Photo of the Week
China Language 6-week
Photo Title


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Three days after returning home from China, I am finally starting to feel somewhat normal. I'm getting over the physical shock of flying halfway around the world, crossing backwards through a night, and somehow arriving three hours earlier than I left. Last night, I was overjoyed to sleep more than four hours and not wake up completely alert at 2am. But the jetlag passes quickly compared to other shocks: little things like eating with a fork, throwing toilet paper in the toilet, not speaking Chinese… But also deeper shocks, like being away from the students and fellow teachers who I saw every day for the past six weeks, returning home and seeing once familiar things through new eyes, slowly realizing how much I really did grow and learn and change through this experience. It happens every time. In the past 10 years, I’ve travelled to many different countries, lived among myriad languages and cultures, passed through landscapes that seem worlds apart… and each time I come home, the transition is never easier or faster or more understandable. In the last 6 weeks, our students lived with families in a city of 6 million people and then a village of a few hundred. They learned a foreign language and used it to navigate busy streets, buses and trains. They ate chicken feet, drank hot tea in the midday heat, and experienced the pain and pleasure of Chinese massage. They studied traditional Chinese medicine or musical instruments or calligraphy, learned how to cook Chinese food or taught English to young children. They trekked through leech-ridden forests, hiked the foothills of the Himalaya, and slept in a centuries-old watchtower on the Great Wall. Now that we are all home, it would seem the adventures are over. The truth is, though, that the journey continues long after we have put away our packs. The places we visited, the people who took us in and shared with us their homes and food and laughter and love, the words we learned to speak and think with - these all stay with us and change us. When we come home, we are not the same people who left. The joy and challenge is to see how we have changed and to integrate those changes into our familiar lives. Greg, Sam, Adam, Jules, and Justin: as you enjoy the comforts of home and family and friends, I encourage you to be aware of the changes in you, to not brush aside the differences you see and the new thoughts you have, but rather acknowledge and explore them – that is the journey ahead. And I urge you not to forget the people and places that welcomed us. Remember that as your host families in Kunming and Jixiangcun carry on with their lives, they think of you often – you touched them just as much they touched you. Remember that the birds continue to fly over Lashihai and the wind still flutters the flags around Shangrila. And remember that the rest of us share these memories, too.   All the best, Jackson     [post_title] => The home journey [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => home-journey [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-08-12 09:27:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-08-12 15:27:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=107942 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 30 [name] => Picture of the Week [slug] => picture-of-the-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 30 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 483 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 1 [cat_ID] => 30 [category_count] => 483 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Picture of the Week [category_nicename] => picture-of-the-week [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/picture-of-the-week/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 155 [name] => China Language 6-week [slug] => china-language-6-week-summer-2014 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 155 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 58 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 155 [category_count] => 58 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Language 6-week [category_nicename] => china-language-6-week-summer-2014 [category_parent] => 254 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2014/china-language-6-week-summer-2014/ ) ) [category_links] => Picture of the Week, China Language 6-week )
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The home journey

Jackson Cooper,Picture of the Week, China Language 6-week

Description

Three days after returning home from China, I am finally starting to feel somewhat normal. I’m getting over the physical shock of flying halfway around the world, crossing backwards through a night, and somehow arriving three hours earlier than I left. Last night, I was overjoyed to sleep more than four hours and not wake […]

Posted On

08/12/14

Author

Jackson Cooper

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-08 15:28:54
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    [post_content] => Hello Families and Friends,

The group has landed in LA! Thanks so much to all of our wonderful students, parents, host families, language teachers, guest speakers, staff, and of course, our two amazing instructors, Jackson and Ding Xin. Wishing everyone a safe return on the last leg of their journeys home. Best regards, Jody
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China Language 6-week

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Landed in LA!

