Sophie is an English teacher at the Luoyang No. 2 Foreign Language School.  She is also from Kaifeng, which is one of the 7 ancient capitals of China.  Sophie accompanied us to Kaifeng via the high speed train and graciously guided us through the city last Friday and Saturday (we were in awe that she could pack everything she needed for an overnight in that small backpack!).  The city sits on the banks of the Yellow River and has more than 3000 recorded years of history and culture.  Bao Zheng, or Justice Bao, was a legendary magistrate of the city during the Song Dynasty.  He is famous for governing the city in a fair and honest manner, and was very respected for devoting his time to the common people.  He is the man in the black robe walking in the video.  Kaifeng is also known for  Millennium City Park, which is a theme park (without the rides) that reminds me of the Renaissance Festival in Minnesota.  The park was built to replicate a famous painting of Kaifeng from the Song Dynasty, the Riverside Scenes at Qingming Festival (清明上河图), and showcases the city’s prosperity and cultural beauty.

We were there during the Chrysanthemum Festival.  There are over 3000 varieties of Chrysanthemums in China, and many were on display in the park.  The flower represents longevity and strength and has been used in Chinese medicine since ancient times.  They were stunning.  They certainly reminded us of autumn at home, and have taken on new meaning for us after learning about their importance here.  I am sure you will be seeing more of this flower around my house each autumn as a reminder of our “home away from home” here in Luoyang.

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