Apr 23

Day 3 – Report from 2014 Trip Team Leaders Jackie and Peter

Day 3 – Wednesday, 4/23
We all woke up early again today.  All the boys went for a run and basket ball game.  We worked out a schedule for showering so that we won’t be late for breakfast at 7:00am to arrive at the first class at 8:05am.  Today’s breakfast was porridge with “xue li hong” (雪里红)and stir fried rice noodle (炒米粉) for a change.  By now all of the kids are pros in delivering their presentations and handling the classes.  One of the teachers requested assistance on their current English unit on Toronto, Canada.  The “Sam and Brian” team was assigned the task.  They took the assignment seriously and prepared the lesson last night.  It went really well and the teacher was very happy with the help they provided to the students.  Since there are more than 20 classrooms for each grade (Gao Yi and Gao Er), it is still the first time for most of the classes to see our pairings, so more new friends are made.
There was a reason an umbrella was a required item on the checklist for each student to pack and bring.  The early morning was gray and cool but it started pouring in mid morning and the rain continued on.  At lunch, we enjoyed the rice flower coated pork (mi fen rou), whole fish and black chicken, and custurd eggs.  Mi fen rou was the favorite for all and the dish was emptied quickly.  Although we can’t go outside to play after lunch, it was great fun to chat with a lot more Yizhong students who are eating lunch at the dining hall today because of the rain who normally would have walked home to have lunch.  It was so nice to see the kids laughing and talking to each other in both Chinese and English.  They seem to have many common topics and interests.  They are all teenagers after all.
The originally scheduled afternoon sports events were cancelled due to the rain.  But we were led to the science and technology building computer lab.  The kids were able to get on the internet and their e-mail and hopefully all parents have received a greeting from the kids themselves.   After the computer lab time, we were invited to watch a Tai Chi performance by the Yizhong teachers.  We were impressed with the agility of the performers and fluidity of the routine.  All of us got a Tai Chi lesson from the teachers.  We know Tai Chi is an art form that can’ be learned in one session, but we still put out our best effort in keeping up with the teacher.  Many pictures are taken although the kids would rather that they get deleted.
The team got treated again for dinner, courtesy of Jackie’s friends.  After dinner, the kids prepared for the evening activity of meet & greet with the 22 scholarship recipients at Yizhong.  They worked really hard in learning how to prenouce the recipients names in Chinese.  We got some help from 2 local students.
The meet & greet went very well.  Each one of our kids took under their wings 1 – 2 Yizhong students and formed partnership.  They talked to each other about their families, who they are and what they like.   One of the scholarship recipients has severe disability but we were fortunate to have him attend the meet & greet tonight.  His mother is a dedicated and most loving mom I have ever met.  In China, it is very rare to see accomodations and access ramps that are required in the US for people with disability.  So the mom had to carried the student for all activities.  The student gave a short intro that was very moving.  We all wished him the best in life and admired his courage.
Both our kids and Yizhong students were able to tell the entire audience in both Chinese and English ther partners’ stories.  Emily encouraged her partner to write down notes so he can looked at them when answering questions about her, and Sam wrote cues on his palm.  Obviously talents are uncovered through the conversations and a few went on the stage to perform and showcase their talent.  Justin, Sam and Sophia entertained us with their panio performance.  Yizhong and our kids sang a pop song together.  Michael showed us his dance tricks again!
It rained throughout the night..
Jackie & Peter
Apr 22

Day 2 – Report from 2014 Trip Team Leaders Jackie and Peter

Hi all,
Here are updates from yesterday.  Thanks to everyone for your encouraging works.  Peter and I feel fortunate to spend this week with your children who are all responsible and mature.  Thank you!
We will send/upload some pictures when we have time.  The agenda is jam packed so we haven’t had a chance.
Jackie & Peter
——————————————–
Day 2 – 4/22
“Amazing” was the word used by the girls to describe how good it felt to be able to take a shower, finally.  The school installed 2 small hot water heater and shower heads last night in 2 of the dorm bathrooms downstairs just for us so that we can conveniently take private showers.   Anticipating the showers, the kids beat the roosters today and got up as early as before 5:00am.  Some went for a run at the Athletic field first and some rushed to line up for the showers.  It was a nice day today with mild temperature and a cool breeze.  So we were all refreshed and looked forward to the day ahead.
After a rice noodle breakfast, all arrived at the classroom building and started a long morning of 4 classes.  With yesterday’s experience under their belt, each group did a fantastic job in giving their presentations and conducting Q&As at their classes.  You can hear loud cheering from various classrooms which makes those classrooms that have not gotten their turn very envious.  The teachers got asked by a lot of their students when the “foreign kids” (wai guo hai zi) are coming to their classroom to teach.  Fans are accumulating speedily and nick names related to “super” started surfacing.  I won’t go into detail but will let the kids tell the stories when they are back home.  All are innocent and cute.