Jody Segar,China Language 6-week

Description

Hello Families and Friends, The group has landed in LA! Thanks so much to all of our wonderful students, parents, host families, language teachers, guest speakers, staff, and of course, our two amazing instructors, Jackson and Ding Xin. Wishing everyone a safe return on the last leg of their journeys home. Best regards, Jody

Posted On

08/8/14

Author

Jody Segar

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    [post_content] => We spent an awesome night on Great wall, all of us woke up at 5am and hiked up to the top tower to see the sunrise. That was a perfect ending!
Now Jackson, Sam, Greg and Jules are on the plane heading back to LA, Adam is on the way to Shanghai. Ding Xin is about to aboard, wish we all have a safe trip!
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China Language 6-week

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We are on board!

Ding Xin,China Language 6-week

Description

We spent an awesome night on Great wall, all of us woke up at 5am and hiked up to the top tower to see the sunrise. That was a perfect ending! Now Jackson, Sam, Greg and Jules are on the plane heading back to LA, Adam is on the way to Shanghai. Ding Xin is […]

Posted On

08/8/14

Author

Ding Xin

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    [post_content] => Looking back on this trip, the experience I am most grateful for is my urban homestay. My mother was nicer than I ever could have asked for, and my host brother was a very very cute 7 year old who's English name was Alvin. He spoke with an English accent because that's how they get taught English here. The manners here are a lot different than back home, and it's gonna be a grind to shift back to my manners back home. My host brother soon called me his older brother and constantly asked me questions about America and life back there. He started to look up to me as a role model so that was cool. One day he told me "When you first came you were sitting up straight on the couch because you were nervous, now you're slouching because you like it here." Right on little dude. Another day we were going to a lovable U.S fried chicken chain for dinner and Alvin asked, "Do you know of KFC? That's where we're going." Did I know of KFC? DID I KNOW KFC? yes.
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China Language 6-week

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Sam Korman Takes Beijing

Sam Korman,China Language 6-week

Description

Looking back on this trip, the experience I am most grateful for is my urban homestay. My mother was nicer than I ever could have asked for, and my host brother was a very very cute 7 year old who’s English name was Alvin. He spoke with an English accent because that’s how they get […]

Posted On

08/7/14

Author

Sam Korman

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    [post_content] => As we have started the transference phase of our trip, a time when we reflect back on our trip and prepare to head back to our homes, I have shuffled through all the people that I have met that have made this trip such an unforgettable experience. And probably the one that I have learned most from throughout this trip is Chen Laoshi ( Laoshi is teacher in Chinese ). He is the head of an NGO based in Lashihai that advocates for a more widespread use of biogas, and for the simple motto leave no trash behind. To explain why he has made such a powerful impact on my trip to China, I wanted to share with you the thank you letter that I have written to him yesterday, as he was indeed one of the people I am most grateful to have met on this trip.

Dear Chen Laoshi,

Thank you very much for giving so much of your time to a group of complete strangers to advocate for one of the most important issues that our world has ever faced. I really thank you for making me aware of how my choices and actions, even though on one side of the world, can affect people's lives on the other side very meaningfully. Now, I will always remember your simple message: Leave no trash behind.

And I will certainly remember more than that. First, I will always remember your call on me to be the best student that I can be, so that I can make the research that needs to be done in order to solve the world's issues, like making more efficient biogas. Thank you for giving me another reason why I work hard everyday at my school in the United States. And let me assure you that I will try to imitate you in devoting my life to solving the most important problems that humanity is facing at the dawn of the 21st century.

Second, I will always remember your call to seek information ourselves. Now, we live in a world where so much superficial information is given to us that we forget to question, and just assume. Now, instead of just being satisfied with a google search, I will actually pick up my phone and call customer services to get the information I want to acquire. And I will go further than that if I need to.

Third, I will always remember the true reason why I recycle. I separate my trash not to dispose of it in an easier way, by I am separating my trash to make a huge portion of it useful again. So next time my mom asks me to go to the recycling station, I know that I will do it with much greater enthusiasm because of what you have told me. And even when I grow up to be an adult, I will try as much as possible to turn your words into actions throughout my entire adult life.

