Being a Celebrity (in China)

First of all, if you haven’t read this article from Matt Stopera at Buzzfeed, do it now (I’ll wait).

This is an amazing representation of what it is like to be a “celebrity” in China and after being in China for just a few days, I was able to identify with so many parts of Matt’s experience. In America, celebrities are most often known for their singing or acting skills, or even for being extraordinarily beautiful. Here in China, it seems like all it takes to be a celebrity (even for just a short time) is to be foreign.

Granted, we were a huge group (42 foreign participants and 21 Chinese volunteers), so we were bound to draw attention no matter where we went. For the first week, we were followed by professional photographers and journalists and posed for photos with innumerable people. We’re like politicians, shaking hands, holding babies, and flashing peace signs all over the place. If something really exciting is happening, there is a swarm of photographers and a barrage of flashes.

Similar to Matt’s experiences in China, we are followed everywhere, and sometimes it gets awkward. I mean, it’s hard enough using chopsticks, let alone using chopsticks with a camera pointed at you. After a week or so, it did seem like the frenzy was dying down. However, the Jinhua Daily still faithfully documented our moves with photo, video, and articles and often updated posts multiple times a day.

Random dude taking photos of my while I was writing
Random dude taking photos of my while I was writing

I have no idea where these photographs were published, besides the Chinese social media channels of Weibo (similar to Twitter) and WeChat (like a Facebook/messenger app). I would love to see some of the captions that accompany these photos. In fact, as I was sitting in the hall writing the first draft of this post, there was a photographer hovering around, taking pictures while I typed. There seems to be a large number of pictures of us just looking at stuff and sitting around.

I tried to keep tabs on the press coverage of our experiences (those stories published online at least) but it is difficult to search for them since most of the articles are in Chinese. The Google translations are entertaining if not clear.

I especially like this one that refers to be a “well-known blogger Mary”:
“Overseas schools into the Jinhua ancient villages” strong repercussions at home and abroad
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0710/514121.shtml

And this one with not one, but two awkward photos of me:
Teachers and students of village schools overseas trip
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0709/513630.shtml

This one has short articles written by every participant (in English!)
http://www.jinhua-homestay.com/en/voices_suoyuan.php

English articles:

Bringing old and new together
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2015-07/30/content_21451742.htm

Villages in Peril: tourists to the rescue
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/weekend/2015-08/15/content_21608824.htm

Here are some other articles, videos, and photos that I managed to find, mostly from the Jinhua Daily

Jinhua prestigious overseas into the ancient villages
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0623/505212.shtml#g505212=1

Kim arrived overseas students: Ancient Village Tour opening
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0622/504777.shtml

Jinhua prestigious overseas into the first quarter of the ancient village start (video):
http://video.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0624/505683.shtml

Jinhua prestigious overseas students into the ancient village was officially launched http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0623/505302.shtml

Welcome friends from all over the world to visit the ancient village in Jinhua http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0624/505679.shtml

T14 foreign students to the country to open the ancient village in Jinhua, Zhejiang appreciate China nostalgia trip
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hqgj/jryw/2015-06-23/content_13876802.html

he ancient village to prestigious overseas foreign faces into the ancient village in Jinhua
http://gotrip.zjol.com.cn/system/2015/06/23/020708902.shtml

June 23 overseas students into the ancient villages (video)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0626/507400.shtml

Overseas students into the village: a wonderful first two days
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0624/505896.shtml

Prestigious overseas students Ring Village Green Road Cycling
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0624/506287.shtml

“Overseas schools into the Jinhua ancient villages” on the Swiss consulate official website
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0625/506806.shtml

Jinhua, here we come
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0623/504868.shtml#g505212=1

“Jinhua Story” let foreign friends thumbs up
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0624/505681.shtml

Jinhua travel overseas students: the first four days
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0629/508122.shtml

Overseas students: Jinhua “home +” very worthy of praise
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0629/507874.shtml

Chinese overseas students and volunteers to form a good partnership
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0629/508382.shtml

Day 3: Jinhua travel overseas students
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0629/508121.shtml

Live] Jinhua travel overseas students: Miya Ancient Villages
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0630/508775.shtml

Night in petty salon exchange students who park (photos)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0626/507391.shtml#g507391=1

“Overseas schools into the Jinhua ancient villages” Lanxi row (video)
http://video.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0702/510490.shtml

Overseas students look Throwing eat tofu feast (video)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0628/507780.shtml

“Jinhua prestigious overseas into the” new way to open up the city’s non-governmental diplomacy
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0701/509216.shtml

Overseas students into the city to feel modern and traditional blend of Jinhua (video)
http://video.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0626/507361.shtml

Overseas students hands kneading dough
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0626/507297.shtml

Jinhua ancient villages will become the city’s “gold card”
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0702/510612.shtml

Jinhua ancient villages overseas students into a series of reports (video)
http://video.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0629/508350.shtml

Jinhua travel overseas students: Learn the Five Classics boxing Cuba Architecture (photos)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0630/509098.shtml

Small foreign partners to learn Chinese boxing (video)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0704/511354.shtml

Overseas students in contact with the traditional folk distance (video)
http://video.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0705/511550.shtml

Overseas students open Jinhua strongest shopping patterns
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0708/513380.shtml

Overseas students visited Yiwu International Trade City (photos)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0705/511506.shtml#g511506=1

Jinhua travel overseas students: Exploration Jiufeng Wonderland
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0702/510167.shtml

Jinhua travel overseas students: Zhejiang Normal University
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0703/511025.shtml

Traditional craft by “overseas schools” rejuvenated
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0705/511605.shtml

July 6 overseas teachers and tour Jinhua (video)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0706/512102.shtml

Jinhua overseas students should shout to the whole world agriculture
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0706/512240.shtml

Overseas students pick grapes, baby animals (photos)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0706/512082.shtml#g512082=1

Rain travel Sin Shuanglong (video)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0708/513471.shtml

Jinhua prestigious overseas students into the ancient village talk “Jinhua Story” to the world to listen
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0715/516801.shtml

Overseas students learn with the master Wu Opera (video)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0707/512613.shtml

Overseas students learn Wu Opera, seriously good! (photos)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0707/512647.shtml#g512647=4

Vice Mayor Sun Rongyan special trip to rush petty Yuen condolences prestigious overseas students who (video)
http://video.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0710/514676.shtml

Sun Rongyan see overseas students jump small apple (video)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0710/514606.shtml

Smiling record cover overseas students Jinhua wonderful story
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0709/513583.shtml

Overseas students actively organizing Gala (video)
http://video.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0709/513971.shtml

Thank Jinhua, a wonderful experience
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0711/514694.shtml

Overseas students party (video)
http://video.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0711/514919.shtml

In order to better meet tomorrow farewell
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0712/514924.shtml

Say goodbye: Ancient Village farewell overseas students (video)
http://video.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0711/514898.shtml

I can not bear to say goodbye farewell departure Jinhua returning overseas students (photos)
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0712/515022.shtml#g515022=1

Say goodbye: Ancient Village farewell overseas students
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0711/514895.shtml

Overseas students bid farewell to the ancient village in Jinhua (video)
http://video.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0712/515066.shtml

“Overseas schools into the Jinhua ancient village” effect continued to enlarge
http://www.jhnews.com.cn/2015/0713/515695.shtml

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