Our kids got a taste of what hard work is.  Four hours of teaching with only short breaks in between is a normal schedule for teachers here.  We learned to appreciate our teachers (at least in China).  After the morning classes, we had a tasty lunch to recharge. Most kids don’t know how to handle the small whole fish with lots of bones so Peter and I were the lucky ones to devour most of it.  The kids made friends with their neighboring dorm room kids and other students eating at the dining hall.  They had a nice conversation with them learning about each other after lunch.  It was followed up with a badminton play off.  Everyone gave it a try and Brian made us proud with his fast smashes and overhead!
In the afternoon, we went on a sightseeing trip to a local temple in the mountains.  The school contact Liu Shu Ji, a security guard, and 2 other teachers accompanied us.  We got on a small bus which took us up the mountain on a winding village road.  The road was very narrow but our driver was an experienced one so it wasn’t an issue.   The kids were snapping pictures of the beautiful southern China countryside scenes with green rice patties, blue mountains and rythemic springs flowing down from the mountains.  We were only 3 kilometers from the temple but got stuck behind a disabled truck full of bamboos.  Instead of waiting for the truck to get going, the group decided to walk on foot.  It was the best decision ever as we were able to get up and close with the bamboos, chickens with baby chicks at the village, and insects with rainbow color backs that looked “foreign”.  When we came upon some farm dogs, we gave the kids a stern warning that everyone was to be quiet, slow and non-agitating unless they want to get rabbies.  And that did it.  We swiftly walked past the dogs and soon reached the temple at the mountain top. The temple is called Dragon Charity temple “long ji si” which was built more than a thousand years ago in 904 by buddiest monks.  Given its age, it is understandable that it went through many wars and natural disasters so the original buildings were damaged throughout the centuries.  There were some re-builds and repairs but overall it looked fairly orginally.  Lots of buddas and buddiest gods in the temple.   Some of us asked for our fortunes “qiu qian”.

We walked down the mountain on another side and met up with the bus at the foot of the mountain near a village.  It was tiring but the serene scenary along the way made it all worth it.  One of the teachers found a huge fresh bamboo shoot tall as a person and carried it down the mountain for us to bring to the dining hall chefs to cook for us at dinner.   We were not disapppointed, the bamboo dish served at dinner was organically delicious!  We have the before and after picture of the bamboo shoot that we will share when we have a chance to upload them.
Tonight’s activity was to perform with the YiZhong students.  It was more of a fun party than just performance.  All kids sang, danced, had fun games and took pictures to keep and cherish.  One of the Yizhong kids performed “Hu Lu Si”, a traditional Chinese musical instructment that looks like a squash “Hu Lu”.  It was really impressive.  In addition to all the group performance that our kids had prepared,  Michael performed an improvised break dance which drew cheers from the entire audience.  Emily, Sophia and Savanah performed the theme song of the Titanic.  All did a beautiful job.  Isabella won one of the White Raddish Squat “bai luo bo dun” game beating out the YiZhong students.  The party was ended with more hugs and pictures.
We walked back to the dorm still singing…
Jackie & Peter
Apr 21

Day 1 – Report from 2014 Trip Team Leaders Jackie and Peter

On Sun, Apr 20, 2014 at 11:28 PM (Beijing Time), Jackie Zhou wrote:

Hi all,

I am unable to get on WeChat as there is no WiFi.  So we’ll do e-mail update for now.  I’ll type up the Travel Update later.  Here is Day 1 morning update:

Day 1 – 4/21 Morning

We arrived in YiZhong at around midnight and got a few hours of good sleep after quickly unpacking.  The Dorms provided to us were very simple but nice and clean with bunk beds, a living area and our own bathroom.  Although the girls are in a separate section from the boys, we are all in a connected building which makes it convenient for us.  The school prepared everything we need including hot water thermo, slippers, towels, soap and even hangers.  The kids had to get used to the bathroom but everyone was very quick in getting a handle on how it works.

