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I’ve been giving serious thought to the ideas of generosity and hospitality since leaving Asia. I’d like to blame JY for giving me too much to think about, as usual. What I mean to say is that I continue to be blown away by the hospitality I received in China and Korea. I’m incredibly grateful, stunned, and moved that I got to experience all of it.

My experiences have made me aware of how un-generous I am in my every day life. I would never bring strangers into my home the way the Chinese and Koreans do. I don’t give gifts as often and lightly as they do. Mostly, I don’t give of myself as openly and lightly as they do. I’m ashamed and embarrassed because of that.

When I figure out exactly how to bring a little more of the spirit of Asian generosity and hospitality into my life- a little more sense of community and openness- I will write about it. Right now I am stumped, back in my western life that doesn’t seem to be set up for the same kinds of social interactions.

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China Semester, Fall 2008

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Living with the Lees

Zoe Mercer-Golden,China Semester, Fall 2008

Description

I’ve been giving serious thought to the ideas of generosity and hospitality since leaving Asia. I’d like to blame JY for giving me too much to think about, as usual. What I mean to say is that I continue to be blown away by the hospitality I received in China and Korea. I’m incredibly grateful, […]

Posted On

01/9/09

Author

Zoe Mercer-Golden

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Around the time that I started my final yak in China, we went for a day long trek along the wild wall, a part of the great wall that has fallen into serious disrepair. We had a marvellous (if you’ll pardon my somewhat pompous use of British-isms and spellings- I just got made a British citizen and they all seem to be pouring out of me in celebration) time scampering all over the wall singing cheesy songs despite the wind and cold. I was feeling well for the first time in weeks, thanks to the miracle of antibiotics, and I think my perkiness was probably grating. I did proceed to sing many of the mulan songs at top volume. It occurred to me, on the ride back, that the great wall was a beautiful metaphor for so much of what our china trip represented to me. So, like those attackers that China built the wall to keep out, I am going to mercilessly rape and pillage my way through the metaphor. Forgive me.

I started thinking about all the walls that I’ve sat on in my life, and climbed on, and read about. Robert Frost wrote in his poem Mending Wall “good fences make good neighbours” which is an idea that continues to bother me. I’ve always thought that if you had good neighbors, you wouldn’t need walls, and while I know I’m missing his point on purpose, I think that more emphasis should be placed on making good neighbours instead of good walls. But we human beings have a tendency to give up on the neighbours and build the wall- look at the US and Mexico, Israel and Palestine, and countless other places where people have put up walls and fences in lieu of getting along. Frost, in his poem, doesn’t really agree with the man who says the famous line, but by the end he does understand his point. I walked along an ancient wall that could have been derived from that line- a wall that has stood for thousands of years, still representing an unwillingness to compromise, to make good neighbors.

There are the physical laws and then there are the emotional, intellectual walls that we build. If the great wall is the symbol of China, and walls everywhere are the symbols of oppression or protection or dignity or any other idea or feeling you can name, than what does it say about humanity? It’s becoming clear to me that all of us are wall-builders in our own ways, that we build walls to keep other people out, to keep other countries out, to enable us to feel and think differently about others because we want to. Because we need to in order to fight wars. Because we have to in order to keep some in poverty so some can be wealthy. We build walls to make “others,” to make us and them. I went to china wanting to learn, but now that I think about it, I went to china to smash down my own walls- my biases and prejudices- so that I could come away a person who had good neighbours in a new country instead of good walls about it.

On the cruise ship, I started imagining how the wall between China and the US would look, what the things making it up would be. I started with the easy things- the walls between those of us in the West with clean water and sanitation. No one in China drinks the tap water. Even the locals boil it. It is such a luxury to be able to turn on the tap and just drink. Then there are all the walls about nutrition, and those about electricity and heat. The walls of education and health. The walls of free speech and democracy. The walls of distrust because of politics and ethnicity. The walls of religion and history. The walls of ignorance, social unrest, and common misconceptions. I thought about all the walls we’ve erected to make ourselves feel good about being powerful and righteous. Then I thought about all we waste in a day, a year, a lifetime. We have a tiny fraction of the world’s population and use close to a third of the world’s resources. China has a huge percentage of the world’s population and is mostly a desert. The walls between us run deeper than just pride and misunderstanding, and are much more than just the eternal fight between communism/socialism and democracy. We have a wall between the West and East of culture, of distrust, of wasted opportunities to understand, and of unwillingness to negotiate to compromise. It isn’t fair for us in the West (especially the US) to expect China to be a good neighbor because right now we have more money and more fat people thanks to our massive overuse of resources. We can’t build walls of you shoulds and unfair expectations and not only fail to live up to them ourselves, but also expect everyone else to follow them. We can’t be the world’s police force and moral judge and still expect to waste and live well despite the burdens we place on the poorer countries we casually use to support our lifestyles. What I’m saying is that we’ve built walls that are no less real because they aren’t physical. What I’m saying is that we need to learn how to move away from good walls and good excuses- security and righteousness- into good neighbours.

