This week I met Xiofang Fei, the incredibly nice (and patient) film major from China. She was also a ridiculously prepared interviewer, asking me questions that I never really think of the answers to : from the basic “favorite color” question to the more unique, “do you like to sing while you walk?” and more. I learned from asking her the same that her favorite colors were blue and pink, and she had noticed many Americans sing on their way to class (she even thought many of them were quite good at it) and she enjoyed doing so as well.
Of course, her being from another country altogether, I was curious what the transition had been like. She said she had moved here last August for school, and while her family (including an older sister who had just had a baby, as well as a younger brother) were still back home, she did not seem to miss it too much. She said she loved the greenery of California, as much of China did not have as many grassy areas and plants, especially to the highly landscaped Long Beach campus. She also said she loved the ocean, a point we strongly agreed on as being a huge reason for people to come to the California coast. Not surprisingly, one of her favorite things to do was go to the beach, especially to walk around although she also loved to swim. Another was watching movies, especially newly released ones, and this love is what caused her to change her major.
She said this was not her first year of school; she had been in college for a few years in China already. She originally planned to study international business here, but her love of film won out in the end. We talked briefly about the classes we were in this semester; we both had four including (obviously) Art 110. Her other classes included an American Language class, which she said all international students were required to take, a Communications class, and a History class, a subject we both agreed was difficult especially with so many strange names.
From talking to Xiofang, I realized how incredibly horribly I speak English. Yes, I know (practically) all the words and I’ve spoken it my whole life, but to a non-native speaker my words probably sounded like a fast, slurred gargle, especially with my awkward laughing and overuse of the very Californian “like”. She was incredibly nice about trying to understand me, and repeating things so I could understand her as well, but I felt slightly ashamed for butchering my own language so badly and making it even harder for her to understand an entirely new language. But, on a slightly happier note I realized that maybe this is why we need art; no matter what language you speak, you can still find some connection with the work in front of you, and from there – even if through hand motions and repeated phrases – with people from anywhere in the world.
So, despite slight amounts of language barrier, I had an incredibly nice time talking to Xiofang and I wish her all the best in her further endeavors in the film industry.
If you would like to learn more about or talk to Xiofang Fei, visit her blog at https://angelinafei.wordpress.com