There was no need for alarm clock as the roosters awakened us all at around 5:30am. It is the first time in their lives to hear roosters and some plan to tell their children about this experience in the future.  The kids were all excited about the first day.  After a hearty breakfast of rice noodle with eggs and tofu, we headed out to the classroom building where all are scheduled to make their presentations and teach.  Buddies paired up in the classroom as well.  Except for a few technical gliches, all went well and you can feel the excitement in the air.  Both our kids and the students in YiZhong are curious about each other and eager to get to know one another.  The teachers at YiZhong are so supportive in giving our kids the platform to present, exchange, and communicate.  We are so proud how our kids handled themselves in the classrooms.  They were mature, enthusiastic and engaging.

More to come…

Jackie & Peter

*************************************************************************************

(on Apr 21, 2014,10:50 PM, Beijing Time)

Hi all,

Here are more updates.  I only have access to internet at the teacher’s office in the moring so I’m typing up and sending what I have.  Enjoy!

Jackie & Peter

——————–
Day 1 – 4/21 Afternoon & Evening

After finishing 3 hours of classroom activities, we were treated for a nice lunch by the Principal of YiZhong. We had some free time between lunch and afternoon agendas but the kids were too excited to take a nap. Instead, everyone did a little bit more unpacking & organizing and played cards.  We huddled to talk about our morning experience and lessons learned or what went well and what can be improved so that future classes can be better. Everyone was happy with their classes although each one is unique. All of our kids instantly gained hundreds of admirers in one morning.

One of the afternoon activities was paper cutting with YiZhong students who are part of the paper cutting club.  We were each paired up with a YiZhong student under the guidance of the art teacher.  The outcome was a deck of masterpieces representing Chinese culture: dancers, snowflakes, flowers, cartoon characters, families.  Our talented Isabelle got everyone’s ahhhs.  It’s going to be a challenge with packing but we’ll make sure that we bring these art pieces back intact for all to admire.

We then had a session introducing Chinese calligraphy: its history, different styles and meanings. Following the introduction is a real practice using a special calligraphy pen that simulates the brushes. The kids had a field day with that.  Even though they got black ink all over their hands, they seemed to be enjoying their very own pieces as it “represents their own character”.  One of the characters written by Michael earned great praise from the teacher.  It didn’t matter that he didn’t know the charater he was writting.  They cheered when told that they get to keep the pen.  So be ware you might be seeing black ink at some unusual places in their luggage.

The kids were invited to watch the school championship basket ball games which happened to be going on this week.  They went out despite the drizzling rain.  With some encouragement, a 3-on-3 basket game was put in place.  Justin, Sam, Ryan, Brian, Savannah and Michael took turns playing.  As hard as our team tried, the YiZhong team won over us 22 – 8.  Well, they have the home court advantage.  It was a lot of fun.

We had dinner at the dining hall.  There were special tables set for our group but the kids prefer to be sitting at regular tables as the other students.  All dishes were specialties representing local favorites. The roasted port dish “hong shao rou” disappeared in just a few minutes.  Everyone including Peter and I also enjoyed the fresh bamboo shoot with shredded pork.  I alone consumed pretty much all of the sweet patato flower chunk “hong shu fen kuai” dish, my childhood favorite.

In the evening, we watched a vedio showing the history of YiZhong to get to learn more about the school. It was a bit challenging for our kids to understand, but we got the essence of it.

After a tiring and exciting day, the kids went to bed early and all fell asleep before 9:00pm.  They were shocked to hear the school bells/music of the night study classes (zi xi ke) and felt lucky that they don’t have to go to school to study at night.

****************************************************************************

 

Apr 20

Day 0 – 顺利抵达崇仁一中

我们的领队周津平和张志武老师在下午1点14分(美国东部时间)通过电话告知:经过漫长的旅行,团队已抵达崇仁一中。一切都很顺利,学生们正在休息,为明天的活动储蓄精力,做好准备。

********************************************************************

Day 0 – 4/19 – 4/20 Travel (by Jackie Zhou)

4/19:  All families arrived on time and no one forgot their passport!  A little chaotic at the self-checkin place as Delta seems to want everyone to do self check-in.  After taking group pictures and saying farewells, we headed toward the security check and gate.

Flight from Boston to Detroit was delayed a bit but the spirit was high among the kids.  The kids had such a fun time while awaiting to board, playing card games, sharing food, reading books and even studying for AP! The boys took the opportunity to pose creatively for the camera just to show the parents that are having a lot of fun.   Michael showed up in each of the group pictures for the girls (photo bomb?)  Finally we boarded the plane at 9:50am.  We were lucky to be able to switch seats so everyone is sitting together.  Time to share the food again as everyone seemed hungry.  Isabella’s grages, Ryan’s beef jerky and Yukun’s M&Ms were a big hit.  Now we just had to sit tight until we get to Detroit.  The flight was a little bumpy but the sky was really blue with pure white clouds floating beneath the plane.