Obama was elected while we were in China, and I’ll admit that I cried when I found out. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. I have no idea if anything in the world is going to change on January 20th, if the world will be a better place. But if I could advise him, I would ask him to break the walls- to stop the walls that are still being built- and use the material to build bridges and houses and hospitals and schools and sanitation plants and parks and everything else for good neighbours. I hope he sends people to learn so that he can rip down our walls of mistrust and confusion. I hope by the time he’s out of office, I can look at the great wall and say- it’s just a wall.

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China Semester, Fall 2008

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Our Great Wall

Zoe Mercer-Golden,China Semester, Fall 2008

Description

Around the time that I started my final yak in China, we went for a day long trek along the wild wall, a part of the great wall that has fallen into serious disrepair. We had a marvellous (if you’ll pardon my somewhat pompous use of British-isms and spellings- I just got made a British […]

Posted On

01/9/09

Author

Zoe Mercer-Golden

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It's been five days since I got out of China, and a recent email from Emily captures my sentiments rather accurately:
"Home still feels pretty familiar. But at the same time, I kind of feel like I'm acting my life here, not really living it; the whole thing is just surreal." (sorry I did not ask for author's permission before printing this- and Emiliy I will respond to you soon sorry- been hectic lately:)
Since getting back home on Monday night, I've been spending the last few days with Zoe and Kyuri looking around various palaces, temples, galleries and other tourist places (another yak on this coming soon) and after Zoe left yesterday morning, went out with my Korean friends for a night. Perhaps it's the fact that I was still with two Dragons alums and visiting tourist sites (with a Lonely Planet for Korea in my hand), but as Emily wrote, I cannot get over how both familiar and surreal living at home feels.
Zoe was joking about how her stay in Korea was a kind of "an extension of the Dragons program. I feel like I'm doing an urban homestay at a minority village," (thanks Zoe, I'm just another Chinese minority :p ) and Kyuri couldn't stop repeating in her singy voice: "JY, I can't get over the fact that we're done with the Dragons." I responded that we're done with the Dragons and it's time to start new life, but I'm realizing I'm having difficulties moving on myself as well.
I never experienced that much of a culture shock when I arrived in China, since Chinese culture is not too different from the Korean one and I've already been to China numerous times. So although I'm right at home culturally back home, similar culture also has downsides of everything I do here in Korea being a reminder of my Dragons experience in China.
Living in a forest of apartments with everybody looking almost identical to Han Chinese, I feel like I'm in another Chinese metropolitan city. Xian for some reason felt like Seoul- its city wall and old architecture spread throughout the city- I don't know why but Tang Dynasty architecture seems close to Korea's Choseon architecture despite five centuries between them. Seoul's a little warmer than Beijing, but the crazy traffic and the Lonely Planet's sad-but-true description of Seoul as a city of 'hypercapitalism with 10 million employees dedicated to the pursuit of a capital accumulation, conscpicuous consumption and social, educational and corporate ladder climbing' tell me that these two cities are not that different.
Perhaps I felt Seoul's crazy competitiveness more because all my friends I met last night just went through the gruelling college process, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to get back into this competitive spirit from being on the Dragons program. I loved how chill our group was. We didn't get a chance to do a lot of lessons we were plannin on doing, and we cut out a lot from our itinerary, but we went by the Chinese spirit of 'manmanlai' and it was a pleasant trip.
Sitting under the overwhelming city lights in a cafe, I missed the simplicity and stillness of Baibicun, Qinghai Tibetan village (sorry forgot the name- love the chief though), and Tashkorgan. And returning home, I've also realized that while the Dragons exposed me to some new cultures and ideas, it has also insulated me from others. As I was driving back from the airport, I felt the brunt of the financial crisis by how dark and gloomy the city was. (Still pretty bright according to Zoe but Seoul's usually a really colorful city). Mom explained that because Korean Won (currency) is worth practically nothing right now, the city was doing everything it could do save money and many of the buildings and bridges had their lights off or dimmed down.
Mom also told me that my family had lost significant money in mutual funds after the crisis and told me to start working as a SAT or other academic tutor for wealthy Korean kids studying in the US. Ideally, I would like to be teaching underpriviledged kids like the Tibetan ones we met in Qinghai, but when I need to make my own spending money myself, I cannot resist the temptation of making $50/hour teaching rich kids over more needy kids.
