Team Journal, October 23

Saturday, October 23 – Mary Ellen

Thought for the day: “To pass by these towering crippled remains reduces me to an inner silence, and the lust to express [myself], which keeps tormenting me in the presence of this awesome sight, is stripped of words.” – Gao Xing Jian, the first Chinese author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, in Soul Mountain

Saturday, I substituted for Fred with Ginny, with Tara and Patty (Wang Ping) from XUT, Xi’an University of Technology. Fred was teaching. Tara’s husband took us out of the city to this apartment complex near the airport. We visited her husband’s new school, Juntai Training School, which definitely caters to the children of the wealthy and upper middle class.

We walked to one of the gated communities really to visit a beautiful new ground-floor 3 bedroom apartment owned by a very successful business man. We met his wife and children and sat down to tea and fruit snacks. His daughter is an accomplished pianist at only 10 years of age. “Everything is for the children!” said the father. His 3-year-old son is already addicted to computer games and had a major meltdown when father tried to get him away from the computer. Now that’s something Chinese and American parents face in common.

We visited Tara’s penthouse apartment in another gated community at the complex, rolling out, stuffing ourselves silly on out-of-season New Year’s dumplings. Both apartments had 2 western toilets. Imagine the water problems China is headed for if every home in China has 2 toilets flushing. Yet who can blame them for wanting these necessities?

Then we walked back to the school where Ginny taught a group of children “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” And then we ate again, this time at a restaurant in a farming village where we learned that the northern Chinese staple food is corn meal rather than rice — a bowl of it with almost every evening meal along with vegetables and a little meat.

But the best new food find was a popular delicious drink which we found astonishing: coke with fresh ginger root heated up in a kettle and served hot in glasses. Fantastic end to a fantastic day!

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