Photo of the Week
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-30 08:26:07
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-30 14:26:07
    [post_content] => Playing cards and ninja in airports, marching through the monsoon to an isolated monastery, endless bao zi and bowls of rice, making music with our hands and voices in candlelight, "girl talk sessions" and our appreciation ceremony - thank you everyone for making this trip so special and so much fun! (If any of you come to Rome, facebook me!)
Zhong Mei Long out
    [post_title] => Group A is the best
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China Language 4-week A

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Group A is the best

Haley Sadoff,China Language 4-week A

Description

Playing cards and ninja in airports, marching through the monsoon to an isolated monastery, endless bao zi and bowls of rice, making music with our hands and voices in candlelight, “girl talk sessions” and our appreciation ceremony – thank you everyone for making this trip so special and so much fun! (If any of you […]

Posted On

07/30/13

Author

Haley Sadoff

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-29 00:01:09
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-29 06:01:09
    [post_content] => Dear China Language Parents,

The 2 China language groups have arrived in LA. Trevor Lee, one of our China instructors will be staying with the group at the Hacienda hotel this evening in order to help with logistics.

Happy homecoming!

Boulder Administration
    [post_title] => China Language groups have arrived in LA!
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China Language 4-week A, China Language 4-week B

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China Language groups have arrived in LA!

Eva Vanek,China Language 4-week A, China Language 4-week B

Description

Dear China Language Parents, The 2 China language groups have arrived in LA. Trevor Lee, one of our China instructors will be staying with the group at the Hacienda hotel this evening in order to help with logistics. Happy homecoming! Boulder Administration

Posted On

07/29/13

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-28 06:33:05
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    [post_content] => China Language 4a students got to the airport and will be boarding their plane in just a couple minutes.  (Michael boarded his plane earlier this morning).  Bon voyage; safe travels and you will be missed!

We, the I-team, just wanted to take a moment and let you know that each and every one of you guys are incredible people and we had a unforgettable month together.  It has been our honor and joy to meet you guys, teach and lead you, grow with you and laugh with you all.  We will  miss you so much.  Heck! We already miss you.  But know that this is not goodbye.  We would love to hear from you in the future and we take comfort in knowing that you are out there, in the world, somewhere, doing and learning and laughing and growing.

Thank you,

Sophie, Ding Xin, and Parker
    [post_title] => The world is round and what you think of as an end is really a beginning (As we head off into the world)
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China Language 4-week A

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The world is round and what you think of as an end is really a beginning (As we head off into the world)

Sophie, Ding Xin, and Parker,China Language 4-week A

Description

China Language 4a students got to the airport and will be boarding their plane in just a couple minutes.  (Michael boarded his plane earlier this morning).  Bon voyage; safe travels and you will be missed! We, the I-team, just wanted to take a moment and let you know that each and every one of you […]

Posted On

07/28/13

Author

Sophie, Ding Xin, and Parker

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-28 06:32:05
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    [post_content] => I'm sitting in the Hong Kong airport during our 6 hour layover. It's a funny purgatory between exploring in China and being comfortable at home. If anything, this layover has given me ample time for reflection about the past month. I really enjoy my current traveller's mindset but I worry that it will soon fade. During my 4 weeks in China, I learned how to appreciate the journey even when I didn't know the destination. I learned how to search for similarities between my life at home and my life in China rather than dwelling on the differences. I'm no longer as afraid to make mistakes and embarrass myself. When I drop food with my chopsticks or say something grammatically goofy, I laugh and accept my blip. At the beginning of the month, I thought it was ittitating to be approached by strangers shouting "hello" but now I have fun trying to make conversation. When I got lost at the beginning of the trip (it was an almost daily occurance), I panicked. This morning when I got very disoriented in Kunming, I enjoyed seeing a new part of the city. I now know that I can always find my way to where I need to be if I ask enough locals and maybe "cheat" by hiring a taxi. This trip taught me that it is possible to connect with someone even when I can barely communicate with them and that simple actions, like helping my homestay family do the dishes, speak louder than words. With the group, I learned to be patient and to embrace working styles very different from my own. I became more flexible and discovered that sometimes taking a walk (or run) is the perfect way to clear my mind. I learned how to notice and appreciate small details about life in China, like the street sweepers that play "It's a Small World" and the pet owners that dress their dogs in shoes and t-shirts. I hope that my imporved lenses through which I view the world stick with me long after the trip. I know that many of the skills that I learned during my month in China will linger long after I lose my vivid memories.
    [post_title] => Reflections During an Airport Layover
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China Language 4-week A

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Reflections During an Airport Layover

