Monday, May 17, 2010

We were reminded today by the President of our host college that our presence here serves as a valuable example of a way to promote understanding and appreciation of other cultures and other peoples in an increasingly global community. –Let’s remember this not just in our weeks here, but as we return home to share our experience with Global Volunteers! –Karen

I began the day by wishing Karen “Happy Birthday”, her third birthday in a row in China!

At breakfast our journals backed up like a plugged sink. All that came out were 2 daily entries and one extra Thought for the Day.

Our day was to be different. We each met with about 12 students, some who presented their speeches to us for critique. Somehow my day’s schedule worked like clockwork. Period 1 I heard seven speeches and gave them some ideas to improve their presentation. In period 2 and 3 we made a sign-up list of the seven and I saw each of them for ten minutes ending exactly at 12 noon.

I strained “at the bit” dragging the teachers to the van. This old horse knew what lay waiting for us back at the stable.

It was a wonderful meal, its centerpiece being plates and plates of dumplings. We ate sumptuously. Robison offered us wine and tea and soft drinks. Their attractive young daughter Alice was with us.

It was a perfect-sized group, abut 14 in number. We talked of our good feelings about the volunteer program. Robison, whose English is fair, chose to speak in Chinese and spoke in broad terms about the “Global Community”. Several of us responded to his thoughts.

The teachers has given us vases of flowers, Kaken’s was especially beautiful in recognition of her birthday. We sang Happy Birthday to her and afterwards I told them of things Karen has achieved in her life.

Our van left, reaching the hotel about 4 o’clock. Karen, Sunshine and I then walked to Ren Ren Le and had great fun browsing in the foods section. We made several purchases and walked back to the hotel. The rain began just 5 minutes from the hotel and I arrived drenched. The others had graciously waited dinner for us though we were 30 minutes late.

After dinner Sunshine joined us for a (surprise) birthday cake for Karen. The cake was delicious and beautifully decorated with rows of cherries, dragon fruit and peach slices. But as elegant as it was the cake was over-shadowed by the amazing lotus petaled birthday candle, sparkler thing that gave a squeaky rendition of “Happy Birthday”. We excused ourselves at 8:30 since lurking in our minds was the long day ahead that faces us.

It is 9:30. As is usual at this time of day Karen is in her bed, sitting up this morning eating the cup of yoghurt she stole this morning from the hotel buffet. And I am writing, glad to conclude this entry before 10:00.


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