As I'm about to start making money, I'm also reminded of the teenage workers in China I met. It was a weird experience getting a message from a fellow 18 year old at one of the massage shops and it upset me to see so many kids and teenagers working at street shops. Adolescents should be studying and dreaming for a better future. As youths, I always thought it was our right to not worry about making money for our next meal or the roof above us, but realized on the trip that this was not the case for so many kids we saw in China.
Talking about money, I'm sad to confess that the low-budget thing did not quite get on the plane with me and now I'm back on my expensive and unsustainable (I don't know about financially but definitely environmetnally) lifestyle. Yesterday, after hanging out with my friends, I could not be bothered to walk 25 minutes back home and tried to find a taxi (which was unsuccessful unfortunately so I walked.. :( I spent a lot of money visiting various tourist sites (almost always on taxis) and eating whatever I wanted regardless of the price. Kyuri has started keeping track of everything she spends money on, but I'm too lazy to do that myself. Should I live on a tighter budget now that I've experienced eating the same rice and one vegetable dish three times a day and seen how great the income disparity is first hand? What should I take away from my encounter with poverty? Sense of guilt? Priviledge? I'm still planning on spending as much money as I did before travelling around the world for the rest of the year, but should that plan change?
Another more thing I've been struggling with has been loneliness. I felt a little less of this when Zoe was staying with me and I was hanging out with Kyuri, but with both of them now back home, I've been feeling rather empty. It was great to see my family and old Korean Korean friends (as well as Korean-American friends whom I'd be seeing very soon as they go on break), but it's not the same without my Dragons crew. Even as I was eating Chinese food a few nights ago, I couldn't help but be reminiscent of crazy rambunctious dirty talks we've enjoyed over a few of our last suppers and the food doesn't take as good without Ikia, Emily, Jess and Kyuri going into their own lands.
As I'm working on booking my Round-the-world ticket right now, I'm torn between my adrenaline rush for adventure and fear of being lonely. I'm rather unstable emotionally and depended a lot on the group for support, and whom am i gonna lean on now and to whom am i gonna complain? I think a lot aloud and release my emotions and frustrations through talking, and everyone on the trip had been such great listeners. Who's gonna cover up my mistakes, make sure I'm not too dumb so don't kill myself, and who's gonna forgive me now? I had blown quite signifcant sum of our group fund, and I would have had very difficult time forgiving myself had the group not been so supportive of me. I'm still grateful to Lear for having a smile on in Kashgar as he boarded the train one minute before its departure because of the missing passports (which somehow was in my bag), and the group sent me to Xian at extra costs even though I lost some money trying to secure train tickets. Although I'm seeing some friends in India, New Zealand and hopefully Zoe in Europe, I will be spending significant portion of my time solo and am I ready for this? Dragons taught me how to travel solo safely, but I don't know if I'm ready mentally. At some points during the trip, (such as the 7 hour meeting), I was so frustrated at the group because of our inefficiency as a big group that I wished I were travelling alone. But when I was alone in Xian, while watching the amazin terra cotta warriors, seeing these clay figures have so many friends, I missed the group so much and had very fine Mark not been there, I would have been pretty seriously depressed. (btw, another yak on Xian later)
And I'm also delighted that my mom has already begun the culture of hospitatliy even before I arrived back home (well, she has been an amazingly kind woman all her life- but my mom's too lazy to read this Yak in English so I guess there isn't much point in flattering her... ). I had made Couchsurfing account and put my house up for visitors to crash (oh, you Dragons alums are always welcome btw- dragons alums get a special Cloudland experience if they come to my house- esp. you Chris), and without telling me, Mom had already signed up my house for international students home stay every weekend and last Saturday, we got a Jordanian Ph.D student who delightfully surprised my conservative dad who came back from work and was shocked to find that a Muslim woman wearing black head cover is staying the night at my house. In twenty minutes, I'm going to pick up a 19-year-old Japanese student and 21 year old Chinese student which I'm excited to spend the weekend with.
Gotta get pretty & ready for my guests for now, but more yaks coming soon.
Miss you guys all. A Lot.
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China Semester, Fall 2008