Emma Seevak,China Language 4-week A

Description

I’m sitting in the Hong Kong airport during our 6 hour layover. It’s a funny purgatory between exploring in China and being comfortable at home. If anything, this layover has given me ample time for reflection about the past month. I really enjoy my current traveller’s mindset but I worry that it will soon fade. During […]

Posted On

07/28/13

Author

Emma Seevak

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 89593
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-07-27 07:43:28
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-27 13:43:28
    [post_content] => For days we’d been planning our trip to Zhi Yun Si, a Tibetan Buddhist temple 13.7 kilometers from Nanyao. We’d booked bikes and helmets to ride from Nanyao to the temple and then from the temple of Lijiang. These plans were compromised, however, because of the recent rain and the muddy condition of the roads. Because we could no longer ride bikes to the temple we could either choose to book vans to take us there, or to walk. Although at first only two or three of us were in favor of walking, the group ultimately decided not to take the “easy way out” by taking vans. Despite the probable forecast of rain and more rain, we set out walking after lunch. Only about thirty minutes in it started to fall. About an hour in it started to pour, sheets of rain to be honest. It took three hours with soaking hiking boots and directions given to us only from the locals, but we finally arrived without getting lost once. The temple itself was beautiful with multi-colored fabrics hanging in the air, intricate paintings of Buddhas and Buddhist stories, and tens of golden prayer wheels near the entrance. Soaking wet and covered in mud we took off our hiking boots and stepped into the main sanctuary. This room was even more lavishly decorated. Inside, a twenty-something monk spoke to us in English, explaining the different sects of Buddhism, white, yellow, red, and blue, the statues of Buddha, and the photographs of important Buddhist leaders. The brimming bowls of water, he told us, were used to teach the monks about how to calm their souls by observing the calm surface of the water. Once we had exhausted our questions, we were invited us to stay and listen to the monks while they chanted. Although we were very cold and still soaking wet, we sat on the bright pink turkish rug and listened for nearly an hour while the monks, draped in red, chanted prayers written on long strips of paper. To me what stood out most was not the unfamiliar drums and buzzing wind instruments or the monks' synchronized singing, but the monks themselves: the youngest probably 8-years-old, two or three adults, one woman, and the majority ranging from our age into their early twenties. What I found most interesting was how vastly different the lives of these monks, people our age, were from our own.

Although its been a week since our visit to Zhi Yun Si I couldn't let this experience go undocumented. Today is our last full day in China and upon reflecting on our trip, I think of this as one of the most beautiful and rewarding activities of the trip.
    [post_title] => Reflecting on Zhi Yun Si
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China Language 4-week A

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Reflecting on Zhi Yun Si

Alexandra Epstein,China Language 4-week A

Description

For days we’d been planning our trip to Zhi Yun Si, a Tibetan Buddhist temple 13.7 kilometers from Nanyao. We’d booked bikes and helmets to ride from Nanyao to the temple and then from the temple of Lijiang. These plans were compromised, however, because of the recent rain and the muddy condition of the roads. […]

Posted On

07/27/13

Author

Alexandra Epstein

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-26 13:14:18
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    [post_content] => China Language 4A is now in Kunming. We are all safe. We have finished our expedition and are in the final stages of our program.
    [post_title] => Kunming
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China Language 4-week A

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Kunming

Miles Rosner,China Language 4-week A

Description

China Language 4A is now in Kunming. We are all safe. We have finished our expedition and are in the final stages of our program.

Posted On

07/26/13

Author

Miles Rosner

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-25 11:35:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-25 17:35:00
    [post_content] => Dear China Language Students & Families,
This weekend marks the end of our China Language program and students will soon return home to share tales with each of you.
We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day and we will be in contact if there are any suspected delays.
We wish all students a great trip home. Please leave us a voice message on extension 30 if you are not able to reach us during office hours. We will be checking our messages throughout the evening.
Sincerely,
BoulderAdmin
To check on the status of the groups international flight, please refer to:
http://www.lawa.org/fsw/default.aspx
The students are traveling home on the following Cathay Flight:
Returning Flight:
July 28th, 2013
Dragon Air #KA 761
Depart: Kunming (KMG) 3:20pm
Arrive: Hong Kong (HKG) 5:35pm

July 28th, 2013
Cathay Pacific #CX 880
Depart: Hong Kong (HKG) 11:40pm
Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 9:55pm
    [post_title] => Return Flight Informaiton
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China Language 4-week A

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Return Flight Informaiton

Dragons Admin,China Language 4-week A

Description

Dear China Language Students & Families, This weekend marks the end of our China Language program and students will soon return home to share tales with each of you. We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day and we will be in contact if there are any suspected […]

Posted On

07/25/13

Author

Dragons Admin

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-07-25 10:54:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-25 16:54:20
    [post_content] => It's been one week since my last yak, so I will share the highlights of the past week.

