Baby’s First Video Ethnography

My first week in Shanghai has been full of emotional ups and downs. Challenges such as getting over jet lag, not knowing how to use a camera, and not being able to speak the language have really got me down. We just got together as a group to look at our photos and videos from the first week, and its as if all of the anxiety and frustration from the first week just washed away. I still don’t know exactly what my video will look like in the end–and maybe that’s a good thing–but I’m finally getting excited about Shanghai. I’m excited about being able to express myself creatively, which is something I don’t do very often at home; I’m excited about expanding upon my own personal research on the moral economy and the ethic of care in Community Supported Agriculture/Urban Agriculture; and I’m excited about seeing more of what Shanghai has to offer.

Looking through my photo- and videography from this past week, I have a chance to revisit and debrief experiences that, at the time, seemed overwhelming and, frankly, unenjoyable (what made it unenjoyable was mostly just the aforementioned jet lag). For example, the first video I took while here is 1) very shitty but 2) encapsulates the chaos (or what I interpreted as chaos) that engulfed me this first week. The disorientation that you experience when watching this video mirrors the disorientation I felt as I found myself in the middle of Yuyuan Garden, surrounded by people–a lot of them tourists–speaking an unfamiliar language (not the tourists), while at the same time being so tired that I thought I might drop dead in the middle of everything. MVI_3381

The good news is: I didn’t die from jet lag!! yay!! I know where to get food that I like to eat; how to navigate the subway; and, after today, how to take a good picture (though if I can actually do it is another question). Going forward, I’m filled with both excitement and determination–I’m excited for the days to come and determined to make the best of them. I have 40 more days in Shanghai, which is more than the majority of my group, and I intend to use each of these days to shoot, blog, and form relationships; to read, to write, and to eat. My transition phase is over–and good riddance!–it’s now time for me to throw myself into my research, and, as a Davidson student, that’s something that I know I can do!