Here in Shanghai, we are good. The Chinese young woman who helped us last June in the Shanghai Train Station when we were on our way to Beijing, came a recent weekend for a visit.
Although Vivi has been living and working (and struggling alone, she reports) about an hour-and-a-half from Shanghai for the last two years, this was the first time she has been anywhere in the city besides the train station.
So we got to introduce her to the Shanghai Metro, People’s Park, the wonderful Shanghai Museum (where we saw among many other things, an 8,000 year old ceramic pot!), the high-end shops of Nanjing Road, and the always colorful Bund.
The four floors of the Shanghai Museum contain galleries for ancient Chinese bronzes, sculptures, paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, furniture, coins, minority nationalities’ art, and more. Going there is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
Go to <www.shanghaimuseum.net> for more information.
After the museum closed at 5 pm, we wandered down the packed with people and shops Nanjing Road.
Then, of course, we walked on the Bund.
We stopped for a great dinner and wandered more. Before we headed to the Metro, we stopped at a McDonald’s on Nanjing. I had a tea, but then it must have been really strong since I didn’t go to sleep until about 2 am. I did get to finish reading a book.
On Sunday, we took Vivi to two lovely Shanghai parks, Kangjian Garden, where the first flowers are starting to bloom, and to Guilin Park, near our SNU campus.
Then we went to Guilin Park near SNU.
That afternoon, Vivi needed to catch the train back to her six-days-a-week job. She is 22, has a bachelor’s degree, two years of working experience, and her English is really good. Like the other Chinese students, she spent all her early years studying. She competed to get into college where she spent her freshman year in class 46 hours a week, and then she needed to study. She got an internship through a teacher’s recommendation, and has been working at PCV companies in marketing and sales (without a commission) for two years. She is outside the city and lonely. In her field now, this situation is likely not to change. Long-distance trucks pass in front of her factory all day long. She now wants to change careers to become a teacher. She will need to study on her own to pass the teacher’s test since she is too old to get into a university. She wants to move back to her village, which is close to Xian (where the Terra Cotta soldiers are), to be near her family and friends. Even if she passes the teacher’s test, she will probably be placed in a rural school far from her home, but her brother-in-law works for the government, so she has a good chance to end up near home.
Vivi is the youngest child of four (two are twins) . Her parents are farmers. They have been selling off their land to developers. They have one piece of property left. None of the children want to be farmers, but they will keep the one piece for the one son, so he will have property; however he is in the army. The farmers here, much like around the world, are giving up their land to developers and hope their children will do well in the new growing economy. Vivi says she knows that she must struggle.
We wish Vivi much luck and a good future.
With our wandering and being tour guides, Barry is perfecting his walking tour itinerary of Shanghai. It’s been raining and in the 30’s and 40’s, but perfect for walking as long as you have boots and an umbrella, which we do. Come join us.
Aloha and zaì jiàn, Renée