Though We Are Oceans Apart, Our Hearts Are Connected

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Utah [Time]    2020-03-04 15:00:50 
 

The fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has pulled at the heartstrings of the people around the world since the Spring Festival of 2020. Students of a Chinese immersion class in Three Falls primary school in southern Utah, the United States(US), performed a Chinese song in the hope of cheering up Wuhan and praying for China.

Li Jing, the Chinese teacher of the class, comes from the beautiful grasslands of Inner Mongolia, China. As she loves singing and dancing since her childhood, she always brings her students to participate in the activities of local community, such as visiting nursing home during Spring Festival, chorus in Chinese during kite festival and performances with Chinese characteristics in festival parades. Her students have their own Chinese dreams, Li Jing introduced, adding that many of them want to teach English in China when they grow up or teach Chinese in the US. One of her students had planned to visit China with his/her family after the spring festival, but had to cancel the trip due to the epidemic. Now, they all hope that the epidemic will end soon, so that they can embark on their ideal trip in the beautiful springtime. Their passion for the Chinese language and culture connects them with China. The students, though very young, could feel the same way as the Chinese people when they see Chinese medics bravely fight against the disease and various Chinese families suffer from it. Their hearts go out to Chinese people, and they have compassion on Chinese people.

In their classes, Li Jing and the students closely follow China’s battle against the epidemic and acquire knowledge on the way the COVID-19 virus spreads and prevention of the disease. The students have also drawn some pictures to show their support for Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic. In their paintings, we see Kong Fu Panda defeats the COVID-19 virus and the Great Wall of China fends off the devil virus. Besides, French fries, pizza and burgers go to visit their hospitalized cousin, dumplings, hoping dumplings will make a speedy recovery and reunite with their families soon. The red hearts on their paintings convey their best wishes. Posted in the city library, these affectionate paintings convey the children’s support and best wishes for Wuhan and China to more local residents.


Students’paintings

Li Jing chose a catchy and simple Chinese song of friendship, “You and Me”, the theme song of 2008 Beijing Olympics, for the students. When the students became familiarized with the tune, they began to discuss how to make some changes to the original lyrics. “Miss Li, here we can say ‘We will always be friends’”, “Miss Li, we can make our hands look like a heart shape here.” “Which one is better, ‘life will be better’ or ‘tomorrow will be better’?” The students’ proposal came one after another. When students’ opinions became divided, Li Jing asked them to vote. The students all actively participated in the discussions, hoping that the song could express their feelings and support as much as possible. In front of the camera, they sang very well and accurately expressed their feelings. “Stay strong, China. We wish you all the best and a better life.”


Students’paintings

In this immersion class, teachers only teach in the target language – Chinese, so Li Jing did not intend to teach the students the final part of the lyrics, which is “we are family” in English. However, the students insisted on singing the final part, and the reason is, the last syllable of “family” sounds almost the same as “Li”, the teacher’s surname. The students would look at her when they sang this part, which deeply touched Li Jing’s heart. In the students’ eyes, all Chinese people are the family members of their teacher, and the students themselves are their teacher’s family members, too. That is why they sang “Chinese and Americans are one family!”


Students’paintings

Li Jing also launched a fund-raising campaign for Wuhan, which won strong support from the parent association of the school. The channel for the campaign was also posted on the official website of the parent association. The fund-raising was not only participated in by adults, but also some students, who donated their pocket money. Li Jing has already donated the money to Hubei Youth Development Foundation. The kindness makes people realize that love knows no borders, or even time zones. No matter where we are, home or abroad, love always connects our hearts, and for this reason, we will overcome all difficulties. We are confident that China’s victory will arrive soon.

Story by Li Jing and Wu Min; photo by Li Jing

 
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