Wednesday September 22, 2010

Thought for the day: Speak softly, learn Chinese.

The team assembled for breakfast a bit later than usual – it was the Chinese Moon Festival Holiday. However, it wasn’t really a holiday for the dedicated 187 Team! The first task of the day was to arrange for a suitable venue for our guests, scheduled to arrive at 10:30AM. Marcella spoke with the Western Restaurant wait staff in our hotel and arranged to have a table set by 10AM. We adjourned to work on lesson plans and our mottoes for the College students – to reconvene at 10AM. The table was set and we busied ourselves arranging the goodies for the tea: oranges, candy, moon cakes, walnuts and cupcakes. The wait staff would provide and serve tea.

At 10:30 our guests arrived, minus the college president, Robinson, who was unavoidably involved in meetings. His wife Julia, teacher Della and a friend arrived bearing marvelous gifts – a beautiful chest containing eight drawers with a moon cake in each drawer and a lacquered box with two amazing enameled tea canisters. The team immediately captured these gifts on film and thanked our guests profusely. They were very kind to include us in their holiday tradition.

We then sat down to tea, goodies and far ranging conversation. We discussed our teaching experiences, the Uyghur students that we taught for the first time on Tuesday, and a myriad of other subjects. Tony brought their IPad and the guests were most intrigued by the high resolution and capabilities of that marvelous gadget.

At 11:45 the wait staff served a delightful Chinese lunch which Claudia, Maggie and Marcella had ordered earlier in the morning. The highlight seemed to be the asparagus – which our guests had not previously eaten. Sliced lamb with a moderate hot sauce, sliced beef, noodles and vegetables as well as the asparagus rounded out a very good lunch.

The guests departed at 1:30 and the team dispersed to catch up on missed sites in Xi’an and do some last minute shopping. We reconvened at 6 PM for a lighter dinner at the hotel and continued a review of the day and our enjoyable experience with our guests.

At 7:30 the team strolled over to the park across the street and enjoyed watching the line dancers and the people, especially children, enjoying the cool air and the full moon – obviously shining in honor of the Moon Festival. We strolled up to the outdoor pool hall – Wally and Tony showed the locals how the game is really played – had an interesting discussion in English and Chinese with some fellow strollers – and retired for the evening around 9PM.

The holiday was indeed to be remembered. Great weather, good company and an all around enjoyable day as we rapidly approach our final teaching day on Friday.

– Wally

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