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    [post_date] => 2013-07-16 10:48:58
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-16 10:48:58
    [post_content] => Our final two days in Jixiangcun were incredible. Saturday included a 5 hour hike up to an e-village at the top of a nearby village. It was beautiful and presented incredible views of the area around Lijiang and Jixiangcun. The way up was via car, but the way down was dragonsesque. We first hired a local man to lead us down a mountain.  Two hours later, he pointed us down a road and said "zai jian". An hour and a half later, after walking through a few local villages, we hired a man and his seven seat van to drive 14 of us vloser to Jixiancun. AN hour and a half later I was at my dinner table eating my final dinner with my incredible homestay family.

After dinner I gave my familiy my gifts to which my father said "xie xie nin xie xie nin"; a very touching experience. On a walk with my father an hour or so later I found out a party was being held that night in honor of our last night. SO at around 9:30 PM all of the students, instructors, and locals crowded arouund the courtyard and had a dance to the tune of both Naxi and American music.

Sunday we said gppdbye to our homestay families and headed to Lijiang before our overnight train. We explored the cool city and tried very many local foods. Next I was able to go to a local park which overlooked Yu Long Xue Shan (A Naxi spiritual sight) while others continued to explore Lijiang. There I talked to many Naxi people and bought a Naxi spiritual item. Eleven hours later we arrived in Kunming, went to the program house, rested, had a shortened Chinese class, and met our new homestay families. All of whom are incredible. Today we had a scavenger hunt to become familiar with Kunming which sent us to local sights such as Green Lake and the Bird and Flower market.

-Eli
    [post_title] => From Jixiangcun to Kunming
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China Language 4-week B

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From Jixiangcun to Kunming

Eva Vanek,China Language 4-week B

Description

Our final two days in Jixiangcun were incredible. Saturday included a 5 hour hike up to an e-village at the top of a nearby village. It was beautiful and presented incredible views of the area around Lijiang and Jixiangcun. The way up was via car, but the way down was dragonsesque. We first hired a […]

Posted On

07/16/13

Author

Eva Vanek

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-16 10:48:48
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    [post_content] => To be quite frank, I'm very glad that I couldn't post a Yak until now - after all, now that I've got a taste of city life in Kunming, my stay in Jixiangcun seems even more rural and, I dunno, hardcore in comparison (bearing in mind that, in Kunming, my homestay family has a Western toilet and a functioning shower). I feel like I'm really connecting for the first time, and that I'm really comfortable with the fact that I'm connecting... in Kunming, my mother and sister speak Mandarin that I can easily understand, and they often engage with me, whereas in Jixiangcun, my family mostly spoke Naxi language around me, and were often rather reserved.

For the first time, I don't really feel embarassed when I speak Mandarin, and I don't feel like I have to think through my exact words before I speak. I'm not sure how much is dependent on the fact that my Kunming family is incredibly supportive and encouraging, or on the fact that my Chinese has improved, but either way, I'm really enjoying it. Not feeling insanely anxious before I speak? That's never happened before - being able to speak with my family, with my classmates, with my teachers, with locals... being able to speak with them and have a mutal understanding gives me a great sense of power, and independence. I really feel like I'm adjusting, and not only that, but I'm learning, and I am liking it.
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China Language 4-week B

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Clarity

Eva Vanek,China Language 4-week B

Description

To be quite frank, I’m very glad that I couldn’t post a Yak until now – after all, now that I’ve got a taste of city life in Kunming, my stay in Jixiangcun seems even more rural and, I dunno, hardcore in comparison (bearing in mind that, in Kunming, my homestay family has a Western toilet and a […]

Posted On

07/16/13

Author

Eva Vanek

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-16 10:48:35
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    [post_content] => Today was action packed! After lessons, we were assigned our groups for a scavenger hunt around Kunming. Mine, consisting of Elana, Kate, Will, and I, headed off to a small lunch place for our first challenge, trying a new tofu dish that was WAY too spicy. After I finally diminished the burning sensation in my mouth, we headed to the Bird and Flower Market on a quest to find the oldest item among the three groups. Which is older, my group's item, a geode, or another group's, rocks? The debate rages on...After helplessly running past great sales at Polo Villae, we arrived at a temple, the next target. A man rattled off a lengthy explanation of its significance, which none of us understood. After quick photoshoot, we ran to the next site, a WWII memorial. We stopped on the way for the second food on the list. Unfortunately, a mispronunciation led to us eating corn ice cream instead of corn bread, a fact we only discovered when the whole group reconvened at the end. After the World War 2 memorial, we grabbed zhen zhu nai cha, bubble tea, for bonus points as we sprinted towards the meeting place, desperate not to be late. After all, every minute late would be 5 points deducted. We arrived with 5 minutes to spare and spotted the instructors in a cafe. A misunderstanding led to my order of pure lemon juice, instead of lemonade as I had intended. I won't make that mistake again...All in all, a great day for the J Team.

