First lady Michelle Obama tried her hand at Chinese calligraphy on Friday during a visit to a high school in Beijing at the start of a weeklong visit to China aimed at promoting education and person-to-person exchanges.
Obama was joined by Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Accompanied by her daughters Malia and Sasha and mother Marian Robinson, Obama practiced writing the Chinese character for “eternal” under the guidance of 16-year-old student Lu Yuhong.
“I’m nervous,” Obama said. “Don’t be nervous,” Peng replied in English.
Lu said he too was nervous, as well as “very excited.”
“But the first lady was so amicable. She was very approachable,” Lu said.
The visit marks the first meeting between Obama and Peng, whose husbands run the world’s first and second largest economies and have sought to build a new relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
While many Chinese question U.S. diplomatic intentions toward China, American products and culture are hugely popular here and there is a strong undercurrent of respect for the U.S. first family. Lu said he had bonded with American students over a mutual love of U.S. television series, including his favorite, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”AP