Each semester at JUFE every exchange student is given the opportunity to apply to take part in the Chinese family pair sharing program. This program is designed to increase each student’s understanding of Chinese culture, customs and traditions by becoming an “adopted” member of the family. This semester I was adopted by the lovely Zhang family who consist of Xiaobei, Shirley and their daughter Jessica who were all very kind in taking me on an outing to Yaohu Lake in the western outskirts of Nanchang.
Xiaobei is a town planner for Nanchang local government and one of his recent projects was the development and design of a Tulip exhibition park of over one million tulips and other flowers which were imported from the Netherlands and it was on my visit to Yaohu Lake that I was able to have the opportunity to visit this exhibition and view his handiwork. The exhibition park layout was designed to resemble a Dutch countryside and included windmills and dykes whilst also incorporating some Chinese flair with cartoon characters, Chinese plants and water features.
The tulip exhibition reminded me very much of the Floriade festival held every spring in Canberra in Australia and I spent a lovely afternoon exploring the park, appreciating the beauty of all of the flowers and learning about several varieties of Chinese blossoms including lotus blossoms, jasmine blossoms and cherry tree blossoms. I was then treated to a lovely meal with my adopted Chinese family which included some traditional Chinese cuisines including fish, black chicken soup, spicy tofu, fried pork, plenty of green steamed vegetables as well as rice of course!
Shirley had studied her Masters degree at the University of South Australia in Adelaide and over our meal we made easy conversation about our favourite aspects of Australia, the differences and similarities to studying in China compared to Australia and about the many provinces and cities around China that I have been fortunate to visit during my student exchange programme.
We concluded our day with a speed boat ride on Yaohu Lake during which I was able to take in the spectacular view of Nanchang city, the tulip park and beach waterfront of lake where you are able to go swimming, sunbathe and host bbq’s, perfect for those hot, humid summer days that will soon be upon Nanchang. I am very thankful to have such a kind and accommodating Chinese family to share adventures and experiences with during my time in Nanchang and am very much looking forward to our next meeting!