For me, the 2016 Spring Festival was unusual. I will go to college in the US in September, so the Spring Festival of the Year of Monkey would be my last Spring Festival spent with my family before my departure for the US. Besides all these, there was something else meaningful: we had a special guest in our house, she is the consul general from Irish Consulate in Shanghai, Therese Healy, her Chinese name is He Li.
To experience more the atmosphere of Chinese New Year, Therese purposely looked for a family in Nanjing, due to my background as an exchange student in the US and my experience in receiving American students, I was very lucky to be chosen to host her to celebrate the Spring Festival of the Year of Monkey in our house. My parents and I began busy preparing a nice New Year dinner for Therese. My mother always said there must be 10 dishes for the New Year’s Eve dinner, which symbolized “perfection in every way”. But for this year, we prepared 11 dishes for the sake of this special guest. Dinner was just a small part of our Spring Festival activities. During the holiday, we made a full schedule. We wen sightseeing a lot. We visited places of interest and cultural sites --- Yuejiang Tower, Fuzi Temple, Jiangnan Examination Office, Qinhuai Painted Boats, Zhonghuamen and the city wall, Laomendong, the Grand Gratitude Temple, the Museum of the Six Dynasties, Jiangnan Weaving Museum and Nanjing Museum. The only pity was that our holiday was too short for us to visit all those relics in Nanjing. In fact, of all the places we went during the Spring Festival, it was my first time that I had visited some of them. For the sake of Therese, I had an opportunity to take a look at those interesting culture landmark, or else I don’t know when I could have time and opportunity to do so.
Let’s talk a little bit about Therese. She’s very talkative. When we talked about Irish history, she had a lot to say, for those who didn’t know her would have thought that she was a historian. I felt ashamed of myself that =I once thought Ireland was part of the UK,but later on I got to know that Ireland and North Ireland were completely different, Ireland is an independent country, and Her culture atmosphere is quite different from that of Britain. From those conversations with Therese, we learned some Irish traditional festivals, beautiful environment and the cultural development. I, an inexperienced student, dared to ask why she didn’t take a bodyguard with her when she was out. ( Ｉcan’t help laughing at myself when I think of this now ), she gave a humorous response,”the family that receives me is so reliable, why do I need a bodyguard?”later she explained, because Ireland was a small country, which has not conflicts with any other country or area in the world, so Irish diplomats need no worry about assassination or terror attack wherever they go. Therese also said that she saw with her own eyes that President Obama sat in a car with a lot of protection when he visited Ireland, just for fear that he might be attacked. When President Obama arrived, the car door couldn’t be opened because it was too heavy, that was so embarrassing. We laughed a lot at this funny story, meanwhile, we learned more about the culture and diplomacy about Irland.