大家好！After such a beautiful but long trip to Hangzhou this past weekend, I'm sure we were all a bit sleepy this morning. I woke up to a delicious breakfast of 小笼包 (xiaolongbao)-- something I don't think I'll ever get tired of eating. After eating and gathering my things, I walked to campus, excited for all the new Chinese words I'd learn today. Some students choose to bike instead of walking: the most popular shared bikes here in Shanghai are Ofo and Mobike. Today in my level 2 class, we learned how to describe different cities, their locations, and their landmarks. We then presented a short roleplay, in which we each pretended to be from a different country and had to recommend where the other should visit in our country. For our into the community activity, we interviewed locals at the cafeteria on what they think the similarities and differences are between cities in China. After a filling lunch of 饺子 (dumplings) at the cafeteria, we all began our cultural activity: mask painting!
We learned about Peking opera (京剧) and the meanings behind the masks. The first thing we learned about were the main characters in Peking opera. Sheng is the leading male character. Dan is a female character who before 1912 was portrayed by men due to the fact that women were banned from acting. Chou is meant to be an ugly clown character in the opera. The character is notable for its white dot on its nose. The moment the masks were handed out, everyone couldn't wait to try them on and start painting. Different mask colors symbolize different characteristics: red represents prosperity, blue for fearlessness, green for violence, yellow for cruelty, black for moral justice, and white for evil. Painting is not my strong suit, so I tried to take my time painting my mask.
After our cultural activity, I went to Global Harbor with a friend to eat some matcha flavored shaved ice. Later, I went with my host mom and sister to a children's bookstore to read some books with my sister.
Today was really fun! Mask painting definitely helped me to learn about Peking opera, a valuable treasure of the Chinese culture. I'm so excited to see what tomorrow brings!
- Kaylee Zilinger