Last week's hiking adventure in the swamp by Laishihai was memorable. As rain poured onto my not-very-waterproof clothing, the group worked to cross streams to find a boat and return to dry land. We used wooden planks and a leaking boat to cross the water. Also, Michael carried me across a stream.

On Saturday, we had planned to bike from Nanyao village to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery and then eat dinner in Lijiang. The rainstorm meant that biking could be treacherous, so the group decided to hike instead. It poured for the majority of the nearly 14 kilometer hike. Furthermore, we lacked concrete directions and a map. At one point, the group considered turning back to Nanyao, but we elected to continue onward. When we finally reached the monastery, we were dripping wet but stunned by the beautiful multicolored flags and shiny golden prayer wheels. We spoke to a monk and observed part of the evening prayers. I was surprised by the numerous young monks (some seemed to be 8 years old) and the similarity between the Buddhist prayer ceremonies and the religious customs that I have observed at home. Lijiang is very touristy, so the instructors asked us to analyze the old town from an academic point of view. I noticed that the entire town is just built for tourists and very few people actually live there. The prices of items inside the old town are significantly higher than the prices outside of the town walls. Between my observations, I also bought some very comfortable pants and tasted tea with the boys from the group. Another item of note is that I ate the first McDonald's of my life at the Lijiang restaurant, where I bought chocolate ice cream.

Sunday afternoon was our group's service learning time. My service learning project was also my ISP: an English class for children from Nanyao village. For the past three weeks, I have researched education in China, specifically English language education and the differences between the American and Chinese education systems. In Kunming, I spent three afternoons observing English classes for 11-year-olds at a private school and discussing the methods with the teacher. On the final afternoon in Kunming, I spent an hour teaching the students about my life in the United States. I learned that Chinese students tend to need more structure than American students do. They prefer repeating information to having open-ended discussions. I was excited to teach village children because they don’t have the same resources to learn English as wealthy urban students do. Also, the Nanyao villagers have taught me so much about Chinese language and culture and I hoped that this lesson would be a fun way to thank them. From my experience is Kunming, I knew that it was important to have a well thought-out lesson plan. However, this was challenging because I had no idea who my students would be and how much English they would speak. I planned the lesson for young children but instead the interested students were mostly girls around my age. Alexandra, who was helping me teach the lesson, and I had to scramble at the last minute to change the activities to better suit teenage girls. By the end of the lesson, we were having fun laughing with the girls. They also taught us some Naxi hua, so it was a fun language exchange.

On Monday night we hosted a thank-you party for our Nanyao homestay families. We bought chips, candy, and sunflower seeds and prepared a fire and majiang games. Around the campfire, we danced Chinese group dances and sang songs in both English and Chinese while licking Chinese lollipops. The majiang games were fun and competitive. We gave our families flashlights as gifts and delivered their hong baos. I think that everybody had a fun time.

We left early Tuesday morning to begin the student-led expedition phase of our trip. We decided to visit Dali, a beautiful, albeit tourist-filled, Bai minority town. We almost missed our train from Lijiang and once we arrived in Dali, we took the bus in the wrong direction to its terminal stop. However, we enjoyed relaxing at our hostel on Erhai Lake and exploring the old town for dinner. Yesterday we had a fascinating lesson about religion in China. We visited hot springs in the afternoon and ate dinner in the old town. After dinner, we went to a musician's studio and worked as a group to make songs with our eyes closed, using both instruments and our voices. We were all surprised by how fun the experience was and by how decent (some of) our songs sounded. Today we moved to a new hostel closer to the old city. In the afternoon, some of the group rented bikes and went back to the lake, near our previous hostel. Although the ride was sometimes bumpy (broken bikes, grumpy Chinese drivers, and cobblestone roads), the lake was stunning and I enjoyed the journey.

Tomorrow we will take a train back to Kunming and begin our ISP presentations and closing ceremonies. I can't believe that we only have two more days in China.

 
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China Language 4-week A

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Nanyao and the Expedition

Emma Seevak,China Language 4-week A

Description

It’s been one week since my last yak, so I will share the highlights of the past week. Last week’s hiking adventure in the swamp by Laishihai was memorable. As rain poured onto my not-very-waterproof clothing, the group worked to cross streams to find a boat and return to dry land. We used wooden planks […]

