Photo of the Week
China Search for Meaning 6-wk
Photo Title


WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 122075
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-07-12 02:08:28
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-12 08:08:28
    [post_content] => 
imageimageimage
This photo update includes some highlights from our time in Xi'an!  We visited the city walls and bikes as a group on top of them.  We also went to a Catholic Church, visited the Great Mosque, shared our first group Hot Pot (a traditional Chinese dining experience), volunteered at a soup kitchen, and visited the Big Goose Pagoda. [post_title] => Photo update: Xi'an and our first group Hot Pot [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => photo-update-xian-and-our-first-group-hot-pot [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-20 16:14:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-20 23:14:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=122075 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 84 [name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk [slug] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 84 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 255 [count] => 54 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5.1 [cat_ID] => 84 [category_count] => 54 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk [category_nicename] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week [category_parent] => 255 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2015/china-search-for-meaning-6-week/ ) ) [category_links] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk )
View post

Photo update: Xi’an and our first group Hot Pot

Sarah bolasevich,China Search for Meaning 6-wk

Description

This photo update includes some highlights from our time in Xi’an!  We visited the city walls and bikes as a group on top of them.  We also went to a Catholic Church, visited the Great Mosque, shared our first group Hot Pot (a traditional Chinese dining experience), volunteered at a soup kitchen, and visited the […]

Posted On

07/12/15

Author

Sarah bolasevich

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 122061
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-07-11 00:15:48
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-11 06:15:48
    [post_content] => 
image
Higher than the lark: resting in the sky at the pass. -Basho [post_title] => Some photos on the Great Wall [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => some-photos-on-the-great-wall [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-20 16:21:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-20 23:21:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=122061 [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] => 84 [name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk [slug] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 84 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 255 [count] => 54 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5.1 [cat_ID] => 84 [category_count] => 54 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk [category_nicename] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week [category_parent] => 255 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2015/china-search-for-meaning-6-week/ ) ) [category_links] => Picture of the Week, China Search for Meaning 6-wk )
View post

Some photos on the Great Wall

Sarah Bolasevich ,Picture of the Week, China Search for Meaning 6-wk

Description

Higher than the lark: resting in the sky at the pass. -Basho

Posted On

07/11/15

Author

Sarah Bolasevich

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 122053
    [post_author] => 14
    [post_date] => 2015-07-11 00:12:44
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-11 06:12:44
    [post_content] => 
Above are photos of several of the places the group has visited so far - see Zoe's recent post for details. We're currently in the small town of Xiahe, in southwestern Gansu Province, an area that was historically part of the Amdo region of Tibet. Xiahe is the site of Labrang Monastery, one of the most important Gelug (today the largest  school of Tibetan Buddhism) Monasteries in the world.
[post_title] => Places we've visited... [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => places-weve-visited [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-07-11 00:12:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-11 06:12:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=122053 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 84 [name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk [slug] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 84 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 255 [count] => 54 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5.1 [cat_ID] => 84 [category_count] => 54 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk [category_nicename] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week [category_parent] => 255 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2015/china-search-for-meaning-6-week/ ) ) [category_links] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk )

China Search for Meaning 6-wk

View post

Places we’ve visited…

Parker Pflaum,China Search for Meaning 6-wk

Description

Above are photos of several of the places the group has visited so far – see Zoe’s recent post for details. We’re currently in the small town of Xiahe, in southwestern Gansu Province, an area that was historically part of the Amdo region of Tibet. Xiahe is the site of Labrang Monastery, one of the […]

