It’s already been over three years since we followed Vivian’s life-changing trip to China and her cross-culture adventures with Shumin’s family in The Invisible Red Thread. The cameras stopped rolling, but life keeps going. What have Vivian and Shumin been up to, on their separate sides of the globe?
We’ve checked in on these two and here’s what’s new:
After a summer family vacation to Prince Edward Island, Vivian has made the leap from high school to University. Vivian has left home and moved to Guelph, Ontario (a good deal shorter than her trip to China, but just as big a change) to begin her first year in a Bachelor of Commerce at University of Guelph in Hotel and Food Administration, the perfect program for someone with people skills and a love of travel. It seems as though Vivian is transitioning well, after her first few days , she sent her mom a text message telling her that she is having a lot of fun and making a ton of new friends. For her parents, Hubert and Eve, the change may be even more substantial – their youngest is flying the nest and moving out into the world, on her own.
On the other side of the world, Shumin is also back at school this year. She is currently enrolled in high school and says she’s looking forward to attending college in the future. In an e-mail to co-director Changu Chang, she writes, “My life in high school is hectic but worthwhile” and explains that school begins before 7AM and ends at 10PM with two hour-long breaks for meals. Even with that schedule, Shumin says high school is easier than middle school! While Vivian learns the finer points of business and hotel management, Shumin’s favourite subjects are English and Chinese and she is doing very well in her sports class.
With Shumin’s busy school schedule, she has found it difficult to find time to write to Vivian as often as she would like. Access to the Internet is sporadic, making sending and receiving letters a lengthy process. And before either girl sends their letters, they need to be translated although Shumin is hoping to soon know enough English to do that herself. Yet Vivian and Shumin continue to write to each other despite these barriers.
The impact of the experience of being in our documentary still has ripple effects for both girls- particularly for Shumin. Shumin writes of the positive impact the film continues to have on her and her family’s life, particularly the ongoing commitment by the filmmakers to help support her through university. She says this confidence in her inspires her to try even harder in her studies. And Vivian and her family are still regularly meeting people who saw the film on OMNI TV in Canada and want to tell them they were moved by it.