Fourth, thank you for giving me another perspective on trash. Before I met you, I just thought of trash as the end of a linear chain. But now that you have challenged me to think of waste as another resource, as even poop can be used to provide a sustainable cooking fuel. Therefore, from now on, I will take the steps that you have asked me to take to make sure that as much trash as possible follows a circular process, not a linear one.

But most importantly, thank you for showing me another great example of what it means to make the world a better place. Living in a place where people are complete strangers to advocate, even reluctant to cooperate with you, you have shown me the determination, time and energy required if we want to achieve meaningful things in life. Thank you for being another role model to me, and I will try as much as possible in my later life to bring in the same determination, time and energy to whatever change I can make in this world.

And of course, I will not I leave any trash behind in all my future endeavors.

Yours Sincerely,

Jules Comte
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China Language 6-week

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Chen Laoshi

Jules Comte,China Language 6-week

Description

As we have started the transference phase of our trip, a time when we reflect back on our trip and prepare to head back to our homes, I have shuffled through all the people that I have met that have made this trip such an unforgettable experience. And probably the one that I have learned […]

Posted On

08/7/14

Author

Jules Comte

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-06 09:48:36
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After leaving Shangri-La, we've been retracing our steps back home, passing again through Lijiang, Kunming, and now Beijing, where we first touched down in China. This time, though, we've had a couple days to experience the city. The students explored the Forbidden City in the morning, seeing China's imperial past, and in the afternoon we journeyed to 798 Art Disrict, where Beijing's contemporary artists have turned an old factory complex into studios and galleries housing cutting-edge modern art. In the evening, we went to the popular shopping and snack street, Wangfujing, where at least one adventurous student munched on barbecued scorpion and starfish! Now we are headed to that essential symbol of China, the Great Wall. We will spend two nights in a village next to the wall, preparing to leave China and return home. [post_title] => Beijing! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => beijing-8 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-02 09:55:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-02 16:55:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=107829 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 155 [name] => China Language 6-week [slug] => china-language-6-week-summer-2014 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 155 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 58 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 155 [category_count] => 58 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Language 6-week [category_nicename] => china-language-6-week-summer-2014 [category_parent] => 254 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2014/china-language-6-week-summer-2014/ ) ) [category_links] => China Language 6-week )
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Beijing!

Jackson Cooper,China Language 6-week

Description

After leaving Shangri-La, we’ve been retracing our steps back home, passing again through Lijiang, Kunming, and now Beijing, where we first touched down in China. This time, though, we’ve had a couple days to experience the city. The students explored the Forbidden City in the morning, seeing China’s imperial past, and in the afternoon we […]

Posted On

08/6/14

Author

Jackson Cooper

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-04 11:21:50
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    [post_content] => Dear China Language Students & Families,

 

This weekend marks the end of our China Language (6 week) Summer program and students will soon be boarding their planes and return home to share their tales of adventure with each of you.  We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

 

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for your reference.  Starting on Saturday, 7/26, should you need any assistance during student travel days (outside of normal office hours), please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: update@wheretherebedragons.com. During office hours (M-F, 9:00am-5:00pm M.S.T.) please continue to use our parent line at:800-982-9203 ext. 130.

 Returning Flight: 

August 8th, 2014 

Air China 987

Depart: Beijing (PEK) 2:00pm

Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 11:00am

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China Language 6-week

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China Language 6 Return Flight Reminder

Eva Vanek,China Language 6-week

Description

Dear China Language Students & Families,   This weekend marks the end of our China Language (6 week) Summer program and students will soon be boarding their planes and return home to share their tales of adventure with each of you.  We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!   Below is a reminder of the return […]

Posted On

08/4/14

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-03 14:55:48
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    [post_content] => Hello Family & Friends of the China Language Intensive 6-week Group,

Some of you may have seen news today of an earthquake in Yunnan Province. Thankfully, the group is almost 300 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, and sleeping safely in Kunming. The impact of the quake was serious for the people of Ludian County, the location of the epicenter, and although it was felt further away in Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou Provinces, our group is far from the disaster area. Our hearts go out to the people of Ludian County and all those who suffered losses and were affected by the quake.