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Being Back @ Home Korea

Jun Youb Lee,China Semester, Fall 2008

Description

It’s been five days since I got out of China, and a recent email from Emily captures my sentiments rather accurately: "Home still feels pretty familiar. But at the same time, I kind of feel like I’m acting my life here, not really living it; the whole thing is just surreal." (sorry I did not […]

Posted On

12/12/08

Author

Jun Youb Lee

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Dear All,

We made the long journey to the airport this morning and all of the students have checked in and are either on their way home or awaiting their flights.

You'll probably need to get them to wash their clothes - they should be able to do this by themselves now, if they couldn't already!

We hope you are all well wherever you are in the world.

Warm regards,

The Instructor Team

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China Semester, Fall 2008

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Students are on their way home

Mark Lumley,China Semester, Fall 2008

Description

Dear All, We made the long journey to the airport this morning and all of the students have checked in and are either on their way home or awaiting their flights. You’ll probably need to get them to wash their clothes – they should be able to do this by themselves now, if they couldn’t […]

Posted On

12/8/08

Author

Mark Lumley

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The last two days have been somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster for all of us here in Beijing. We have been wrapping up the program, tying up loose ends and trying to compact, compress and process the last three months into tangible, lucid memories. For many of us we will not be able to process what we have been through until we reach our homes, unpack our bags and collapse onto our beds.

Last night we ate a final delicious group meal and retrned to our hotel for our closing ceremony. As instructors we had wanted to create a space in which we could all be relaxed and comfortable so as to reflect on the amazing journey we have had, the places we have satyed, the people we have met and the positive changes we have embraced. We led the students to a room decked out in candles and proceeded to reflect upon what we have been through over the last three months and how these experiences will continue to shape our lives for years to come.

We finally retired to our beds at 2am, exhausted and drained, but comforted by the knowledge that we have built relationships that will last a lifetime.

This morning we awoke early and set off for the airport. After many tearful hugs and kisses, we bid our farewells and set off for the places we (for now) call home. I am more that sure our paths will cross once more.

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China Semester, Fall 2008

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Homeward Bound

Mark Lumley,China Semester, Fall 2008

Description

The last two days have been somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster for all of us here in Beijing. We have been wrapping up the program, tying up loose ends and trying to compact, compress and process the last three months into tangible, lucid memories. For many of us we will not be able to process […]

Posted On

12/7/08

Author

Mark Lumley

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    [post_content] => It has been a long time since i wrote a yak.  It isn't  that i have forgotten to update you all at home but rather i couldn't.  I have reached a point where i cant express to you this trip that i have been on.  I have sat in front of this white screen many times and i couldn't grasp the right words.  It was like the only words that would come to mind were that comparable to a lighting bug when what i really was trying to express what lighting looks like.  I even thought that uploading a few pictures would work because even if i couldn't find the right words to convey the places and changes that have occurred the visual image might fill the void.  But, i found that the pictures didn't convey the vivid pictures i had of those places in my head.  So here i am trying to write to you not knowing how to approach this task.  So i will try to start with the basics.  I have traveled a great distance one that is comparable to that of the USA width-Tashgurgan to Beijing.  On this journey east i have been in places that i swear if i didn't know any better i would say i was in central Asia or Luke's home planet (starewars).  I was in places for the first time Christianity wasn't the primary religion but  rather Muslim was.  I was in a place where all my stereotypes of what china should look like was shattered.I took bus rides to see thousands year old ruins and i saw through my share of bus and train windows some scenery that at points looked fake because of how shockingly diverse and beautiful it was.  I climbed mountains where at points i felt like i was gasping for breath while my chest acked to reach the top to see the sunset.  i have slept on concrete slabs heated by slow burning fires to keep me warm throughout the night.  I have taught English to a group that demonstrated a level of motivation, discipline, and courage that i wasn't sure children were capable of.  I have sat out in the dark and was entranced by the beauty of the night sky.  I have laughed so hard Ive cried.  Not only have i seen alot but i have also learned so much.  I have learned that elders eat first.  I have learned that as a geust you take on the risk of dying from being over fed.  I have learned that people will take you in as one of there own and help you.  I have learned about modesty and how it appears in different ways in different cultures.  I have learned how to tell if someone is married bu the color of the scarf they wear.  I have learned how to notice the different forms hospitality can take.  I have learned a new definition of what service can mean.  I have learned how to push myself outside my comfort zone and do things i would have tryed to avoid.  Ive seen alot and I've learned alot and i am still learning.  I am learning how to treasure the experiences i have had on this program while at the same time learning how not to cling to these experiences so that i can venture forth to my next adventure. Thanks to all my fellow companions on this trip it has been an amazing experience.
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China Semester, Fall 2008

