|Russian Maker in Pujiang|
On October 22, Anastasia Podareva (Chinese name: 唐曦兰 Táng Xīlán) arrived to Pujiang from Hangzhou to visit the village of Xinguang, Yudao Township, where she started her own business, and seized the opportunity to enjoy the seasonal colors and scenery in the village of Songxi, Baima Town.
Anastasia was born in 1995 in the Russian countryside. Coming from a country of poets, she came into contact with Chinese poetry seven years ago when she first arrived in China. Five years ago, destiny tied her with Jinhua, and she wrote herself and her story along with the local countryside into a poem. In the poem, “Jinhua Villages,” she writes: “Here, I’m a guest, but I’ll be longing to meet you again for life.”
Anastasia is a third-year MA student of theory of art at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University. She picked her Chinese name when she came to China seven years ago, which means “orchid in full bloom at the first rays of morning sun.” After graduating from high school in 2013, she went to Changchun, Jilin, to study Chinese and a year later, she was enrolled in a BA program in Chinese at ZSTU.
“As a first year student, I started to take classes with Chinese students, and I was the only foreigner in my class. Since the very beginning, I came into contact with ancient Chinese literature and very difficult reading, such as Classics of Poetry and Annals of Warring States.” Anastasia made very rapid progress, and over the years she has become a member of the Hangzhou West Lake Poetry Association and an international spokesperson for the town of poetry, Pujiang.
This time, she has just returned from a poetry festival in Hainan where she won another prize, adding to a list of many others. On this trip to Pujiang, Anastasia planned to visit the village of Xinguang, where she did her internship and launched her own business.
“In the spring of 2019, I came to Xinguang and became an international maker at Nianjiu Jianli [the largest existing single ancient building in Pujiang].” Anastasia said that her acquaintance with the Jinhua countryside originated from Jinhua Homestay, of which she was a participant in 2017. Starting from the village of Suoyuan, Jindong District, she fell in love with the rural areas of Jinhua, Lanxi, Yiwu, Pujiang, and Wuyi. A “rural maker” is Anastasia’s status in the village of Xinguang. And she has also become the spokesperson of the village’s makers. “Here, many young people have become makers, but in such an ordinary trend, I am a special one. I’m a girl from the Russian countryside, so I have a particular preference for the countryside.”
During her seven years in China, Anastasia has been to many rural places, and her favorite is Pujiang. One particular reason is the affinity between Pujiang and poetry. “In Pujiang, there is still a tradition of writing poetry and painting. Even farmers can write poetry. After work, I like to walk around the countryside to see and enjoy such a feeling.” This time, Anastasia paid a special visit to Songxi, a village between the mountains where everyone talks poetry and makes paintings. There, in a farmer’s studio, she met and exchanged views and ideas with local poets, painters and Kunqu Opera lovers of the Songxi Study Association.
Anastasia would very much like to establish a Russian pavilion in the countryside of Jinhua. A location where she could live, write poetry, and strive “to make poetry a bridge between my home and others, and to make the foreign land become one’s home.” (By Wang Lei, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Mariam Ayad)