Posted On

07/11/15

Author

Parker Pflaum

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 121924
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-07-10 11:35:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-10 17:35:00
    [post_content] => In the Western mind, China might appear to be a place that lacks individuality, thinks only of the collective good, and is wholly intolerant of spiritual or religious beliefs after the advent of communism and the Cultural Revolution. Though recent history did rid China of many aspects of its religious culture, there are still large populations devoted to their beliefs as well as young people who are gravitating towards religion as part of their “search for meaning.” I have always had a lot of respect for those who are faithful and devoted to their set of beliefs, and I find tradition and the philosophical ideas that often arise from religion helpful and important to my own life. Since I was very young, I have been exposed to many types of religious beliefs, attending services, festivals, and taking classes on most of the major world religions. In other parts of the world that I have been lucky enough to visit, I have stepped into places of worship that made me gasp in wonder, and the tangible sense of holiness never fails to awaken a reverence inside of me. Certainly, the beauty of the insides of cathedrals, monasteries, synagogues, mosques, and temples is enough to make me feel some sense of a higher power. However, I believe it is the collective minutes, hours, years of prayer and thoughts and good will that have existed within a place of worship that have the power to almost make me drop to my knees.
In Chinese culture, there are many symbols of good luck, superstitions, and conventions that persist despite the attempted erasure of tradition in the 1960s and 70s. During our first few days in China, we stayed in a small town on the outskirts of Beijing called gubeikou. The traditional courtyard style houses were full of the words for good fortune, red banners, couplets on the doorways, and architecture that incorporated good luck charms. Though the town has modernized in certain ways – every resident had a smart phone and satellite television – the devotion to ancient Chinese beliefs and superstitions is obvious on the outside of every home. Most of the young people of the town have left for larger cities in order to work, and so the town's population consists mostly of older people and young children sent home to be raised by their grandparents. The traditional family structure has been disrupted, and yet people still find comfort in the age old traditions.
In Xi'an, we had the opportunity to meet both with a priest from the Catholic community and an imam from the Hui Muslim community. China's five recognized religions coexist in this city, as well as numerous other minorities. On Sunday, we attended an English language service at the Catholic church. Though a few rituals differed, the service was quite similar to a Western one. The Xi'an community not only includes many Chinese congregants, but also many Filipino and African members. Though most Catholics in the countryside are elderly, Chinese cities have become a center of Catholicism for young people. This community includes many students who have come to study in Xi'an and are concurrently revitalizing China's small Catholic community. The choir sang with great passion, and the congregants were obviously passionate about their tradition. After the service, speaking with Father Stephen Chen, we were given an insight into the importance of Catholicism in both his family and life. Many of his siblings, nieces, and nephews are members of the clergy, and his family has been Catholic for many generations. He talked about the history of Catholicism in this area, the fate of the place during the Cultural Revolution (it was used as a factory for a Swiss candy company and no church activities were allowed), and the current government regulations that restrict the activities of the church and have banned any sort of religious education.
In strict contrast to Father Stephen's passive frustration at government regulation, the imam of the Great Mosque, the oldest mosque in China, held that China's history and government has helped Islam to become better over the last hundred or so years. He told us that, while many Muslim communities are seen to be closed minded in terms of the education and participation of women, the equality that Chinese communism provided seeped into the practice of Islam and has made it so that they support a woman's right to education. The imam also talked about the ways in which they look to the West for their values, and how they hope to influence the rest of the Muslim world by being progressive and successful. The area surrounding the Great Mosque is a bustling market, full of the most incredible combination of Middle Eastern and Chinese traditions. I bought a pastry that was covered in bright red sugar that could have been a Chinese sweet, but when I bit into it, I found that it was in fact baklava, a Middle Eastern desert. I saw pieces of art that combined traditional Chinese painting with Arabic calligraphy. The hijabs and skull caps and the sound of the call to prayer for the breaking of the Ramadan fast were marked signs of devotion within the bustling Chinese city.
Now, our group has made it out to the West of China, to the province of Gansu. We are currently staying in a hostel in Xiahe, right outside of the massive and intricately beautiful Labrang Monastery, a Buddhist Monastery of the Geluba sect. The place is unimaginably beautiful, with green mountains, blue skies, and colorful architecture. Here, I am surrounded by the most magnificent devotion of a people with sun-darkened, sometimes wrinkled, sometimes ruddy faces, and lovely smiles, vivid clothing, and large hats. On every street I have walked down, there are monks in deeply red robes. Some are driving cars or using iPhones. Some are walking with purpose, eyes up and alert, while a few young monks play kickball in the street. Everywhere I go I hear the movement of prayer beads clicking from finger to finger, and back onto string. Today, in a restaurant, I watched an old man spinning a small prayer wheel for the duration of his meal.
Devotion, however, could not be more apparent, than in the activities at the monastery. At what seems like all hours of the day, Tibetan pilgrims walk the Kora path 3 km around, spinning prayer wheels, thumbing prayer beads, saying mantras, and doing full prostrations along the way. Many of these pilgrims are elderly, but their strength and stamina, bolstered by devotion, pushes them along, hauling prayer wheels forwards, and keeping them steadily on their way. Today, we took a tour of the monastery with a young monk. The monastery is not only a place of prayer and tradition, but also intellectual discourse. In the philosophy college, once a monk has finished their studies, they must spend the next 25 years debating philosophy for 2-3 hours a day. Other monks get up at 3 or 4 am to show devotion to certain Buddhas. Earlier today, Sarah led us in a short 2 minute meditation. It was difficult enough to try and clear our minds for that long, but then Sarah told us about how monks do this from 3 am until late at night for 3 years every day. For some, religion may be merely be going through the motions learned by rote, but for Buddhist monks, life is full of active intellectual debate alongside those traditions and practices. After learning about what goes on in the monastery, seeing monks walking in the streets I felt an immense amount of respect for them, their faith, but more than anything, the discipline and devotion, perseverance and strength it takes to live the way they do. Each one overcomes their own thoughts and needs and allows themselves to surrender outside comforts in order to understand the truths of life and happiness just as well as any academic, psychologist, and philosopher combined.
While our own “search for meaning” continues, I hope to observe more ways in which Chinese people find meanings in their lives, both religiously and otherwise, in a changing country and an increasingly fast-paced world.
    [post_title] => Devotion
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => devotion
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-02-08 16:17:07
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-08 23:17:07
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=121924
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 36
                    [name] => Best Notes From The Field
                    [slug] => best-notes-from-the-field
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 36
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => These pieces of travel writing are reflections by students and instructors traveling all over the world. They exemplify the open-minded spirit of exploration and self-discovery on a Dragons course.
                    [parent] => 0
                    [count] => 503
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0
                    [cat_ID] => 36
                    [category_count] => 503
                    [category_description] => These pieces of travel writing are reflections by students and instructors traveling all over the world. They exemplify the open-minded spirit of exploration and self-discovery on a Dragons course.
                    [cat_name] => Best Notes From The Field
                    [category_nicename] => best-notes-from-the-field
                    [category_parent] => 0
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/best-notes-from-the-field/
                )