It worked out fine in the end as we had more than 30 minutes to run to the connecting flight in Detroit.  We used a divide and conquer strategy to get the kids boarded while getting them some food with Peter taking care of buying food and Jackie taking the kids going through boarding.  We were all sitting together on this flight also.  The flight was long but made short by the big selection of movies, non-stop food and beverage supplies and nice conversations with each other.  Most of us got some sleep during the flight.  Yukun however stayed awake the entire flight.  We all envied his energy.

Everyone was smooth going through customs and connecting to the domestic flight to Nanchang.  We took group pictures at the immigration & customs without knowing cameras were not allowed.  Glad we didn’t get into trouble but just got a verbal warning by the security guard.  Hewww!  We enjoyed some rest time with ice scream at the terminal in Beijing.  The flight to Nanchang was uneventful.  When we landed in Nanchang, we saw the six representatives sent by YiZhong waiting for us at the exit.  The bus ride to YiZhong was about 2 and half hours.

We arrived at YiZhong at last!  It was just before midnight.  More school officials waited for us at the school to welcome our arrival.  We were led to the dorm rooms where everything we need were prepared for us.

************************************************************************

Below is the picture of the team at Logan Airport Saturday morning 4/19/2014.

 

 

Jan 28

Fundraising Event – Craft Fair / Yard Sale / Bake Sale – Sunday, 1:30pm-5:10pm, 3/9/2014

Dear parents, students, staff and teachers:

The annual fundraising yard sale for Support Education Project will be held in NCLS at the Day Middle School Cafeteria on March 9, 2014. We welcome all NCLS families to participate in this meaningful event. Please donate items and label your items with your suggested prices. In addition, please bring some pocket money to buy things from the yard sale. When you buy items at very reasonable prices, you also support some disadvantaged young kids to complete their high school education in China. All yard sale items will be sold at customer prices (means you price the items yourself) except labeled items. Business owners can register booths to conduct businesses at the yard sale (one day only). The registration fees will go to the Support Education Project, while business profits belong to owners.
If you have any questions, please email to supporteducation@newtonchineseschool.org

Craft Fair / Yard Sale / Bake Sale
Fundraising for NCLS Support Education Project

How:
• Donate all kinds of gently used, still valuable artistic toys, decorations, paintings, crafts, paper cuts, sculptures, sweaters, wallets, scarf, pottery, electronics, clothes, shoes, children’s books, CDs, sportswear, kitchenware…;
• Come to the fair and buy what you like at a very reasonable price;
• Business booth should register one week before. One registration per company / family;
• Items for donation should be brought to school cafeteria on the day before 1:30pm;
• Parents on duty or volunteers will help with donation sale;
• Unsold items will go to Charities such as Churches;
• Raised funds will go to the Support Education Project;
Who: All NCLS members (teachers, TA’s, staff, parents, grandparents, students…)
Where: F.A Day Middle School Cafeteria, NCLS.
When: March 9th 2014, Sundays, 1:30pm-5:10pm

2014 年义卖

时间:二零一四年三月九日,1:30pm – 5:10pm
地点:F. A. Middle School 餐厅 (NCLS)

捐赠各种使用过的,但仍然有价值的艺术品,装饰品,日常生活用品,陶瓷器具,电子产品,衣物鞋帽,玩具,儿童书籍,厨房用具,运动用品, 光碟,录像带, 或其他。请将捐赠物标上你的估价,送到 F. A. Day Middle School 餐厅, 由我们的工作人员卖出去。所得额全部交NCLS支教项目。未售出的物件送去慈善机构。

欢迎商家摆摊设点。注册费将归NCLS支教项目,营业利润则属于业主。详情请联系NCLS支教工作小组supporteducation@newtonchineseschool.org

Oct 15

Announcement and Fundraising Events – 1st Adult Tennis Tournament 10/20/13 & 8th Talent Show 11/3/13

