国庆节 National Day

祝大家国庆节快乐!Happy National Day is a common sentiment you’ll hear today. October 1, 2013 marks the 64th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. After biking downtown and gorging on a bowl of my favorite noodles with 张健, I started noticing the plethora of flags hanging outside every storefront, telephone pole, or any other place a flag could be adorned. Even yesterday, on the way home from the gym, I noticed a middle-aged man carrying around a backpack full of flags, making every attempt to sell them to various shopkeepers along 昌明路,the road outside the North Gate of the old campus.

I note this here because it’s been awhile since I admired the little things. It also serves as an interesting parallel to the United States and the Fourth of July. I even had this conversation with 张健 about how my students always want to focus on the differences, rather than the things, however minute, that may bind us. In this case, it’s the fact that Americans are patriotic and Chinese are nationalistic; different words with the same underlying meaning. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see flags adorning many places whilst celebrating the founding of the said countries.

As a side note, the government has maneuvered the one-day holiday into a seven day holiday for most public sector employees. I don’t return to the classroom until the eighth. The week long vacation has been dubbed Golden Week as the number of travelers surges. Expats either use this time to also do a bit of traveling or decide to avoid the crowds by staying home. I chose the former. I’ve seen pictures of various tourist spots during the holiday, and there isn’t anything “golden” about 人山人海, an expression that doesn’t aptly translate to a “sea of people.”

On a somewhat related note, the US government shutdown is making waves on Weibo; it’s the second most trending topic, but, interestingly enough, not trailing a discussion of National Day.

My two cents: how coincidental and kind of the US government to recognize National Day and also decide to take a vacation!

Stay tuned for some further updates that I can’t divulge the title of just yet. Sorry to be so cryptic…you’ll just have to wait it out!

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