On Sun, Apr 20, 2014 at 11:28 PM (Beijing Time), Jackie Zhou wrote:
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)
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
Craft Fair / Yard Sale / Bake Sale
Fundraising for NCLS Support Education Project
• 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
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。
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com as soon as possible.
NCLS Support Education Program Working Group
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and Jackie Zhou (周津平) at email@example.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:
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，
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
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
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!
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…
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….
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!
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!
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!