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goodbye

bridget thomson,China Semester, Fall 2008

Description

It has been a long time since i wrote a yak. It isn’t that i have forgotten to update you all at home but rather i couldn’t. I have reached a point where i cant express to you this trip that i have been on. I have sat in front of this white screen many […]

Posted On

12/7/08

Author

bridget thomson

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As it's thanksgiving holiday season, it'd be appropriate to give thanks for all our adventure so far and this year, i'd like to dedicatespecial thanks to the wonderful Uigyur brothers I met in Xinjiang who helped me appreciate my own Korean culture (and also to the Tibetan family in Qinghai but this yak will be a different one coming soon).

"What the h*** am I doing here in the middle of nowhere?" was the thought that occurred to me on one of my runs in Kashgar. Compared to the rest of group, I did not feel that strongly about coming to Xinjiang, and I was a little frustrated that we are spending so much of our limited time and resources in the extreme western parts of China that did not even feel like China. As a Korean, I associated much more with the Han peoplethan the central-Asian-looking Uigyurs.

When I arrived in Urumqi, the Xinjiang's most populated city, it felt to me that thecity lacked character. Apart from the fact that it was the city furtherest away from water in the world, there seemed to belittle history and it just felt like another large Chinese city. Althouh the Big Bazaar was really cool,the Bazaar was an isolated place in a typical big Han city.

When we got on the 23-hour sleeper train to Kashgar, I was really confused as to why I was getting on the train. I wanted to go East where people who looked like me lived, not away into the wilderness which used to be called the "Land of Death" during the Silk Road years because of itshostile environment.

Nevertheless, as I interacted more and more with the Uigyurs, I realized the little Korean boy who has lived inEnglish speaking countries for the past8 years has a lot in common with the Uigyurs than it seems on the surface. Through ourmeals Uigyurs such asAji and Hassan, I realized that I face the same challenges that the Uigyurs do in terms of cultural identity.
Most Uigyurs, who are Muslims and speak Uigyur, face serious economic and political disadvantages and the only way for them to getto higher positionsin society is to assimilate into the Han culture.ForUigyurs to attend university, they need to spend two years first just to improve their Mandarin and although all the education up to high school can be taught in Uigyur or Mandarin, any education beyond is in Mandarin.
I had left Korea eight years ago and all my education has been in English from then. Although I have been priviledged to have received one of the most elite education in the world, that came at a great cultural loss. I can not even tell what the majortraditional Korean holidays are, as I have been spending most of my year abroad. Most of thematerial I have read in recent years are in English, and my Korean friends have been increasingly making fun of my deteriorating Korean ability. Although I regularly read the New York Times,Ihardly everread up on Korean news and I have no idea what's going on in Korea right now.Apart from the fact that my family is in Korea, I do not feel particularly attached to my homeland, and do notknow whereI would be spending my adultyears.
I had never been particularly proud of my Korean heritage and never felt like I was missing out muchby studying abroad, but going to the Uigyur dance completely changed my perspective. Hassan asked us if we wanted to go to the Uigyur dance with him, and Jess, Kyuri and I accepted the offer and went to a Uigyur dance club. I was surprised to find that they did not play Western or Han music, but were playingUigyur music and even the young people were dancing in Uigyur style. In Korea, most of the Korean pop songs were all western style and the dances were imitated version of the Western dance, but the Uigyurs used their traditional instruments and danced in their traditional circular manner. Although culture usually flows from higher economic powers to the lower ones, Uigyurs were fighting hard to preserve their culture.
Although they faced severe inequalities because of their Uigyur heritage, they were celebrating their culture and all the Uigyur friends we met proudly announced that they were Uigyurs. Despite disadvantages withchoosing Uigyur over Chinesein early education,mostUigyurpeople we met chose Uigyur as their language of education up to college。In contrast, I had almost unlimited potential asa Korean (the current UN secretary general is a Korean and Korea has several companies in the world Fortune 500 such as Samsung and LG) and I was always complaining about having to serve in the Korean military. I had a proud 5000 year history and seeing suchexotic looking Uigyurs beingpart China, it amazed me that Korea had somehow remained a separate country from China. Although sandwiched between superpowers China and Japan, as well as Russiaand the US in the recent years, Korea has kept its autonomy andtoday managed to become the world's thirteenth largest economy. In addition,Koreans are excellent story tellers,shown by the ubiquitous popularity of Korean movies and TV dramas in China。
As we discussed teaching English to the Tibetan community after leaving Xinjiang, I had reservations about teaching them English. Although learning English allowed me to be a powerful global player, I had missed out on so much Korean culture from fourth grade until now.
My plan for the rest of my gap year had been getting a round-the-world ticket and travelling various parts of the world, but Uigyurs made meconsiderunderstanding my own land first. Now I'd like to spend some of my gap yearlearning and experiencing various aspects of Korea, and I'd also like to study-abroad (?) in Korea during my college years.