Posted On

07/25/13

Author

Emma Seevak

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Sam is studying traditional Chinese medicine. He has learned to fold up and cook Chinese dumplings; he has explored a Chinese apothecary; his health was checked at a traditional clinic-- he was told he suffers from low qi; the cure is more sleep and to drink a brew of Chinese herbs three times a day for two days; and most recently, he was led on a herb-walk with Da Ma. Da Ma is the matriarch of the home-stay in which the instructors and Chinese teachers are living. She says she is sixty-two, but rural Chinese people that are older than forty rarely know their true birth date. There is usually a range of ten to fifteen years, so Da Ma could be between sixty and eighty. She looks ancient: her face is sun-darkened and wrinkled; her hands are manly and strong from long hours working in the field; she has a presence about her, she smiles and laughs and stands up straight, but when you stand next to her the first thing you notice is how incredibly short she is. Her grey-black hair is always tucked into the traditional Naxi blue cap and she still wears the traditional dress of the Naxi people, the most noticeable aspect of which is a thick, back-blanket that has strips running over the shoulders and under the arms that cross across the chest. This thick blanket helps to protect the women's back from the huge round baskets of heavy loads that Naxi women are often bent under on their way to and from the fields. Over the past week living in her house I have never woken up before her and while I sit here typing on my laptop she runs around the courtyard house completing chore after chore. She seems unable or unwilling to slow down or rest. Right now, as the clack of my computer keys sound in the air, she leads her water buffalo out-- through the courtyard of the house-- up the steps, and to the field so he can feed. Two days ago, Sam, Emma, and the three instructors (Ding Xin, Sophie, and I) met Da Ma in the courtyard of her home. She still had a couple chores to do and while we were waiting for her to finish I began picturing the herb-walk we would take: we would bushwhack through the mountains, getting rained on (it's been raining straight for five days), trekking through mud, trying to find a specific plant or mushroom or something. Thinking back now, I think that this mental image looked a lot like Indian Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc. We spent an hour walking a couple hundred yards around the garden, to the closet field right around the house, and down the road. She found a few dozen plants-- herbs, weeds, and mushrooms-- and showed them to us. Sam took samples and notes and marked down the names, most of which are known only in Naxi language. Many of these plants were good for stomach and gastrointestinal problems-- diarrhea, upset stomach, constipation, and other issues-- but others solve kidney problems, swollen lymph nodes, and are used as a weak painkiller for infants. All of these plants grow wild and it was clear that Da Ma would know thousands of others if she had the time and inclination to tell us. Watching her it was clear to me that Da Ma saw the world in a different way, as if she had some magical goggles that put spectral lines of text next to each plant, listing name, taste, smell, and use. What will happen to this knowledge? We were given a tiny glimpse into this world of local herb knowledge and connection with the earth, a glimpse that more than anything made me realize that that which I don't know about the world is immense and, sometimes I don't even know what it is that I don't know. The young kids in this village of Nanyao watch eight hours of TV a day, prefer to eat instant noodles and chips, and are pudgy and get out of breath climbing up the steep streets to their homes. Will this knowledge just fade away? Another small piece of our connection to this earth fading away; us not even realizing that it is going-going-gone, no fanfare or memorial to mark each of these connections returning to the blackest sections of the cosmos; over the past couple hundred years human beings throwing up barriers that separate us from that one place in the universe that we inhabit. Daoism says that all the things in the universe came from one source, the Dao (or Way or Path or Oneness), that split into two (yin and yang), and then into three (qi) and then into the myriad of things. Each time we throw up barriers and distance ourselves are we splitting again, the myriad of things dividing once more, landing us farther away from the Oneness? Or can we make our way back, closer to that string of connections, closer to the power that created everything and guides everything? Daoism also teaches wu-wei-- known as non-action, or action without intent, or action without action-- and maybe this is the way back. To not struggle to return, but rather, to go with the flow, to sit and learn and listen, with a childlike mind, open and nonjudgmental-- once more bringing us in line with the energy that came from the origin and flows within us and all around us. [post_title] => One small piece of our connection to the earth. 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One small piece of our connection to the earth.

Parker,China Language 4-week A, Homestay, Internships and Independent Study Projects, Survey of Development Issues

Description

Sam is studying traditional Chinese medicine. He has learned to fold up and cook Chinese dumplings; he has explored a Chinese apothecary; his health was checked at a traditional clinic– he was told he suffers from low qi; the cure is more sleep and to drink a brew of Chinese herbs three times a day […]

Posted On

07/22/13

Author

Parker

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-21 12:48:10
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    [post_content] => I've been gone for a week now and I'm finally fully recovered. I write now to thank the instructors and students again for the incredible support and assistance during my recovery. I'm missing China and the group but I know that I made the right choice. You guys seem to be having a great time and at times I wish I was there with you.

Thanks Again

Lucas
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China Language 4-week A

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Student

Lucas Neville,China Language 4-week A

Description

I’ve been gone for a week now and I’m finally fully recovered. I write now to thank the instructors and students again for the incredible support and assistance during my recovery. I’m missing China and the group but I know that I made the right choice. You guys seem to be having a great time […]

Posted On

07/21/13

Author

Lucas Neville

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