1. Announcement of school year of 2013 – 2014 NCLS Support China Education Program

Dear teachers and parents:
As we start the new school year of 2013 – 2014, NCLS Support China Education Program has kicked-off its planning phase. This marks the 8th year of the Program. We will be providing support to students at Chong Ren Yi Zhong in Jiang Xi province(崇仁一中, 位于江西省抚州市崇仁县西部农村)。More information about this school and the students will be available on the NCLS web site. To keep this year’s program successful, we are recruiting new working group members. The number of working group members is not limited. Any parent, teacher or staff who is interested in supporting and contributing is welcome to join. The working group members are all volunteers, but we would like you to take a look at your schedule before you apply, as we do need certain amount of commitment to the program as a team member. We will run fund-raising activities, have meetings and organize the students’ trip to China. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to supporteducation@newtonchineseschool.org before Friday October 5th, 2013.
We are also forming a student’s volunteer group again this year. Every NCLS student above 8th grade is eligible even if you are not planning to go on the trip to China in April and your volunteer hours will be recognized. For those students who would like to apply as a member to go to China in April 2014, volunteer work prior to the trip is required. We especially welcome our program alumni to volunteer again this year as a way to give back to the program. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to supporteducation@newtonchineseschool.org as soon as possible.
Thanks!
NCLS Support Education Program Working Group
http://blog.newtonchineseschool.org/supportchinaeducation/

2. NCLS First Adult Tennis Tournament for Support Education Program

Newton Chinese School will be holding its first adult tennis tournament (牛顿中文学校网球锦标赛) this fall. Tennis players of all levels are welcome to participate. All you need is to sign up. A voluntary donation of any amount is welcome but we suggest at least a $20 donation from each player ($40 if you play both singles and doubles). All proceeds will go toward the 2013 – 2014 Support China Education program supporting students in Chongren Yi Zhong, Jiangxi province (江西省抚州地区崇仁县一中).

Tournament Detail is as follows:
1. When: Sunday 2:00pm – 9:00pm in October (weather permitting), starting Sunday, October 20th.
2. Where: Tennis courts behind NCLS (FA Day Middle School, Newton) next to the baseball field. Additional courts: Newton North High School tennis courts
3. How:
a. Either pro sets or 24-point games depending on the number of players who sign up
b. 2 levels: Level A: USTA 4.0 and above; Level B: USTA 3.0/3.5. If you don’t know your level, you will be placed at level B.
c. Doubles and singles (Men’s and Women’s division)

To sign up, please contact Hongxing Wang (王红星) at hongxing.wang@hotmail.com and Jackie Zhou (周津平) at jackiejpzhou@yahoo.com by Friday, October 18. Indicate which level and whether you are playing doubles or singles. If playing doubles, please provide partner’s name and e-mail.

Thank you for your support!

3. Talent show fundraising event on November 3rd:
随着又一个金色秋天的来临,牛顿中文学校支持中国教育事业和资助中国贫困学生交流计划进入了第八个年头。我们热忱期望勤学苦练各项才艺的同学们,和拥有十八般武(舞) 艺的家长们投身到这个大舞台来,参加今秋举办的青少年和家庭募捐才艺表演。我们将选送优秀节目参加学校的演出。希望通过这个机会,让更多的家长和同学了解牛顿中文学校的支教计划。才艺表演的具体安排如下:
时间: 2013年11月3日, 星期日 4:00pm – 7:00pm
地点: Auditorium, F.A. Day Middle School, (牛顿中文学校礼堂)
报名办法: 请填好报名表(下载附件), TalentShowAppForm2013-Fall于11月3日前投入报名箱. (报名箱放在中文学校入口处)或网上报名,
请电邮supporteducation@newtonchineseschool.org
售票办法: 票价: 个人 $10,家庭 $20 (欢迎其它捐款, 数目多少不限)
时间: 10月20日, 10月27日和门口售票
地点: 牛顿中文学校一楼入口处
请所有有兴趣的同学和家庭积极报名参加, 也恳请老师, 家长们关心, 支持这项活动。在我们一起享受精彩的才艺表演时,我们没有忘记我们远在中国的贫困学生,我们的心连在一起。如果你有什么问题的话,请联系牛顿中文学校支教工作小组supporteducation@newtonchineseschool.org

谢谢大家的共同参与!

Apr 24

Day 4, 5, 6 and Coming Back

Dear All,

As we all come back to Boston, continue with our daily routine here, but the days at CuoZhen Zhongxue still in my mind, so vivid, warm memories! I know our students all wrote great journals and we will encourage them to put together as a post-trip summary. Here is just my brief summary on those wonderful days!