            [1] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 84
                    [name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [slug] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 84
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 255
                    [count] => 54
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 5.1
                    [cat_ID] => 84
                    [category_count] => 54
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [category_nicename] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [category_parent] => 255
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2015/china-search-for-meaning-6-week/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Best Notes From The Field, China Search for Meaning 6-wk
)

Best Notes From The Field, China Search for Meaning 6-wk

View post

Devotion

Zoe Gilbard,Best Notes From The Field, China Search for Meaning 6-wk

Description

In the Western mind, China might appear to be a place that lacks individuality, thinks only of the collective good, and is wholly intolerant of spiritual or religious beliefs after the advent of communism and the Cultural Revolution. Though recent history did rid China of many aspects of its religious culture, there are still large […]

Posted On

07/10/15

Author

Zoe Gilbard

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 121710
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-07-08 08:49:22
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-08 14:49:22
    [post_content] => I have always felt better on the move. My parents have told me that as soon as I learned to walk, I was running. In many ways I have come to define my life and daily routine through running. A life motto, coined by my cousin, that I passionately live by is, "always attacking, never surviving". It is this motto that motivated me to twice run the Great Wall Marathon and that has launched me into a life of travel, adventure, and inquiry. Rarely do I willingly slow down this fast paced nature, as complacency terrifies me. It is through my current experiences on this course that I am obtaining a greater understanding of my past self.The recent student orientation and camping adventure on the Great Wall allowed me the opportunity to fully comprehend my past experience on the Great Wall, as well as my prior life in China in a way that I would have never expected.