Tom Daly
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China Language 4-week B

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Scavenger Hunt

Eva Vanek,China Language 4-week B

Description

Today was action packed! After lessons, we were assigned our groups for a scavenger hunt around Kunming. Mine, consisting of Elana, Kate, Will, and I, headed off to a small lunch place for our first challenge, trying a new tofu dish that was WAY too spicy. After I finally diminished the burning sensation in my […]

Posted On

07/16/13

Author

Eva Vanek

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-16 10:48:03
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    [post_content] => i am now in china, as is the rest of the group. we are at our homestays in kunming, which is a new experience for all of us however much less daunting now that we have endured the village homestay. our village homestay was certainly unlike any previous experiences.  most toilets were literally holes in the ground, and refridgeration was a luxury. as a result i consumed large quantities of unrefridgerated leftover meat and fish. not too surprisingly i did get sick there. however i had a good time. now i am in kunming where the weather is always perfect. tomorrow we begin work on our isps.
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China Language 4-week B

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we are now in china

Eva Vanek,China Language 4-week B

Description

i am now in china, as is the rest of the group. we are at our homestays in kunming, which is a new experience for all of us however much less daunting now that we have endured the village homestay. our village homestay was certainly unlike any previous experiences.  most toilets were literally holes in […]

Posted On

07/16/13

Author

Eva Vanek

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 128510
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-07-16 10:46:07
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-16 10:46:07
    [post_content] => Hello family and friends,

Before heading out on a final hike this afternoon, our group reflected on our past two weeks in China and looked ahead to our next two weeks.

We talked about what has surprised us about China, both good and bad, how we expect our family homestay experience to be different in urban Kunming, and how we have each grown and seek to further challenge ourselves over the next two weeks. Students are uniformly grateful for the experience of living with a family in Jixiangcun village, often commenting on how the hospitality and family dynamics remind them of their own homes. In talking with each of these families who have welcomed our students into their homes, I have been struck by the consistent generosity and genuineness of family members who meet our students each day when they return from formal language instruction and group activities.

Our time in Beijing now seems long ago, but our memories of the bustling city provide a colorful contrast to the slower pace we have experienced this past week. We agreed that it is difficult to describe China as a single entity - in the span of just two weeks we have experienced a contrast in lifestyles and outlook that confirms China is a land rich with diversity. Tomorrow we will venture into Lijiang, where we will encounter a city boasting both an abundance of ancient architecture and cultural significance, as well as the trappings of a modern tourist industry catering to throngs of Chinese and international tourists. In other words, the experience of contrasts will continue.

After spending in the afternoon in Lijiang, we will begin our travel by train back to Kunming, where we hope to be refreshed and reenergized for the second half of our program. We are sending all of our best and will look forward to sending more updates once we are settled again in Kunming.
    [post_title] => Leaving the village, and Kunming-bound
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China Language 4-week B

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Leaving the village, and Kunming-bound

Eva Vanek,China Language 4-week B

Description

Hello family and friends, Before heading out on a final hike this afternoon, our group reflected on our past two weeks in China and looked ahead to our next two weeks. We talked about what has surprised us about China, both good and bad, how we expect our family homestay experience to be different in […]

Posted On

07/16/13

Author

Eva Vanek

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 88002
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-07-12 09:50:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-12 15:50:20
    [post_content] => After Chinese class today, we set out on a walk to a Tibetan Buddhist monastary. The scenery was beautiful and only laudatory comments could be made. The monastary was beautiful and we were even able to watch the monks officially pray.

But the highlight of the day was a simple soccer match. Our team was composed of the younger monks on defense and the boys from Dragons on offense. The adversary was a well rounded Naxi team. We played for an hour or so, trading goals, laughs, and some language.

I did find it incredible that three groups of people who speak three different languages, and come from three different places can play the same game together. We all knew the rules and no one tried to cheat. That is the power of sports, but above all that is the power of opening your mind to different people. By going into that match with an open mind we were able to love each other without really knowing each other. There is so much strife in the world. Yet this shows how anyone can love anyone, no matter how rancourous the relationship has been in the past. If you meet someone hoping to love them rather than hate them, you will love them. If you are brought up being taught to love, then you will love.

A soccer match can only do so much. But seeing everyone in the world as a friend rather than an enemy can enable us to do a lot in the world.

 

 
    [post_title] => A Universal Language
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China Language 4-week B

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A Universal Language

Eli Wachs,China Language 4-week B

Description

After Chinese class today, we set out on a walk to a Tibetan Buddhist monastary. The scenery was beautiful and only laudatory comments could be made. The monastary was beautiful and we were even able to watch the monks officially pray. But the highlight of the day was a simple soccer match. Our team was […]

Posted On

07/12/13

Author

Eli Wachs

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-07-08 09:10:26
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-08 15:10:26
    [post_content] => Hi all!

