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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by on 2011-06-29

Dear Parents,

We have entered the second week of the YiB program. My suggestion is that, if you have been calling your child multiple times last week, please cut the number of your calls in half (and another half next week). It may not be as easy to make phone calls during the fourth week and I wanted your child to be ready.


From Robert Zhang -

Today I was in Class A for a little while. The students in Class A are Ryan, Dave, Detorea, JoAnne, and just today, Annie, Sophia, and Mickee moved back down from class A.5. The class started with a test where the students wrote down the Chinese Characters or Pinyin of vocabulary words they learned previously. Then a new lesson was introduced about telling time and the students played a game with a small play clock where they had to tell the time in Chinese. The students also learned how to say their birthdays and ages.

After lunch, the students learned to play a Chinese puzzle game from a guest-teacher. The game has different sized wooden blocks arranged in a larger box with an empty space. Only by moving the blocks around, the students had to move the largest piece through a hole on the other side of the box. The students learned to solve this puzzle along with other puzzles using different initial arrangements of the wooden blocks. The blocks had characters imprinted on them from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a classical Chinese story that Class C is reading.

3:00 p.m. we spent an hour and a half to learn a new song \"My Heart with Gratitude.\" We listened to Bonnie introducing the Beijing Guang Ai School, a nonprofit K-12 boarding school for homeless/foster/poor children. We will spend our fourth week there observing their life and to organize activities to share what we know with the students there. The students at this school sing this song every single day because the principal Mr. Shi wants to make sure that all his students would always remember the people who have helped and encouraged them to never give up and bravely to be themselves. Bonnie said that we all have people in our lives that we wanted to be thankful for. The song is meaningful to us as well. After just listening to the song a couple of times, the students could sing along pretty well.

Then, the students went outside to play with Chinese yo-yos that we watched the acrobats perform with last night. Shannon demonstrated to everyone how to initiate the yo-yo to spin on the string. The kids played with these until dinner.

At reflection, here are some short notes I took for each person. Some have to do with yesterday and some have to do with today.

Melissa – Very interested in learning about the Guang Ai school (a school for foster/poor children) , looking forward to the fourth week when we visit the school

Sonia – Enjoyed the science museum. Amazed at the cricket trainer\'s command over his crickets.

Jessica – Thought the acrobatic show was really cool. Did not know that crickets were such a big deal in China before yesterday. Is sad about Mickee leaving, says hopefully she will be able to enjoy her last few days at camp.

Ryan – Had fun at the science museum. Hu tongs were interesting.

Ben – Needs to balance his Chinese skills. Good at writing but not at understanding.

MingMing – Thankful that the cricket trainer showed up although he was sick.

Shannon – Mentions the old man everyday in the park who does tai chi sword. Feels very moved and respects the old people who come to the park everyday to practice.

Joanne – Found a driving game very fun in the science museum. Found the Chinese Puzzles today confusing.

Annie – Thankful for no morning exercise today. Thinks that moving to A class was the right move.

Detorea – Thought that class today was easy. Thought the puzzle today was fun but sometimes boring.

Sophia – Thinks class A is just right for her. Found Chinese yo yo was fun and easy and Shannon helped her untie her yo yo when it got stuck.

Lisa – Ben gave her one yen for ice cream when she only had a 100 dollar bill and is thankful for that.

Amy – Found the acrobatics show very fun, reminded her of her time in America before she left when she saw a lot of shows with her family.

LinLin – Awed at the hard work of the acrobats and really enjoyed the performance.

Tia – She appreciates all the families we visited yesterday for opening their homes to us.

Chauncey – Thanks Matt for teaching him how to play guitar better, and enjoyed the Chinese puzzle.

Dave – Occasionally got irritated at the puzzle but found it fun.

Darren – Thinks his new room is not as messy and people don\'t argue as much.

Brandon – 9/20 on a test in C class. Improved from 4/20. Matt helped him open the box of the puzzle today.

Matthew – Did well in dictation because he studied but thought the puzzle teaching was kind of disorganized. Enjoyed the Chinese yo yo tricks.

James – The 72 Drum tower steps were intimidating. Enjoys counting people outside yesterday who did not have their shirts on.

Tristan – The Hutong alley opened his perspective in terms of different living conditions. The motor cycle part of yesterdays was jaw-dropping. Looking forward to going to the water-cube tomorrow to swim.

Bonnie talked about the essence of reflection today for her reflection which she said is about reaching into your thoughts, being able to think about what happened and how one can improve, do things differently, etc.. She told everyone to focus more on this than simply writing a simple list of the day\'s activities and commenting on whether they were good/bad/cool. To she wanted everyone to be more introspective in order to learn how to find meaning in their lives. She pointed out that good/cool experience may or may not be meaningful while bad experience may be; it is up to us to find the meaning in life.

She also wanted us to be aware of how lucky we were to be on this trip, that many students wanted to come but could not afford it. We will be more aware of this once we visit the Guang Ai school for foster children. 

While talking about \"meaningful life,\" Bonnie pulled out dozens of small glass vials of \"huo4 xiang1 zheng4 qi4 shui3,\" a very effective Chinese medicine popular among Beijing local residents to fight off the hot and humid weather in the summer. It generally provides protection and general relief for light headache, stomach discomfort, cold-like symptoms, etc., that are caused by the weather. Although we have been very fortunate to enjoy rather comfortable weather this year (32-33 C), a couple of students have started experiencing mild stomach discomfort and cold-like symptoms.

Every student hold a vial and waited to sip it down together. Without the support of each other, most students would never be able to drink it because the medicine has a very strong smell and taste. Thanks to the peer support, EVERYONE finished the vial together as one of the \"cultural adventure!\" There is a Chinese saying, \"good medicine tastes bitter but is better for treating your illness.\" Again, the meaning is deeper than the superficial \"good\" or \"bad.\" Hope the students can remember this.

Some students anxiously asked if the hotel in the fourth week would be as nice as the one we are staying (a 4-star hotel). Bonnie seriously told the students that the hotel would be must worse than the current hotel, but everyone would \"survive.\" She wanted everyone to have a realistic expectation and find meanings in such an experience. She reminded the students, \"Our hotel - with AC, shower, and toilet, will still be so much nicer than the dorm the Guang Ai school students live.\" However the Guang Ai school students would not complain. Why? Because they used to be homeless.

She gave us a quote to think about: “I used to complain about having no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”

Robert & Bonnie


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