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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by Liao,Bonnie on 2012-07-13

Dear Parents,

It wasn’t until reflection tonight that I realized that I hadn’t yet written the journal for yesterday. I’ll try to reproduce some of what I should have said yesterday here:

In the morning, we went to a senior center to visit the senior residents there. Because of a miscommunication between the travel agent, the seniors had been sitting outside in the sun (with some shade) waiting for us for an entire hour before we got to the center. The students were glad to bring some joy and variety to the senior’s seemingly uneventful routine.

We sang the few songs that we’ve been practicing and showed kung fu and Chinese yoyo. When we sang Thankful Heart, the students were thankful for you (their parents), their teachers, their families, their friends, and the positive impacts that the seniors had on Chinese society and their own families. Then, we shared fruit with the seniors and talked to them some. Thanks to Julia, Evita, and Karma for really making an effort to communicate with the elders and thanks to Eileen for noticing some seniors upstairs who hadn’t gotten fruit and going up there to share.

Afterwards, we went to the Fa Yuan Buddhist temple, where we looked at all the different halls – e.g., one with the four Heavenly Kings and one with the Lady Budda. At the back of all the halls, we marveled at the two hai3 tang2 trees that were gifted to the temple by the Qian2 Long2 Emperor of China (Qing Dynasty), and the students realized how thoroughly the monk in charge had to take care of these trees. Then, we had hot pot on Ox Street, with students eating both vegetables and meat, though no pork. Continuing on Ox Street, the students changed into long pants and we went to the Ox-street mosque, the biggest and oldest mosque in Beijing, and an amalgamation of Chinese and Arabic lettering and architecture. Bonnie told us the story about Kang1 Xi1 Emperor who didn’t believe Muslims were conspiring against him and instead put them under his protection by issuing an official order.

We then visited the Mai4 Zi Dian4 Community, especially its activity center, where the students learned some dancing (with fans and also dances to go with the Peking Opera) and performed their kung-fu again. The facilities were nice, and the students were surprised to realize that all of the services and classes offered were free for the 30K residents. For dinner, we went to Bai2 Kui2 Lao3 Hao4, a “little eatery” (xiao2 chi1), where we gave the students 20 yuan each and had them order their own food. Though most just got beef noodle, ordering was challenging for some of them.

Finally, we went to a special “kung fu” show that featured a lot of kung fu award-winners, as well as some pretty cute pandas.

Today, we had the last day of classes (field trip tomorrow and various testing on Sunday) in the morning. In the afternoon, we watched a short film about the founder of Beijing Guang Ai school (http://v.ku6.com/show/6QI2PjK5rnkvf2Hu.html), where we will be going on Monday for a week, and started to learn two more songs, Lean on Me (English), and the school song for Guang Ai School. Then, a doctor came to talk to us about Chinese medicine practices, including the actual medicine you take, as well as acupuncture, massage, and cupping. The students had a chance to volunteer to receive some acupuncture, and several students pointed to their decision to try it as an improvement in their risk-taking (part of the IB learner’s profile). Dinner was again at the Porridge Place, and the teachers got cake to celebrate Kevin, Julia, and Emily’s birthday.

Student Reflections:

Sarah: When she went to the senior center, she was sad that the seniors couldn’t easily see their families and seemed abandoned. They’ve all provided services to others and society, but their meaningful lives do not guarantee a happy ending. She doesn’t want to be in a senior center, so she doesn’t want to send her parents to one either.

Karma: at the senior home, she talked to a really nice old lady who seemed happy to live there, and was just glad to have a place to live where the conditions weren’t too bad. The pandas were amusing and she didn’t know there were so many types of kung fu (with whips, etc).

Natalie: today at the lecture about Chinese medicine she realized that pain is needed for good things, like for example shots. She remembered what her mom always told her about no pain no gain.

Alice: the old people were really grateful that we went to the senior center, which made her realize that it wasn’t hard for us, but little things mean a lot.

Justin: the people in the panda suit were talented to be able to do kung fu even through the bulky suit. He noticed that Frank [our tour guide] was standing on the staircase because he didn’t have a seat, and realized that we take Frank for granted even though he actually does a lot.

Narendra: the seniors seemed happy no matter the conditions, and he treasured and was grateful to see the happiness in them after we shared the fruit. Realized that making seniors happy was more rewarding than money or gold. Also, that everyone should treasure their life.

 Rachel & Bonnie


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