Journal by: Katrina
My last day was sad for me. In just two weeks, I had become attached to the sixth grade boys and all the teachers and students at that beautiful little school with little room and little money.
Donald sang two songs for me, which was his forte, Mickey was going to sing, but he chickened out, and they gave me a beautiful card that said, “May Everyday Be Happy” and “We love you and will miss you!” I also received a pendant that said La La Shou, it was very unique and delicate, something I will keep always!
I had fallen in love with the students and the teachers. We communicated with our smiles, our laughter, and with our eyes. The translators were from the university and absolutely wonderful. They would bring me water and always tell me to sit! They loved America and President Obama. They all loved seeing pictures of my family and pictures of Abe Lincoln. They were very happy without a lot of material things, except of course their cell phones. They were English majors and they wanted me to be pleased with their English. They worked very hard translating and also helping with the students. They also were very proud to be in college and demonstrating their talents. They seemed to be more motivated and respectful than college students in America. They were very proud to be able to attend college.
China is a country of contrast, old and new. It is a country so vast and varied, yet the people seem to all work together peacefully. They find ways to survive and are very resourceful in a crowded city with 9 million people, and with what they have. It has truly been a life alternating experience. Basically, we all want the same things to be happy. Those students are so sweet and gifted in many, many ways. They love music and I found their choices of songs are the same songs that people in America. We practiced for a sports event they were having on Saturday. “We will, we will rock you, ” was the song they were using in their dance routine. They all knew and loved Lady Gaga! They listened and exercised to “The Long Road to Tibet, ” a sad and beautiful song that I loved. They also like “Old MacDonald’s Farm” and we sang that song many times during my short time at La La Shou.
I have had an excellent eye opening opportunity to have been invited to La La Shou. The parents and teachers are moving mountains in order for these children to be happy and successful in school. I never once saw any of the teachers become angry with the children. Mr. Tom and Mini, the teacher for sixth grades, (yes, I gave them English names too, ) were very professional and caring to the autistic children.
My trip to China will remain with me always. I promised my new friends in China that I will try my best to make it back, but not without learning to speak more Chinese! One of many things I have learned is never to form an opinion about any country unless you have been there and overall try not to form an opinion about the people of a country unless you have worked with them and lived with them. China and especially Xi’an was a dream for me that came true! Thanks to Global Volunteers and my wonderful country team leader, Wang Baoli, it would have not been possible for me to have had this exciting opportunity! Baoli went above and beyond her call of duty to help. She made sure we were taken care of, that we were safe, and comfortable.