Our next stop on our Texas tour was at Trinity University. Since we were staying with Patrick and Nicole in San Antonio, we only had to drive 25 minutes to get to campus instead of three to four hours as we did for our next two screenings to Texas A&M and Austin College. Being able to stay in one place for a couple of days meant we could explore the area more fully.
If I could use one word to describe our Trinity experience, it’s hospitality. The Trinity faculty and staff at the EAST (East Asian Studies at Trinity), especially Professor Zhang, did a fantastic job making us feel welcome during our two days. EAST’s Franke Johnson first took us to the River Walk of downtown San Antonio. We took some photos of the Carlos Cortez sculptures along the River Walk. Back in 2001 during my first trip to San Antonio, I walked along the river in the retail district, but didn’t get to see these sculptures. One day, we’ll walk the entire seven miles! We had lunch at La Gloria, which specializes in street foods of Mexico. We ordered the ceviche, which had cilantro in it, but surprisingly neither Rae nor I could taste it. For two people who don’t like cilantro, that was refreshing!
After lunch, we went back to the EAST office where we were videotaped for an upcoming Trinity University iPad application. The app will display a map of the campus; users can tap on a building or use GPS to bring up video clips from their current location. Reuben took videos of us talking with Franke about our film; he also videotaped the beginning portion of our presentation at the screening. We can’t wait to see the app!
Next, we made our way to the Chapman Center, where the screening was held. We learned that Trinity has one of the largest Chinese language programs in the nation, and many of the students present were studying Chinese. Following the screening, we enjoyed some great Persian food at Shiraz with much of the EAST faculty, including Professors Ginger Wu, Donald Clark, Stephen Field, Jinli He, Randall Nadeau, Jie Zhang and Hyon Joo Yoo. It was great to talk with them about our film and future plans, as well as watching them interact with each other.
We retired for the night at the Holt Center, where the school has some apartments for guests. Earlier in the day, Franke was telling us about a ghost that purportedly inhabits the Holt Center. People have reported doors closing on their own and elevators stopping at random floors with no one in them, but otherwise the ghost seemed to be friendly and harmless. Fortunately, we did not experience any paranormal activities in the evening!
Tuesday was just as packed as the screening day. The next morning, we met up for breakfast at the Twin Sisters Cafe and Bakery with Professor Zhang and two students, Caitlin and Chris. Caitlin is a Chinese language major, while Chris is studying Computer Science with a minor in Chinese. Had I the chance to be a freshman again, I would take the opportunity to learn Chinese, as I regret not learning it while I was a kid.
After breakfast, we just had an hour and a half before our lunch appointment at Capparelli’s with Professors Stephen Field and Jhang. One thing about the food that we’ve noticed in Texas is that the portions are much bigger!
We then went to Professor Jinli He’s Advanced Chinese class. Normally, the class doesn’t speak a word of English, but since our Chinese skills are so poor, we broke protocol for this one time only. We presented select clips from the film for her students in which our actress Li Jing recites Qiu Jin’s beautiful poetry.
As I stated at the beginning of this post, we were really impressed with the hospitality of the EAST staff at Trinity University. We’ll have to come back again one day!