Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Joy and Remembrance

HNC MAIS student Natalie Sammarco sends an update from Nanjing:

"It can be easy to get caught up in studies when the classes are so rigorous. It can be even more distracting being away from home during the holidays. We often forget to appreciate Nanjing as a city filled with history: a former capital city, and the place where the Nanjing Massacre occurred. 

December 13th marked the 75th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. The event was horrific and thousands were killed at the hands of the Japanese. That said, China wishes us all to remember the incident by blowing sirens in and around the city for a half hour on December 13th, the day when the Japanese Army originally reached Nanjing. Hearing the sirens is surreal. They are a deafening noise all over the city. Some students in the center chose to commemorate the incident by showing movies, including Flowers of War, in the lounge that night. Seeing these movies made us all appreciate the history of the city in which we study and made us think about why the Sino-Japanese relationship continues to be complicated to this day.

HNC lounge decorated for Christmas 2011
 On a happier note, Christmas is just around the corner and our Secret Santas have all been assigned! It’s very exciting to see the holiday lights in the lounge. The amateur chorus that is organized every year to sing Christmas carols on  December 25th has started practicing and it’s nice to hear holiday music. Each night there is a holiday movie played in the lounge to help keep our spirits up as the weather is cold and sometimes rainy. This week’s movies included Charlie Brown Christmas and Die Hard :-)

We are excited to be in the final stretch of the semester. We have just a few more weeks before the mid-year break. Fellow students have made various types of plans for our 6-week break: travel around China or outside the country, getting internships or returning home to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. Either way, we’re looking forward to having a much needed break!"