As I write this, your sons, daughters, friends, students, etc. are attending their first formal in-country Chinese class and their first traditional Kunming over-the-bridge noodle meal. Long Yun, Jeff, and I have truly enjoyed getting to know our group over the past week - they are a mature, excited, and engaging group - thanks for sharing them!

We spent the first couple days in a rural village outside Beijing, quite a contrast from our lives back home and from Beijing itself. There, we ate true 'down-home' northern Chinese food, hiked the wild Great Wall through a heavy fog that give everything a mystical feel, and got to know Wei Ziqi (of 'Country Driving' fame - a book by Peter Hessler). I'm sure you'll all hear stories of him from our students when they return home.

Then, after a couple of days exploring China's capital city, eating its flavorful food, and learning to navigate its streets and subways, we topped off our time in Beijing with a city-wide competitive scavenger hunt, in which our students travelled through the city on a mission to eat a new type of traditional food, buy an unusual fruit, use a public telephone, feel out the city's super-modern financial district, sample milk bubble tea, and more. We were really, really impressed by everyone's ability and willingness to get to know the city on their own terms, ask for directions (in Chinese!), and try totally new foods.

We're now stopping over in Kunming (where we'll later spend a little over a week in homestays) before traveling up north by sleeper-bus tonight to our village home. The students are excited to start their intensive daily Chinese classes, and they've already proven themselves committed to learning the language by practicing with us and locals often. We're happy to report that they're all healthy, having fun, and learning a lot - their adaptability and positive attitudes have helped them begin to build a really strong team dynamic.

Our access to email might be somewhat limited in the village, but we'll try to Yak as much as we can and keep you updated on our adventures!
    [post_title] => From Beijing to Jixiangcun
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China Language 4-week B

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From Beijing to Jixiangcun

Trevor Lee,China Language 4-week B

Description

Hi all! As I write this, your sons, daughters, friends, students, etc. are attending their first formal in-country Chinese class and their first traditional Kunming over-the-bridge noodle meal. Long Yun, Jeff, and I have truly enjoyed getting to know our group over the past week – they are a mature, excited, and engaging group – […]

Posted On

07/8/13

Author

Trevor Lee

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-07-04 13:14:54
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-04 19:14:54
    [post_content] => Hello!

For the past few days, our group has been exploring the bustling capital city of Beijing.We traveled from sight to sight, taking in things from all sides, and trying to stay cool in the heat. We have visited the Forbidden City, Lama temple, Temple of Heaven, and 798, the art district. We have woken up early to visit a park nearby our hostel to watch and join in with elderly men and women performing Taichi, dancing, and writing vanishing characters with water on the concrete.Our culinary adventures have been extensive as well, especially breakfast. We found a favorite Baozi shop, which we have gone for breakfast two days in a row. We have tried Peking duck, a Beijing speciality, which the group couldn't get enough of. The list of new foods go on, and everyday brings a new adventure. As the group is getting accustomed to the new surroundings around them, we are also getting to know each other. We are off to Kunming today, where we will see a very different side of China!

Happy Fourth of July!

Zaijian
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China Language 4-week B

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Hello from Bejing Hutong

Katrina Northrop,China Language 4-week B

Description

Hello! For the past few days, our group has been exploring the bustling capital city of Beijing.We traveled from sight to sight, taking in things from all sides, and trying to stay cool in the heat. We have visited the Forbidden City, Lama temple, Temple of Heaven, and 798, the art district. We have woken […]

Posted On

07/4/13

Author

Katrina Northrop

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Zai Jian for now
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China Language 4-week B

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Alive in Beijing

Eli Wachs,China Language 4-week B

Description

The group is doing great and flourishing in the Dragons atmosphere. Led by the wonderful I-Team of Jeff, Trevor, and Long-yun, we have had a great time. We have done it all ranging from a 3 hour hike of the Great Wall to strolling through the Temple of Heavan grounds. the food has been great […]

Posted On

07/2/13

Author

Eli Wachs

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    [post_date] => 2013-06-30 22:13:01
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    [post_content] => Hello from Beijing!

Our crew has made it to Beijing, and in a few minutes we will be leaving for Sancha, a nearby village along the Great Wall. With Shannon joining us tomorrow, our group will be complete and ready to go!

We are tired from the long flights getting here, but even more excited for the rest of the journey to begin. We'll be back in Beijing Tuesday and will look forward to giving further updates then.

- Jeff


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China Language 4-week B

View post

Made it to Beijing

Jeff,China Language 4-week B

Description

Hello from Beijing! Our crew has made it to Beijing, and in a few minutes we will be leaving for Sancha, a nearby village along the Great Wall. With Shannon joining us tomorrow, our group will be complete and ready to go! We are tired from the long flights getting here, but even more excited […]

Posted On

06/30/13

Author

Jeff

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