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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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2011-06-23


by Liao,Bonnie on 2011-06-29

Dear Parents,

I am so glad to see 11-year-old Darren\'s with us again! During the past three days, I have found Darren\'s parents are two of the most gracious and positive-minded parents. I am grateful to have their support for Darren and for me even at the moment when uncertainty and ambiguity were plenty. Thank you, Cherrie and Simon!

Here\'s the finishing order during today\'s mile running. While it was not meant to be a competition at all, the list merely means to give you a \"picture\" of what was going on as the kids running back.

Tristan
Sophia (12)
Jessica
Ryan
Ben
Matt
Chauncey
Amy
Lin Lin
Robert
Melissa
Shannon
Brandon
Ming Ming
...

We asked many kids to take it easy and gave them the option of running around the smaller circle four times (about 0.5 mile). Well, you might find James and Dave were missing from the list. That\'s because I found them trying to run the \"small circle \" to \"get-by,\" but I sent them to the large circle around the lake and they complied without any resistance. I believe every kid should learn to reach their own potential instead of taking short-cuts. :-)

I taught the kids four sections of the guang3-bo1-ti3-cao1, which you can learn it yourself at http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjA4NjAxNg==.html .  The nationwide practice of doing this exercise daily (10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) during weekdays was resumed on August 10, 2010 (http://news.21cn.com/domestic/difang/2010/08/10/7726034.shtml). YiB has been keeping up this tradition all along. Annie said in her reflection that it was easier than what it seemed in the video.

The village Jiao Zhuang Hu, still has villagers living there, became famous during the Sino-Japanese war. In 1943, its villagers built the first section of the underground tunnel. In 1944, they developed it into an underground strategic system by adding tunnels to connect the earlier ones - as depicted in the movie \"The Tunnel War.\" We visited about 800 meters of the \"strategic system.\" The tunnel would go into some current villagers\' homes, which is why there were blocks preventing us from exploring the system freely. Nevertheless it was such an unique experience.

At the porcelain workshop, I told the students why this country is not called \"middle-kingdom\" in English as that\'s what its Chinese name means. Instead, this country has been called \"China.\" Why? Please ask your child to give you an explanation! Also ask them where the dough has come from for making the porcelain products today, what is the temperature for making porcelain and for how long.
 
I am glad to see that more and more students are mindful about expressing their appreciation for the others\' good deed instead of taking what they do for granted.  MingMing mentioned that the Korean BBQ staff and our tour guide Joy used a few umbrellas to \"transfer\" us from the bus to the restaurant during the heavy downpour today. There was a brief black-out during the dinner. We were very lucky that we did not have to travel for long to get back to the hotel. Later I heard that the majority part of the ring-circle highways were paralyzed due to slow drainage and flood.

There have been three minor incidents among the students (mostly boys). Having the students involved to talk about \"what could have been done differently\" has been rather effective in helping them to mediate.

All of your kids are good kids who are easy to work with. Thank you for sending them.

So much from me.


Best,
Bonnie
___________
From Robert Zhang -

The theme that seemed to pervade today as well as today\'s reflection was appreciation. Many students found small or big things throughout the day to appreciate. Bonnie also wanted to delineate to everyone that reflection was not supposed to simply be an event-journal, but a time for soul-searching, introspection, and looking for ways to improve ourselves, or to lead ourselves to become better people and leaders.

Today was a field trip day. As a nice follow-up to our movie yesterday, we visited the actual site of the underground tunnels that the Chinese villagers used in the Sino-Japanese war. Some students thought it was boring, but others, such as Sonia, were awed by the sheer amount of effort it took to construct the underground tunnels. Matt said in his reflection that he found the tunnels interesting because they were just like in the movie we saw yesterday.

12:00PM We had a special lunch at a local family-run restaurant in the area, where all the food was grown and made organically by the family. A lot of people enjoyed the lunch because they knew the amount of work that was put into it. Although as the group somewhat absent-mindedly left the restaurant without showing their thanks to the one of the owners, many students mentioned their appreciation in today\'s reflection because Bonnie reminded us after lunch to be more respectful and thankful to all the service-people we encountered. I think this affected the group greatly and many people kept this in mind throughout the rest of the day.

2:00PM Afterwords we went to a Porcelain Workshop where there was first an information session on the aspects of porcelain-making process and examples of how to make different types of porcelain. A lot of students enjoyed this part of the trip such as James, DeTorrea, and Sophia, who mentioned this in their reflections. Dave said in his reflection that he was trying to make something for his Mom, but the clay kept collapsing. In the end, everyone had help from the Porcelain masters who shaped  their porcelain products for those who asked for it.

5:00PM We all went to a Korean BBQ place for dinner. Everyone enjoyed grilling their own food. Although Sophia seemed to be at somewhat of a loss at a BBQ because she is vegetarian, she still enjoyed the meal, which also had a lot of vegetarian choices. Dave said during reflection that the dinner made him feel at home because he grilled with his family before he left for Beijing. After dinner, Annie bought a small purse for 10 yuan and mentioned in her reflection that she was proud of the haggling she did (from 15 yuan), she also especially thanked Bonnie who lent her money, when she could not access her own at the time.

8:00PM During reflection, we were joined by Darren, who was the boy who lost his passport and decided to come back to participate in YiB. In reflection, Ryan talked about the flash flood that happened around dinner, and MingMing praised Shannon for her leadership skills, in taking the initiative to quiet people down throughout the day when they were being too loud. Chauncey, in my opinion, read a very powerful reflection, in which he stated that he now understood a lot more about the value of respect and that from now on, he would try to be a better person. Chauncey has been in few altercations with other students during the past three days, but after Bonnie called him and other students into peer mediation, it seems that he is making an sincere effort to change.

Tomorrow will be class day, but from what I have heard the majority of students have not finished their homework. However, I\'m sure that soon, all the students will soon learn to take their Chinese studies as seriously as they have been taking the leadership skills and personal values (as evidenced in their reflections) that Bonnie has been trying to teach.


Robert


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