I usually find running to be a mind clearing and relaxing activity.  However, running in China is a cause of stress, more so than a release.  You get stared at as a foreigner here.  These are piercing stares that know no shame.  Stares that you can feel without seeing.  They are usually honest and curious stares, but can crack even the kindest of people. But a foreigner in shorts?  Running?  Why would anyone do such a thing?  A typical training run in China usually involves some combination of acrid smells from children’s fecal matter, unknown food by-product sludge that people throw into street drains, and nearly being turned into road kill by an overzealous taxi driver. All of which are the last thing you need when trying to let off steam.

In all of my training runs and preparation for the Great Wall marathon I ran angry. I was frustrated by the corrupt English department staff at the university that I taught at, the constant harrassment that I had to endure walking the streets, and the loneliness that I felt as an outsider. As an immature 22 year old I failed to cope with these emotions in a proper manner and allowed the tumultuous situation that I was in dictate my perspective on China and my life as a whole. I put up walls, turned inward, and became a cold person that was nothing like my former self.

I raced as I had trained, angry and attacking. The Great Wall marathon inflicted upon me the greatest physical and mental stress that I have ever experienced. At mile 22 I started to crumble mentally. I stood at the foot of a mountain, eyes closed, breathing heavily, trying to summon up the mental strength to convince myself that I could put one foot in front of the other and finish. For the majority of mile 23 I crawled up the stairs on all fours.  Leaning into the mountain and using my hands to pull myself forward took some of the pressure off my cramping calf muscles. I even went a bit crazy, yelling at myself in the third person, "You are a COWARD Brendon, a coward!!!". I finished fifth overall. I hobbled away proud of what I had accomplished, but failing to consider the greater historical, cultural, and personal significance of what I had just done.

I find it extremely difficult to leave a place that I really connect with. I always tell myself that I will be back some day, but I know that there is a good chance that I never will. This was my relationship with the Great Wall in 2013. I had assumed that my business with the Great Wall was complete. I had hammered the race, made lasting memories, and had a connection to the place that few others could identify with. Yet my perspectve was shortsighted and selfish. I was running for myself and for my own benefit, without thinking about the bigger picture.

I was able to get a glimpse of the "bigger picture" through a shared group experience hiking and camping on the Great Wall. I was able discover what I had overlooked in my previous rushed anger. I found solitude, beauty, and an area for potential personal growth. Watching the sun rise from the top of a guard tower at 4:30 in the morning, while in a daze of meditation and semi-consciousness, a plethora of questions arose. Why was there a need to construct a wall in a location where the natural environment provided sufficient blockades to militaristic advance? What kind of supply chains were constructed to allow for the creation of this wall? How many forests were chopped down to fuel the brick making furnaces that were required to construct the wall? How lonely would life be as a guard in one of the smaller towers?

My thoughts then turned to viewing the wall as something greater that could be applied to my own life and personality. What about the walls that I have put up in my own life to mask my insecurities? I found myself deep in contemplation about how I could potentially do away with the coldness and shyness that I occasionally exude. I sincerley desire to tear down these walls (as I write "tear down these walls" I imagine Ronald Reagan yelling at me as emphatically as he had yelled at Mikhail Gorbachev), so that I can become a warmer and more compassionate person. A person that is emotionally capable to feel and give more.

After the Great Wall Marathon, I hobbled and waddled gingerly back to a shuttle bus without giving much thought to the location or significance of what I had just experienced. It was a time in my life at which I was numb and merely going through the motions. I had attacked, barely survived, and did not bother to search for any greater meaning. This time on the Great Wall was different. I found myself provided with a fresh and new perspective. Watching perhaps one of the most beautiful sunsets that I have ever seen, with the Great Wall of China as a backdrop, fellow instructors/friends and students by my side, I thought to myself that I wouldn't mind slowing down and staying in this moment...
    [post_title] => A Great New Perspective
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => a-great-new-perspective
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-07-08 08:49:22
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-08 14:49:22
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=121710
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 84
                    [name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [slug] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 84
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 255
                    [count] => 54
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 5.1
                    [cat_ID] => 84
                    [category_count] => 54
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [category_nicename] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [category_parent] => 255
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2015/china-search-for-meaning-6-week/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
)
View post

