can anyone help me understand my fascination with zhonghua [china]? [part I]
zhong hua [pronounced jone-gooa sort of. . .]
the name ‘china’ means central or middle kingdom. for years i have had a fascination with this oldest of civilizations, a fascination that has only deepened with time. i think it began when i was a music student at university. i met a young lady who was a gifted harpist with whom i quickly became friends. we enjoyed sipping tea for hours as we discussed philosophy, art, etc. i don’t think we talked about chinese stuff much, but she was my first chinese friend. she was super smart, and we were like best buddies. she would always try to get me to help her tune her harp, and i would get her to bring me chocolate milk as payment for my services.
of course, i have to admit that i found her to be very beautiful. her almond-shaped eyes sizzled with a sensuality that belied her conservative dress and manner. but though i found her attractive, it never occurred to me to think of her as anything other than a good friend.
i remember being awestruck the first time i went to her house. here was a place that was unmistakably chinese. chinese art was everywhere, and the influence of feng shui and buddhism was obvious. her parents cooked us authentic chinese food, and they laughed when i asked about chicken balls. as i struggled with chopsticks for the first time [she graciously picked up the food i continuously dropped onto her living room floor], i was transfixed by a particular piece of artwork on the wall. the rich hue of scarlet and delicate calligraphy was both exotic and familiar. it was an aesthetic i instantly understood, and it felt like i had found a type of beauty that i had been missing all my life.and i suppose that is how my love-affair with the middle kingdom began. . .