Day 4

Today we are going out of the classroom for a change to visit students’ families. Our team was split into two groups. Principal Liang leads a group of 6 kids and I have 6 kids. We each visited 4 families/houses. I can talk about our trip. Although the school is very considerate to find those who live closer for us to visit, some part of the road to those families are quite bumpy and took 30 minutes to drive, and you really know it is in 农村,  the fresh air and open field in spring make it all up for us. The best part was we have two students from the local school in our car. During the car ride, they introduced to us about their family situation and how they got the sponsorship from us and how thankful they are. They chatted in English and Chinese, with smiles on them, all the way. very beautiful and touching. You will see many pictures in the photo albums (about the albums, that is Cuozhen school’s gifts to each of us! They spent quite some money to have the speedy service to print so many pictures for us! How thoughtful they are!!!) Our students got to see the real home life in the country side: using well water, simple setting, nice parents, grandparents, etc. Almost in each house, they have their proud students’ 奖状on the wall as decoration, very beautiful and that touches my heart. Most of these students have a tough life, either parents are ill or working very hard still not able to afford their tuition. But, all of them are so strong and optimistic, really great role models for those kids and to us. We can feel their warm heart and appreciation. Some of our students said, without this trip, they do not see much of difference of these students at school and now they know that they have to work hard on their own and also carry the burden from the family. Not easy! Our students happily left lots of candies to the families we visited as a small token.

In the afternoon, the School thoughtfully invited a skilful Tai Ji master to teach us Taiji. Wow, he has real gongfu and our students were astonished and learned so much! Then, the best part yet to come! Fly kites! Many of us forgot when was the last time we did that! There is an open field to be constructed and our kids, teamed up with local students in a 2 or 3 people group, enjoyed the flying kite so long and so joyfully! Freedom, young spirit, flying high, just beautiful scene to watch! The sky looks dark with lots of winds and cloudy, but that can not stop these young hearts! 自由飞翔的感觉真好!

During that time, Emily Liu had visitors coming to see her! What a joyful moment she shared with us, not only her cousin, but also her uncle and aunt, who haven’t seen her for 9 years, happened to be visiting Hefei this week and came to see her! Emily was so proud to tell me that during their visit of 2 hours, she chatted with them all in CHINESE!!! Great! They brought lots of snacks for Emily and Emily was so sweet to share with others and smart enough to save some for the airport later!

Then, the kids went to play ping pong with local teacher and students. We have Bryan who is expert in this sport. They played for long time and really fun. Other kids, like Andrew, Tony and Sam, were outside teaching local kids how to do the Break dance and Kong Fu. Just wonderful to see our kids blend in with them.

The evening program was to see a real performance show nearby at the real 农村社区. It is amazing how those 业余演员(平时都是农民)so devoted to their dance and singing and really awesome to watch. Only that night was really cold…

Day 5

Today, instead of our students teaching English in their classroom, we are students to sit through their regular classes. They sent the best teachers to teach 3 blocks and they are Chinese, History and Geography. Although it is hard for our students to understand each single word, they do experience the real classroom setting and see how great their students perform. I learned a lot as a teacher and all these topics are quite helpful for our students who take AP Chinese and I think they really learned a lot. After three classes, our students are very kind to accept the invitation from a class who were not able to see our presentation the other day (think about a big school with 3000 students, only 250 seats in the auditorium) to give another round of presentation. They did better and better, some even without the notes in their hand! :) Bravo! I am so proud of them!

Remember the other day, our basketball team of 5 lost badly to the local school? well, a team of 3 of us competed with them 3 and won big today! (play half court, which is good for us, because our kids not used to run in the cement floor). It was fun to watch them play!

In the afternoon, the school invited our students and their students to make dumplings together. One of their English teacher who taught us paper cutting the other day, even thoughtfully brought her own juice machine to use fresh vegetable to make different colored juice and blend in the flour to have 5 different colored dough/wrappers! So beautiful! Green (celery), red (tomato), yellowish (carrot), purple (purple cabbage) and original color. More than 30 people work in the cafeteria with laughs and singing, can not  be more joyful to watch! During that time, another group invited our students to give another round of presentation and our students delivered again in a high notes…

We enjoyed the jiaozi so much and forgot that another big banquet waiting for us!! The school prepared two big round table of yummy food for us! Our students learned how to cheer with their juice and enjoyed all the food! So delicious and so much!

That night we had a last round of celebration with those 21 students. Wendy played the beautiful flute. Wendy also trained Ethan to become an instant Magician to play a cup trick. After that the cups are used by a group of 4 (Emily, Sarah, Bryan and Chris) playing jazz band with the paper cups and pencil tricks! simple and elegant! Emily and Juliana also each sang a solo song in CHINESE! How wonderful! We had a great night and hard to say good bye! Many local students brought nice gifts to our students, some books (like 唐诗,红楼梦,读者), and handmade stuff and origami to our students, with poems they wrote, very touching and warm hearted. Our students were seeking for stuff to give back to them….

