Tuesday, August 2

Back home

Finally got home. It take almost an entire day for me to get home. That includes Charlottes missing flight incident. It was very weird that though we book the flight separately, me, han and charlotte search and book the flight at pretty much the same time, bought with the same price and they were on the same date. However the first part of her return flight is 9 hours earlier than mine and Han’s which is ridiculous because in that case, she will be staying in the Moscow airport for 15 hours and board the same fight with us to China(if she did catch that flight).

Well the lucky part is she did got last minute ticket at the airport with us. the unfortunate part is that she had to buy the ticket with an additional 680 pounds and the airline refused to give refund on the missed flight.

Anyway, that was the past. I m now in my home in Beijing living in a no Facebook, no Youtube no Gmail and no Blogger life. Thanks to the Chinese GFW, “great fire wall”, which blocks the most popular websites that could spread anti-Communist information. But I still want to get on Facebook and Youtube.... Oh well.

Last minute! I have a ten minute free access to this websites from a proxy service. finally got these blogs posted!!

Garden Party!!

The food was sooooooo good! And the pimm? (not sure thats the word) that chuck made us, great drink! Fruity! I was so excited for the party and I had fun!

That was a real garden ! So natural and beautiful! We took some pictures and made some bubbles in the garden. Great memories. Then we went back to the room and there were ice cream! You guys are treating us so well! Then Brian and most of the girls are playing game around that table and the four guys here are talking about engineering...

I know it sounds crazy but to my defense, that was when me and Isaiah just got offers from the engineering department and trying to decided our future. Anyway. Cant believe we had to say good by at that night and I have a entire room of random stuff to pack! I went back to pack and finally got on the plane back to China.
Thanks so much everyone who made this month so wonderful! I am so looking forward to our reunion!

Research 3 - presentation

Research 3 - presentation

It went great! Everyone did a great job. I had a great time hearing others presentation. I used hearing because there werent much to see. Lol. We were the only group that didnt really have a powerpoint or video. But I think we did get people’s attention over us by showing them nothing. haha. Well it might work better with a screen but I believe it went fine. It was a great practice and experience. I liked our structure and how it worked out.

Everyone did such a great job! I was surprised that Aaron and Benjamin almost spent exactly 10 mins on their presentation. They were both very talkative and I was worried about their timing. But they gave out a great amount of information and did a great job on timing. I hope we had better internet access during the Harry Potter presentation. I couldn’t load the video but I liked their presentation. It was very insightful. I also liked the Hong kong one. Hong kong is a very special place between East and West. They had a great topic and they did a fantastic job presenting their research! I am not very familiar with gender problems but both group doing it made me thinking. Gender Equality is very important in a modern society. I learnt a lot from them too! The architecture group gave me an overview of how Oxford architecture style, city structure formed. Interesting! Great day great presentations!!

Research 2 - topic

Research 2 - topic

Our topic was “the Superiority of University of Oxford Education -- Why Oxford students generally have higher academic performance.”

We trimmed the topic several times and eventually we found this one most accurate.

Firstly we were planning doing something on tea, food culture, but we realized just doing that will be a waste of resources here. We try to find something better to do and finally we decided on Education.

It took several meetings and some initial research for us to finally decide on doing specifically on Education in Oxford. Faye were great help during this process. She gave us many great ideas and suggestions during our meeting.

Research 1 - Libraries

Research 1 -- library.

Our group has three members, Charlotte, Han and me. We had a really good time researching together.

We spent the first day of research in the main bodlein library. The reading rooms were beautiful but I have to say the environment is just okay. The study area were rather small, compare to UW’s libraries. Well I cant blame them for that, they have so many books and the building were built many years ago. After that day, we realized that most of the resources we needed are in the Education department/library. It was REALLY far. It takes about an hour to get there, and that includes a thirty minutes walk.

Luckily, the time there was very efficient. Most of the resources we needed were sitting on the shelf in the Education Library. It is a rather small library. We get to choose seats and we were able to discuss sometime without disturbing anyone. It closes really early so sometimes I have to read the material really fast or even scan it with my phone camera. I still have half of the book “Education in Britain” scanned on my phone. It was a very interesting experience. We got great help from that library.

London Trip with the Class

Lodon trip on Sunday

The trip to London with the group was really fun. Well, the morning wasn’t ideal. We woke up after 8 am and decided to take the train since we wanted to get there fast. But the train didnt help.. its sunday so there were less train to london, we just missed the one that could get us there on time. Then the next one available is 30 minutes later and it was a slow delayed train. So we got on a slower train that departs really late and that wasnt the worst. Even the tube is delayed too. We stood on a ridiculously hot subway train for 10 minutes just to watch people keep getting on the train and make the train even hotter.

Anyway, we got to tate eventually. What I really wanted to see is the seeds. Though they removed the main exhibition of it, there were a pile of Aiweiwei’s seeds in the Pottery Dream Gallery. It was amazing, though I do understand that many people wouldn’t get the symbolic meaning behind it. Many of Aiweiwei’s works were reflecting on the Culture Revolution, due to the fact that his father, famous poet Ai Qing, got persecuted during the revolution, so is this one. The sunflowers always face/fellow the sun, and the sun is a common metaphor of Chairman Mao of China. There had been poetries, songs, articles tributes to Mao that describes him as the sun which brings warmth and light to China. The seeds in Ai’s work, however, are ripe individuals thats no longer on the sunflower. Each one of them are handcrafted and there were millions of them. To what I understand, the seeds is Chinese people, they used to be following Mao but now they are individuals. Though looks alike, each one of them are unique. This is certainly very interesting. I really hoped that I could see the original exhibit. I wish I could buy one or two of them for myself but that seem impossible.
There are also numbers of artworks in Tate that were very interesting. I couldnt understand some of them but they are usually really cool. If I ever come to lodon, I will definitely go there again. hopefully with more knowledge in modern arts.

And the London Eye was really fun, being able to see the London city from the top is not an everyday experience, Thanks Brian and Chuck, that was super fun!

Friday, July 22

Xu's Leaving Cambridge again.

The discussion of Leaving Cambridge again on Monday remind me of this great poem. It has been one of my favorite Chinese "New poem". There used to be only metrical poems in China before the 20th century. Poetry was revolutionized after the may fourth movement, followed by the New Culture movement. In general the new poetry dose not have to follow any pattern. It is also not necessary to rhyme.
 Xu is the leading poet of the New Moon Style in Chinese New poetry. He tries to follow the romantic poets with end rhyme(thanks wiki). His style was revolutionary. (I have to say I do hate many modern chinese poems that neither follow any pattern or even rhyme at all.)  Famous poet Wen Yiduo suggested that the modern Chinese poem should have the three beauty: The beauty of Music, the beauty of Painting, the beauty of Architecture.(his poems, however, is much more political and he also got murdered by secret agents). Xu's poem is the best example of this. He has the rhyme which gives his poem a melody, he creates vivid images with his words, he also has a structure thats very precious in the New poem.
As an result, when we study Xu's poem in a Chinese Poetry class, what we discussed was the style, technic he used in the poem. However, with the questions Brian proposed in monday's class, for the first time I realized that he did not mention any people in the poem or any academic figure. It is very interesting to think about this poem in this approach. The discussion on monday was very insightful. It actually made me go back to read may more of new poems.