Another session of the Jinhua Homestay has successfully come to an end. Just before the session's closing ceremony, Marco Lovisetto, the Italian consultant for the project, revealed one of his aspirations: to become Jinhua's sports ambassador.
Lovisetto is not just a common scholar; a tall and good-looking man of 31, he studied at Zhejiang Normal University, has been working for several years in the fields of education and translation, and was appointed one of the foreign consultants of the Jinhua Homestay at the very beginning of the project. Lovisetto is a fixture of the Jinhua Homestay; in fact, even before the launch of the first session, Jinhua Daily dedicated a special page to “Jinhua's Story – Foreign Consultants Take You to Discover a Different China.” During the interview, Lovisetto declared that the project was about “visiting and learning about a different China.” The way he looks, acts, and speaks Chinese makes him one of the most welcome people in every village that the JH is held. Additionally, having lived and contributed to the growth in popularity of Suoyuan, Siping, Yuyuan, and Shangjing – villages in which the project was held – Lovisetto is very knowledgeable about Jinhua.
Lovisetto enjoys running, cycling, swimming, and playing table tennis and basketball: there is basically no sport he does not enjoy. Further, in order to be more environmentally friendly, he biked back and forth between the ZNU campus and the village—without exception—whether the current session of the JH was located in the farthest villages of Yuyuan, in Wuyi, or the much closer Suoyuan, in the Jindong District.
Actually, one of his biggest dreams is to become Jinhua's sports ambassador, representing the city at the 2018 70.3 Ironman World Championships that he recently qualified for: “I feel a strong attachment to Jinhua, both because I have studied and been working here for so many years and because I am really grateful to be on the team of the JH. I feel like Jinhua is my second home and appreciate being here,” Lovisetto explained. He continued, “Back home in Venice, the shape of the city is more or less the same as what can be seen in paintings from 400 years ago; given their distinctive traits, traditional architecture, and historical background, Jinhua's historical villages have similar potential to preserve their magnificent form and atmosphere and become the symbols of the city.”
A native of Venice, Italy, Lovisetto visited China for the first time in 2007, when he was 21. He first lived, studied, and worked in Shenyang, Dalian, and Shanghai; then, in 2011, he arrived in Jinhua as a graduate student. In some ways, after being a wanderer, Lovisetto arrived in Jinhua and decided to “settle down.”
Just before the conclusion of the Shangjing session, Li Dan, president of the Zhejiang Journalists Association, visited the village. When he heard of Li’s visit, Lovisetto greeted him in fluent Chinese, “Good evening, sir!” Later on, when they entered the Homestay for dinner, he acted as the host of the house, offering his services and asking what liquor the guests wanted to drink, saying “Let's drink a couple of glasses!” In an instant, the whole table was electrified by his presence.
Seated at the table with him, was Nataliia Litvinova, the Ukrainian consultant of the JH. During the Yuyuan session of the JH, the two played bride and groom in a traditional wedding for the promotional video designed for the event. Today, Lovisetto still laughingly refers to his colleague as his “TV wife.” At the table, he toasted guests, brought in dishes, and offered food to his dinner partners while demonstrating an excellent grasp of the local table manners. At the sight of this, President Li Dan praised him, saying, “Every mother-in-law would love to have a son-in-law like you!” Without missing a beat, Lovisetto replied, “My mother-in-law would probably like me, but I can’t find any partner who does.”
Lovisetto is also a fan of the TV program created by Jinhua Daily, “Jinhua through Foreigners' Eyes.” He follows each episode and is quite familiar with all of the anchors. Sitting at the banquet was also Chen Dong, director and editor-in-chief of Jinhua Daily, who invited Lovisetto to become part of the program. Delighted by the invitation, he accepted, saying, “I'm happy to accept the challenge and be in the program speaking Chinese, English, and the local dialect.”
After learning that Lovisetto is also in charge of the translation project for Jinhua's government English website, President Li Dan invited him to take part in the National Press Half Marathon to be held in Jinhua on November 18. Accepting the invitation to an exclusive event designed for the press industry with pleasure, Lovisetto confirmed that a part of him is a reporter.
Having confirmed that the event would be a half marathon, Lovisetto audaciously said, “No problem, it's just 21 km and won't be too tiring.” Looking forward to the event, he exclaimed, “From today on, no more drinking, only training!” His determination will not come as a shock to any who know him. Will he win the race? Will he become Jinhua's sports ambassador? (By Li Yan – Jinhua Daily, photographs by Huang Zezhen, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Xiamara Hohman)