’ve lived in China for over a year at this point I’m pretty sure. I’ve also wrote way more on this blog in the past 3-4 months than I did in the first nine. Who would have thought that at hotpot tonight I would find a Chinese beer that I consider really tasty? A full wheat by Tsingtao (Qingdao) that’s shockingly good. Who would have thought that I’ll be staying in China through next year on a Fulbright Research Grant! Got the email last week after getting down from mount Hua and have been sitting on it for a while, it just feels so surreal. I’ll be going back to Harbin, possibly for a semester on the program I took part in two years ago if the funding comes through, and then going to Heilongjiang University for ten months. My research proposal was to study whether or not the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which was a focus of my senior thesis, can serve as a vehicle for developing renewable energy in Central Asia.
Last saturday we also had a fieldtrip to Xiancheng on the outskirts of Xi’an (a 40 minute drive) which is known for its peasant painters. It was also one of the first rural areas to be chosen for development, so it’s fairly well put together and looks a lot like any other Chinese city in parts.
The artwork on display was interesting, a lot from the great leap forward and cultural revolution years, followed by some more modern stuff which was my favorite I think. The older stuff was very interesting though. Something kept nagging me from the moment I went in, and it took me about twenty minutes to figure it out. A lot of the western art I’m used to is all done in the same style, i.e. the figures and background are pretty similar. Not so with these pieces. The characters and background are completely different in these works, almost as if they were done by different artists. The people are way way more defined than the backgrounds, seemingly for the purpose of standing out, and helping the audience project themselves onto the smiling faces.
I’m super excited and still trying to wrap my head around everything, getting ready and such. I’m also getting ready to go to Myanmar for a week tomorrow! A bit of a stretch, but I do have a UMass classmate living there now who I’m very excited to see. That’s about all I have to say for today, so some additional pictures here. Also congrats to all of my friends graduating college this week, y’all killed it and I’m incredibly proud.