As a staff member in the Public Relations office, interviewing and filming students and faculty members of Yenching Academy are major responsibilities of her daily workings. Therefore, our talk with her offered us a unique insight into the beauty tucked away in the seasonal scenery of Jingyuan: wisteria in spring, ivy in summer, fallen leaves in autumn, and first snow in winter have all been captured by her camera. In addition, quarterly group photos with the staff members from Yenching Academy also add to her fond recollections of Jingyuan. To her, the plants in Jingyuan are more than just clusters of flowers or blades of grass. Rather, the Chinese mahogany in spring and the summer apricot in Jingyuan Courtyard 3, and the winter hawthorn in Jingyuan Courtyard 4, all with a perfect mix of color, aroma, and flavor, constitute her cherished memory of this place.
Q: When was your first visit to Jingyuan?
A: It was a winter day in November or December in 2015. The red stood out against the bleak winter landscape and lifted my spirits.
Q: In the questionnaire you used “tranquil,” “scenic,” and “full of Chinese characteristics” to describe Jingyuan. Can you elaborate why Jingyuan makes you feel this way?
A: The university campus itself, generally, is a much quieter place than the bustling world outside, and Jingyuan is even more tranquil. I used “scenic” to describe the plants here, and I think the architectural style of Jingyuan buildings is “full of Chinese characteristics.”
Q: What is your favorite place in Jingyuan?
A: The window by the door of Office 210 in Jingyuan Courtyard 3.
Q: Why, out of all the indoor spaces and areas in the outdoor yard, do you prefer this particular window?
A: It is an amazing window. The window itself features a lovely design. If you look out from the window from a distance, you can feast your eyes on the red shade that characterizes the architecture of Jingyuan Courtyard 2, as well as on the green shades of the lush vegetation. If you walk closer and look out from it again, you can see the enchanting yard that stands between Jingyuan Courtyard 2 and 3. The yard is a lively place, and it is the venue for many activities. Yenching scholars also organize activities here in the summer nights. This place even hosted the Momchilovtsi Cultural Activity organized by students from Bulgaria and Bulgarian embassy officials. These events infuse this place with youthful energy and vitality.
Q: What time of year/day do you appreciate Jingyuan the most?
A: Spring, when the Chinese wisteria is in full blossom, of course.
Q: Has anything memorable happened for you in Jingyuan?
A: Since 2016, the staff members at Yenching Academy have taken group photos at the door of Jingyuan during each of the four seasons. In spring, the photo is taken when the Chinese wisteria is in bloom; in summer, when graduation season comes; in autumn, when the leaves on the tree opposite the door of Jingyuan Courtyard 3 grow to its fullest and yellowest state, before strong winds strip all the leaves off; and in winter, before the staff members go on their team building trip.
Q: As a staff member who has been working in Yenching Academy for more than three years, what do you hope Jingyuan can offer to students?
A: I hope students here can appreciate the tranquility this place has offered, as well as bask in the open-minded, inclusive academic and general atmosphere of Jingyuan.