Day 6

Our last day at Hefei and as planned, after breakfast, we left. Nan’s father made great arrangement for us. The best and luxury tour bus in Hefei drove us around the entire day! Brought us to 巢湖, the 5th largest lake in China to see the beautiful sightseeing. We visited a famous temple there as well. Lunch, kids are treated by Professor Liang in a great and yummy 农家乐restaraunt. So happy! Our kids learned and got to practice: 我吃好了, 你们慢慢吃,谢谢! :) In the afternoon, we stopped by 中国科技大学, and took a picture, told them it is just like MIT in Boston. :) Then headed to the commercial street 步行街 to go for some light shopping. Our students were so great to stay in a group and thought about getting some souvenirs for their family, siblings (did you see and like them?)

Before dinner, we got to visit the secured control center of the biggest Hefei Bus Station (like Greyhound). It serves 10,000 passengers a day and 500+ routes to all over the places and all controlled by the super computer and advanced software system. Our students watched the engineers working in the control room and were amazed by the technology! We were treated a fancy dinner at a big dining hall in their company owned restaurant! The table was huge, can sit 20 people comfortably and it turns automatically! They prepared 6 cold dishes and 18 hot dishes!!! So fresh and so delicious. Our students felt so lucky to be treated so nicely! Many thanks to Nan’s father again!

Finally we went to the hotel,it is simple, but with, internet and hot shower!!! Our students were over joyed by that! But, we make sure they go to bed early enough because they have to get up at 5 am to catch the flight in the morning.

 

Coming back: now you know the rest of story! We got up at 5, found the nearby small store had the freshly made 稀饭和茶叶蛋 and ate them, then head to the airport! Flight was smooth. Once we got to Beijing, students get to use the REAL toilet after a week! hahaha!!! They also enjoyed another round of shopping… Then finally we got home and meet  you all!

It is the end of the journey, but the reflection has just started! I heard our students sharing in the car ride, how nice the local students are, how hard they worked, how much they have in their life, how they should stop wasting resources, etc. etc. Please cultivate good conversation with them and you will find they learned a lot and matured a lot through the trip.

To me, it is a very productive and fruitful trip! I totally enjoyed being with each of them and learned about them more and closer. They are so wonderful! I am thankful to be able to have this great opportunity to lead them and serve the community! And thank you for each of your strong support!

Jieying

Apr 17

Day Three

OK, This is almost the end of Day 3 now! I was not able to send this out last night. So I will continue with our 3rd day event.

Last night, we learned calligraphy. Principal Liang’s father was very thoughtful to prepare a nice brush and water writing booklet for our students. They sent a teacher with great calligraphy skills to teach us step by step. Our students really enjoyed this hands-on experience and proud of their own progress after 2 hours of good lesson. We are more touched when the teacher said, he spent the entire day prepared 14 pieces of wonderful calligraphy for each of us and will give us as a keepsake! Wow, that is so precious and each of our students was delighted to pick their favorite and they should have learned what it said, please check out with them. We are asking one of teachers here to get it done nicely (zhuang biao) so it will be easier for you to hang on the wall at home.

Wed. Students had better sleep and jetlegs are almost over. We started rotating in each classrooms for the 4 classes in the morning. Our students not only led local students improving their English pronunciation, but also learning Chinese with them: they are teaching our students how to recite Li Bai’s poem, sing popular songs, etc. Lots of pictures taken,some students made beautiful flowers for us, all are so friendly and nice. Our students are very happy.

This afternoon, instead of visiting some local museum, we requested to have some Lab class with local students. Started with the physics lab. Their lab was very well designed and has hands-on devices. Our students were teamed up with local students and finished some great experiment and learned how to draw the experiment graph and how to calculate V0 (initial velocity). Then they did 3 chemistry lab tests and learned how to measure the temperature change, by different ways, very interesting. Last, they worked in the biology lab, watching the cells from onion, green leave or flowers. Our students did that in 6th or 7th grade, so they handled it well. But, physics and chemistry, they really think it is quite eye opening and fascinating.

Now, we are preparing for tonight’s presentation and performance. We heard the school prepared for it 2 months ago and did “hai xuan” from the 3000 students to select the best of the best performance for us tonight and our students are tryint to do our very best too!

More reports will follow!

In one word, we are doing great, nobody gets sick (knock the wood), all in open mind and positive mood to learn and experience, everybody gets along great! Nan and I fell very thankful to have such a well built team! Thank you for your support!

Cheers,

Jieying

Apr 17

2nd Day at Cuo Zhen

Dear All,

We started our first day with a high note and ended with a huang mei diao! :) Last program last night was learning how to sing the famous local style of music and was pretty fun for us all. They also sent us experienced teacher teaching us how to do the paper cut as well. In the afternoon, all of our students got a chance to do their presentation to their 6th graders for once and they did great job and audience were really delighted. After that, we were invited to play soccer with local students. The kids who played had lots of fun and all the rest kids were cheering for them.

