April 16, 2008


I've lived in Beijing for nearly a year now. I began to like it. I feel more creative, and love to work with my students and other scholars. Being the Resident Director of the Language & Ethnic Studies Program gives me opportunities to teach and to make new friends in the fields of higher education, cinematography, and arts. When I began my job last June, I was given an office with stained white walls. I felt I was in a local hospital except there was no smell of sanitizer. I was wondering how long I or my incoming North American students would last here. I secured a small budget and called in my Tibetan artist friend, Dorji Tsering. This was when I realized that I also have much creativity inside me. We worked together for two weeks painting the walls and directing contracted workers to put in a wood floor. We want my students to feel welcomed and stimulated when they enter my office. When the school started, our idea was proved right. Students loved it. The point is that we are all away from home. I just wanted to do enough homing things so that we can all feel this place is a home away from home. The genre does not have to be American but shows enough creative, vibrant, inviting, empathetic tones. Nowhere else on campus has an office like mine. This exception does not make our host institution feel uneasy; instead, this office has become its showcase for its success in attracting international students. Deans of different colleges here frequently come here and I took the momentum, asking for two classrooms adjacent to my office and a wide, long hallway, to literally build a Study Center. Creativity does not mind additional space. Now, the long hallway became a public gallery. Currently we are displaying artworks by two artists from Yunnan. This coming May I'll invite a thangka artist for his art show. Stay tuned:)

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