A Great New Perspective

Brendon Thomas,China Search for Meaning 6-wk

Description

I have always felt better on the move. My parents have told me that as soon as I learned to walk, I was running. In many ways I have come to define my life and daily routine through running. A life motto, coined by my cousin, that I passionately live by is, “always attacking, never […]

Posted On

07/8/15

Author

Brendon Thomas

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 121241
    [post_author] => 14
    [post_date] => 2015-07-03 10:09:50
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-03 16:09:50
    [post_content] => Hello Family and Friends,

Our thoughts are with the people of Pishan County in Hetian (Hotan) Prefecture, Xinjiang Province, after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit the area last night. All of our students and staff in China are at least 1500 miles away from the epicenter, far from anywhere that the quake was felt. None of our groups have plans to travel to or near the area affected by the quake.

Wishing the people of Hetian (Hotan) Prefecture well and wishing our groups in China continued safe travel,

Dragons Home Office

    [post_title] => All China Groups Safe and Far Away from the Earthquake in Xinjiang
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => all-china-groups-safe-and-far-away-from-the-earthquake-in-xinjiang-10
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-07-03 10:09:50
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-03 16:09:50
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=121241
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 84
                    [name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [slug] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 84
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 255
                    [count] => 54
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 5.1
                    [cat_ID] => 84
                    [category_count] => 54
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [category_nicename] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [category_parent] => 255
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2015/china-search-for-meaning-6-week/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
)

China Search for Meaning 6-wk

View post

All China Groups Safe and Far Away from the Earthquake in Xinjiang

Jody Segar,China Search for Meaning 6-wk

Description

Hello Family and Friends, Our thoughts are with the people of Pishan County in Hetian (Hotan) Prefecture, Xinjiang Province, after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit the area last night. All of our students and staff in China are at least 1500 miles away from the epicenter, far from anywhere that the quake was felt. None […]

Posted On

07/3/15

Author

Jody Segar

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 121218
    [post_author] => 14
    [post_date] => 2015-07-03 09:51:17
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-03 15:51:17
    [post_content] => Hello Family and Friends,

Our thoughts are with the people of Pishan County in Hetian (Hotan) Prefecture, Xinjiang Province, after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit the area last night. All of our students and staff in China are at least 1500 miles away from the epicenter, far from anywhere that the quake was felt. None of our groups have plans to travel to or near the area affected by the quake.

Wishing the people of Hetian (Hotan) Prefecture well and wishing our groups in China continued safe travel,

Dragons Home Office
    [post_title] => All China Groups Safe and Far Away from the Earthquake in Xinjiang
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => all-china-groups-safe-and-far-away-from-the-earthquake-in-xinjiang
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-07-03 09:51:17
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-03 15:51:17
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=121218
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 84
                    [name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [slug] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 84
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 255
                    [count] => 54
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 5.1
                    [cat_ID] => 84
                    [category_count] => 54
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [category_nicename] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [category_parent] => 255
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2015/china-search-for-meaning-6-week/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
)

China Search for Meaning 6-wk

View post

All China Groups Safe and Far Away from the Earthquake in Xinjiang

Jody Segar,China Search for Meaning 6-wk

Description

Hello Family and Friends, Our thoughts are with the people of Pishan County in Hetian (Hotan) Prefecture, Xinjiang Province, after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit the area last night. All of our students and staff in China are at least 1500 miles away from the epicenter, far from anywhere that the quake was felt. None […]

Posted On

07/3/15

Author

Jody Segar

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 121037
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-07-02 09:23:59
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-02 15:23:59
    [post_content] => I guess it was shortsighted for me to believe I could wander into China and observe the people here in the same disconnected way a scientist could examine a cage of lab rats. It's ironic how I came into this trip with the question of identity. Specifically, how the sense of identity held by an ethnic minority has been altered by the broader forces of political policy, economic modernization, and burgeoning tourism. How, in the face of all this change, opposing attractions to both the future and the past, can these individuals foster  meaningful, non-contradictory identities. But in a mere 48 hours, I have found this question of identity reflected back onto me. Through the confused stares from Chinese locals as they see me in my American clothes. Through the expectant, rapid pace of a shopkeepers' speech. Through the humored (at best) and disappointed (at worst) countenances of Chinese citizens when they realize I cannot reply.