We also went to take a shower in a nearby shower place. It is quite an experience for our students taking shower in a public place (only us though, no other customer). Oh, it felt great after 3 days without warm shower (and yesterday was 31C). It costs 28RMB a person. They all think it is quite worth it.

OK, today. This morning, we had a brief time using the computer room, but I was not able to log in, only a few students able to send email to their parents and I told them to forward to you all.

We had all our activities in High School area today and the weather was great, with beautiful breeze and blue sky. This morning our students were divided into groups to attend some English classrooms and some of them got to demo and lead the local students how to read and some got to share their personal learning experience with local students. Local students are very friendly and our students are very kind and it really warms my heart watching them communicating each other.

In the noon time, our students took a quick nap. Then some of us were invited to play basketball with them. Our team worked very hard, maybe due to the cement floor and  wind, we lost, pretty big loss. :) Any outdoor opportunity our kids can grab,. they would play football, frisbee, etc.

This afternoon, the school hosted formal ceremony welcoming our team and welcoming the supporting education gesture. Many local leaders came and gave speech, our Principal Liang delivered speech too. Their student representative had a very impressive speech and our kids were very encouraged. The reason our NCLS get to connected with this school is due to Professor Liang  (Nan’s father), who graduated from this school many years ago and who thought about his hometown and would like to find ways to provide better opportunities for students here.

Before dinner, our students played ultimate frisbee, led by expert Bryan Xian. Wow, very intensive game! After watching for a while, some local kids joined us too and it was lots of fun!

The cafeteria here gives too big of portion each meal and our students quickly found their way to solve the problem: either two are sharing or three are sharing and they really get along so well, just like they are old buddies. We are so grateful to see that. Of course, after each meal, they love to have some icecream bars, soda (all bottled and well packed from the store). They said it was yummy.

OK, I got to go to the evening event now and more later.

All kids are doing great! So long!

Jieying

 

Apr 14

Safely Arrived and First Day at School

Dear All,

Although due to the airplane delayed at the Beijing airport, we arrived at HeFei 2 hours later than expected, it was almost 1am, students are all in good spirit and very flexible with the arrangement. The CuoZhen School Principal and Admin team were all waiting for us at the school gate (even the school billboard having the English welcome flashing at the mid of the night which made us really feel welcome!). They quickly led us to the dorm, 3 people in a room, with newly purchased bedding sets, and students found their room mates quickly. Then we headed to the cafeterial to have our first free warm meal after spending 40 hours on the road! Yummy! (we found Wei Qian La Mian at the Beijing airport and had a bowl soup noodle there already)

Students all had a short but sound sleep and the alarm clock woke us up at 6am. What a beautiful morning, warm breeze and sunshine! We walked to the cafeterial, students using their 100 RMB meal card purchased their first breakfast, many choices, and warm and fresh. They were super satisfied and said much better than their own school at America! :)

Then we walked 15 mins. crossing some morning farm market to the Middle School campus of their school, to attend the Flag Rising Ceremony! Very formal and educational. Their Principal made a welcoming speech in both English and Chinese, our students are impressed.

They are well prepared for our coming and quickly arranged students into 4 groups (3 each group) and sent them to different classrooms (English classroom). They will rotate to different classrooms after each 45 min. block. So, we will spend whole day today at the Middle School campus.

Everybody is in happy mood and can’t wait to jump in and help out. Everybody here is very friendly and nice. Especially Principal Liang’s father came to the airport, stayed with us the entire time till 1:30am and came to greet us again this early morning! Without his thoughtful arrangement, it could have been a more bumpy trip! We are really grateful for that!

Students learned how to use lian pen to wash their face and feet :) And we are getting our way to pick up hot water on our way in and out. I told them the dorm is better than their parents college life 30 years :) Hopefully we are able to find a way to send pictures to you soon.

It is very safe here, the entire school has security guard at the front and only entrance (next door is the police station 24/7). Then, each dorm building is locked at night with security guard living inside. Each room has a lock for us to lock up when we leave the door. So, we are all set for now.

Your packing are very helpful and students seem to find everything they need. :) This is for now and more updates will come (we have to find internet in their school teaching building or teacher’s office, a bit slow internet).

Thank you all and we will have a wonderful time here!

Cheers,

Nan and Jieying

Again, if you need to reach any student, call my cell phone here 13958097099. I am always with them. –Jieying