 
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China Language 6-week

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Group safe in Kunming after an earthquake about 300 miles away

Jody Segar,China Language 6-week

Description

Hello Family & Friends of the China Language Intensive 6-week Group, Some of you may have seen news today of an earthquake in Yunnan Province. Thankfully, the group is almost 300 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, and sleeping safely in Kunming. The impact of the quake was serious for the people of Ludian […]

Posted On

08/3/14

Author

Jody Segar

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    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-03 17:14:53
    [post_content] => Since yesterday afternoon, I have started my journey back home. For our expedition, we had decided to go all the way to Shangri-la, a secluded tibetan city in Northern Yunnan. We left this city to start retracing back the steps that we have been taking for the past 5 weeks. Yesterday, we came back to Lijiang by bus, passing by the homes of our rural families at Lashihai, then took an overnight train back to Kunming, where we spent ten days as part of urban families. Tomorrrow, we are set to fly to Beijing to conclude our six week long adventure among the ruins of the Great Wall. And in five days, I will get back to L.A, to catch a flight that will take me back to my dear home in Barcelona.

And I am just starting to realize how much each individual step I have taken on this trip has made me a better Jules. Everyday, as I come back to the places where I have grown so much for the past six weeks, hundreds of anecdotes flood back to my mind. So many that I just can't understand how I will be able to tell everything that has happened on this trip to my family. After six weeks of lifechanging experiences, I don't know how I will be able to fit back into the world I had left only a little more than a month ago. These unforgetable moments have changed me so much!

But before I face this culture shock, in fifteen minutes, I am going to savour again the very first dish that I have had in my time in Kunming. Certainly a nice way to close the book that I will bring back to my family this Friday!
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China Language 6-week

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Starting My Journey Back Home

Jules Comte,China Language 6-week

Description

Since yesterday afternoon, I have started my journey back home. For our expedition, we had decided to go all the way to Shangri-la, a secluded tibetan city in Northern Yunnan. We left this city to start retracing back the steps that we have been taking for the past 5 weeks. Yesterday, we came back to […]

Posted On

08/3/14

Author

Jules Comte

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-31 13:56:49
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    [post_content] => This week is our group's expedition phase, and we decided to travel to Shangri-La. It has a lot of Tibetan influence, which is cool because this is one of the the closest places we can get to Tibet, as there are strict travel restrictions for foreigners who want to travel to Tibet. The group is in charge of spending money and budgets, along with transportation and all the usual responsibilities of an Instructor. Today I woke up with a fever and it lasted all day until I took a three hour nap right after we visited a Tibetan Temple. It was a solid nap. At dinner, even though I wasn't too hungry, I ordered a plate of 17 dumplings because why not. I ended up dominating those dumplings and I feel very accomplished right now. The altitude has brought some sickness to us, as some of our group members have fallen victims to the 12,000 foot highlands we're in right now. I also had yak yogurt today which was an experience. I mainly tried it to tell people that I had the fermented milk of a cow-like mammal and to make myself more interesting at dinner parties. I also drank 4 Nalgenes of water today so I also feel very accomplished with my life.
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China Language 6-week

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17 Dumplings

Sam Korman,China Language 6-week

Description

This week is our group’s expedition phase, and we decided to travel to Shangri-La. It has a lot of Tibetan influence, which is cool because this is one of the the closest places we can get to Tibet, as there are strict travel restrictions for foreigners who want to travel to Tibet. The group is […]

Posted On

07/31/14

Author

Sam Korman

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