I feel outside. I feel like a tourist in this country, unable to understand people or read signs with my rudimentary grasp of Mandarin. But I feel inside. I see familiar dishes that my mom would make for me at home - her beef stew, steamed & sugared buns, pork and vegetables - that I naively assumed to be her specialties. The ratty, washed-too-often handtowels hanging on clotheslines in the courtyard are familiar sights that I didn't realize I internalized while visiting my family over six years ago. When I recognize the tanner faces, deeper smile lines, blacker yet twinklier eyes of the people here compared to their Asian-American counterparts, I can't help but feel at home.

Inside. Outside. Inside. Outside.

    [post_title] => Inside. Outside. Inside. Outside.
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => inside-outside-inside-outside
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-07-02 09:23:59
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-02 15:23:59
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=121037
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 84
                    [name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [slug] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 84
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 255
                    [count] => 54
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 5.1
                    [cat_ID] => 84
                    [category_count] => 54
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [category_nicename] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [category_parent] => 255
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2015/china-search-for-meaning-6-week/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
)

China Search for Meaning 6-wk

View post

Inside. Outside. Inside. Outside.

Jenna Peng,China Search for Meaning 6-wk

Description

I guess it was shortsighted for me to believe I could wander into China and observe the people here in the same disconnected way a scientist could examine a cage of lab rats. It’s ironic how I came into this trip with the question of identity. Specifically, how the sense of identity held by an […]

Posted On

07/2/15

Author

Jenna Peng

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 120989
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-07-02 09:15:01
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-02 15:15:01
    [post_content] => BERNARDO QUERIDO,

ESTAMOS DISTANTES MAS COM VOCÊ SEMPRE EM NOSSOS PENSAMENTOS E  NO CORAÇÃO! HOJE VOCÊ FAZ 17 anos ! UAUU !! Passou tão rápido !! Filho, estou super proud de você pois sei que esta viagem terá hard moments e outros TAMBÉM not so easy ! PARABÉNS PELO DIA DE HOJE ! E LEMBRE-SE: O MAIS IMPORTANTE É SER FELIZ !! UM BEIJÃO DA MAMÃE CHRISTINA   - HAVE FUN !! LOVE YOU !! GUI E LELA MANDAM BEIJOS TOO !!

    [post_title] => HAPPY B DAY BERNARDO SANTOS
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => happy-b-day-bernardo-santos
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-07-02 09:15:01
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-02 15:15:01
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=120989
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 84
                    [name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [slug] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 84
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 255
                    [count] => 54
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 5.1
                    [cat_ID] => 84
                    [category_count] => 54
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [category_nicename] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [category_parent] => 255
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2015/china-search-for-meaning-6-week/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
)

China Search for Meaning 6-wk

View post

HAPPY B DAY BERNARDO SANTOS

CHRISTINA SANTOS,China Search for Meaning 6-wk

Description

BERNARDO QUERIDO, ESTAMOS DISTANTES MAS COM VOCÊ SEMPRE EM NOSSOS PENSAMENTOS E  NO CORAÇÃO! HOJE VOCÊ FAZ 17 anos ! UAUU !! Passou tão rápido !! Filho, estou super proud de você pois sei que esta viagem terá hard moments e outros TAMBÉM not so easy ! PARABÉNS PELO DIA DE HOJE ! E LEMBRE-SE: […]

Posted On

07/2/15

Author

CHRISTINA SANTOS

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 120898
    [post_author] => 14
    [post_date] => 2015-06-30 12:44:11
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-06-30 18:44:11
    [post_content] => Two years have passed since I last called China home. In those two years I intentionally tried to put some distance between myself and everything China. Two years of living in rural China necessitated a break and a reorientation of my perspective. My respite took the form of graduate school where I studied China's impact from an international development standpoint and its global environmental impact. This time away has me yearning to return to see what has changed or remained constant. Our plane's descent this morning over the innumerable factories of Guangzhou brought back memories of my first arrival in China that were fraught with shock, curiosity, stress, and self-doubt, but what remained consistent was the excitement and exaltation of arriving in a truly foreign place.  

