The New Year is a major celebration in China and it provides the opportunity for families to get together and celebrate over several days. Schools and businesses are closed for an extended period of time and Anna has been off from school for almost one month. She took full advantage of her free time and traveled to several different parts of the country.
Anna flew by herself from Beijing Airport to the city of Chongqing, China's fourth largest province in the southern part of the country where she went to visit Te and his family. Te worked for the Red Parka Pub in the summer of 2010 and spent quite a bit of time in Lovell. She was able to tour much of the city and even had a fancy boat ride one night. Te always bragged at how good "hot pot" was in his city and that it was much spicier than in the north. After sweating through one meal, Anna confirmed that Te is correct!
After about ten days, Anna flew back to Beijing and spent the night with her former Mandarin teacher from the Fryeburg Academy. Early the next morning she took a train ride to Shijiazhuang where she spent six months in her junior year of high school. She visited her old high school, sat in on many classes, helped students with their English, participated in the Chinese Literature class and stayed with her former host family. She celebrated New Year's Eve in Shijiazhuang and was amazed (frightened?) by how many large fireworks were being set off throughout the city. The picture with the large number of fireworks represents only part of the total amount set off by her family.
Anna is now back at the dorms at the No. 80 High School and is preparing for classes which restart on the 13th of February. Although Beijing is halfway around the world, Anna has had a number of visitors from back home in Fryeburg. This weekend she had a very special lunch with Mr. Hibbard, Director of Admissions at Fryeburg Academy, and Miao Wang, director of the award-winning documentary Beijing Taxi. Ms. Wang now is working on a film that explores the experiences of Chinese students who come to Maine for high school studies. Anna was filmed and interviewed regarding her exposure to the students at Fryeburg Academy, the friendships formed and her unique reverse experience of studying in China.