ps: To finish with the thanksgiving theme, thanks so much to everybody who read this and to every member of the 2008 China Fall semester group whom I love. Thanks so much for letting me see Xian and already I miss you guys.
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China Semester, Fall 2008

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(Late) Thanks to the Uigyurs

Jun Youb Lee,China Semester, Fall 2008

Description

As it’s thanksgiving holiday season, it’d be appropriate to give thanks for all our adventure so far and this year, i’d like to dedicatespecial thanks to the wonderful Uigyur brothers I met in Xinjiang who helped me appreciate my own Korean culture (and also to the Tibetan family in Qinghai but this yak will be […]

Posted On

12/1/08

Author

Jun Youb Lee

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China Semester, Fall 2008

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Heading East

Chris Mitchell and Bridget Thomson,China Semester, Fall 2008

Description

Last night we got back to Xining from our rural homestays and service project in a Tibetan village outside of Ping’an. This morning we are heading to the train station to first take a train to Lanzhou as a group, then JY and Mark will be going to Xi’an while the rest of us go […]

Posted On

11/30/08

Author

Chris Mitchell and Bridget Thomson

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I thought it would be nice to share a little history of our Thanksgiving holiday with everyone. Here is a speech Lincoln give in 1863 and the Proclamation that made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Lincoln's Thankgiving speech

It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures
and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the LORD.
We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to, feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

Thanksgiving Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

I wish Everyone A happy Thanksgiving !!

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China Semester, Fall 2008

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Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Ikia Artis,China Semester, Fall 2008

Description

I thought it would be nice to share a little history of our Thanksgiving holiday with everyone. Here is a speech Lincoln give in 1863 and the Proclamation that made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Lincoln’s Thankgiving speech It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling […]

Posted On

11/26/08

Author

Ikia Artis

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We wish everyone at home a very happy Thanksgiving! In the spirit of the holiday, all of us are taking off for rural Qinghai for a few days of service in a Tibetan village. We don't know what the internet situation is there, but we should be back in the land of internet on Tuesday when we get to Lanzhou, where most of us will be taking a train to Beijing. Enjoy your turkeys - we will STILL be eating bowls and bowls of white rice - and think of us fondly as we dream of the good food at home we are missing....

We send much love to everyone at home, and best, best, best holiday wishes.

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China Semester, Fall 2008

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Thanksgiving service and itinerary change

WTBD Fall Semester China 2008,China Semester, Fall 2008

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We wish everyone at home a very happy Thanksgiving! In the spirit of the holiday, all of us are taking off for rural Qinghai for a few days of service in a Tibetan village. We don’t know what the internet situation is there, but we should be back in the land of internet on Tuesday […]

Posted On

11/26/08

Author

WTBD Fall Semester China 2008

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