I will never forget my first arrival in China. I was giddy to begin Peace Corps training and was unable to sleep during the 15 hour flight. When we touched down in a dark and gloomy Beijing, I assumed that it was either before day break or late evening. Nope. It was 2:30pm. I had previously heard stories and seen pictures of Beijing's pollution, but was utterly shocked at not even being able to distinguish taxiing planes through the thick haze.    

My arrival in Chengdu, where Peace Corps is headquartered, immediately exposed me to the dynamism of China. Tea house lined rivers, never ending construction with cranes and scaffolding hugging rows of new buildings, men eating spicy hot pot and then rolling their tank tops over their protruding bellies in what I like to call a "Beijing Bikini" fashion, and much more that I certainly failed to notice. I was hooked. Even the stress induced by my inability to feed myself with chop-sticks, speak Mandarin, or understand Peace Corps TEFL pedagogy could not deter my curiosity and motivation.   

Unlike my arrival in Chengdu, the dust covered road that led to my Peace Corps site in the rural and windswept Northwest produced immense terror and self-doubt. With only a basic understanding of Chinese culture and intermediate Mandarin skills, how was I going to make an impact? How was I going to survive??? I keenly remember my first time walking through the city center where crowds gathered to fixedly stare and chat about what this tall, white, and blonde headed creature was doing in such a backwards place. I will never forget the toothless gaping mouths and the expression of utter shock on the faces of the elderly Chinese upon seeing me. I was terrified and became filled with a sense of doubt. Would the staring continue? How could I ever find happiness in such a place if I always felt harassed and devoid of personal privacy?  

It is these emotions and feelings of potential hardship at arrival that I hope the students take time to understand and document. Taking stock of one's emotions, stereotypes, and intentions at arrival will serve to provide a baseline to look back on. Without having assessed my initial feelings upon my various arrivals in China, I would have never been able to appreciate the small victories and opportunities that were presented to me, despite living in a rather bleak area of the country. I look forward to reliving my first arrival in China through my students eyes. I eagerly anticipate them losing themselves and then finding themselves throughout our travels, during the course of which their worldview and complacence will be shaken. Above all, I hope that the students can get a sense of all that they have the potential to bring to the places that we will be visiting and develop a greater degree of solidarity with their fellow humans.  Renowned travel writer Pico Iyer states, "arrival puts us back, ideally, in a child's sense of everlastingness, a future without boundaries", I could not agree more...

    [post_title] => Arrival
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => arrival-15
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-02-08 16:17:07
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-08 23:17:07
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=120898
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 36
                    [name] => Best Notes From The Field
                    [slug] => best-notes-from-the-field
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 36
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => These pieces of travel writing are reflections by students and instructors traveling all over the world. They exemplify the open-minded spirit of exploration and self-discovery on a Dragons course.
                    [parent] => 0
                    [count] => 503
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 0
                    [cat_ID] => 36
                    [category_count] => 503
                    [category_description] => These pieces of travel writing are reflections by students and instructors traveling all over the world. They exemplify the open-minded spirit of exploration and self-discovery on a Dragons course.
                    [cat_name] => Best Notes From The Field
                    [category_nicename] => best-notes-from-the-field
                    [category_parent] => 0
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/best-notes-from-the-field/
                )

            [1] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 84
                    [name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [slug] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 84
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 255
                    [count] => 54
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 5.1
                    [cat_ID] => 84
                    [category_count] => 54
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => China Search for Meaning 6-wk
                    [category_nicename] => china-search-for-meaning-6-week
                    [category_parent] => 255
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2015/china-search-for-meaning-6-week/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Best Notes From The Field, China Search for Meaning 6-wk
)
View post

Arrival

Brendon Thomas,Best Notes From The Field, China Search for Meaning 6-wk

Description

Two years have passed since I last called China home. In those two years I intentionally tried to put some distance between myself and everything China. Two years of living in rural China necessitated a break and a reorientation of my perspective. My respite took the form of graduate school where I studied China’s impact […]

Posted On

06/30/15

Author

Brendon Thomas

1 2 3 4 5 6