Summer China Tour Updates
On Friday we left the University at 8 a.m. and many Chinese students came to see us off. Many of our students and the Chinese students were in tears.
It was hard to leave our new friends.
After a five-hour bus trip, we arrived and checked into our hotel. We took taxis to another part of the city to eat lunch at a very nice western restaurant.
There were a few shops in that area that had some very traditional Chinese gifts. The team had a good time getting last minute souvenirs. When we left that
area, we wanted to take taxis back to our hotel area. It was rush hour, and we had a lot of trouble getting taxis. It was quite an adventure. There was a
lot of shopping in the hotel area, and we sampled some good food in local restaurants.
On Saturday, our last day in China, many of us took a long walk around the lake, which is a beautiful park with many locals also enjoying the area. The team
walked from the hotel up the street to a pizza place and enjoyed some very tasty American-style pizza for lunch (we had previously learned how to say "pizza
with no fruit" in Chinese). Afterward, there was more shopping, then off to the bird and flower market (there were many creatures other than birds in the
market - like a big bowl of bugs!), some more shopping, and dinner at an Italian restaurant, followed by dessert at the DQ!
Sunday, we were off by 6 a.m. to go to the airport. When we arrived in Beijing, we learned that our plane to Newark was delayed by two hours. That meant
we would not make our connecting flight to Tampa. We were able to take a later flight from Newark, which was the last flight out. We barely made it, but
the whole team was able to get on the plane with no time to spare.
The trip was a wonderful experience for our team members. Much was accomplished and we are so thankful for the Lord's guidance and protection.
This week has been classes for the team - Basic Chinese and Oral English. Our Chinese teacher, Diane, did a great job. She actually had us telling her
what we had for dinner last night in Chinese. We have had a great time meeting new Chinese students in their English classes, showing them our
scrapbooks, talking about many different subjects, and even inviting them out for meals or activities. In one English class, the Chinese were taught
English tongue twisters. They had a great time with Peter Piper and Betty Botter.
Today (Thursday), we had grilled hamburgers, macaroni and cheese,
chips, and Coke for lunch at our host's home. A little slice of America right here in China!
For the evening meal, the University had a
farewell dinner with very good Chinese food. After the dinner, most of the team members took their Chinese friends out to a local restaurant for
smoothies. We leave bright and early on Friday morning to go to another city where we will do some shopping, and then leave on Sunday morning
for the long trip back to America.
Saturday was a slower paced day and the team took advantage of sleeping in, as college students do so well. In the afternoon, the university took us
to a tea house in town and we participated in a traditional tea ceremony. We were able to taste two kinds of tea, had some rice cakes, sunflower seeds,
and dried prunes. They also allowed some of us to try our hand at writing ancient Chinese characters with a brush.
Afterward, the team was able to go
separate ways and meet up with their new Chinese friends for dinner, sports, etc.
On Sunday, we were able to visit a government church and enjoy
listening to the hymns sung in Chinese. Afterward, we had our host talk with us and give us some thought-provoking ideas from the Book. For lunch
we went to a restaurant to experience the "over the bridge rice noodles" which are famous in this area. For the evening meal, the team went to
another restaurant and had individual hot pots (like fondue).
On Monday, we had another Basic Chinese class (some progress is being made!) and
also participated in an English class. We broke up into groups and showed our scrapbooks to the Chinese students. They are so much fun to talk
with, and it was interesting to discuss the differences between Chinese university students and American college students. The team will be in
English classes and the Basic Chinese class for the rest of this week. This will give us many opportunities to meet new Chinese friends, and,
hopefully, to keep learning more Chinese words and phrases to make communication a little easier during our last few days on campus.
On Thursday, our group attended a lecture on Chinese Traditional Festivals. It was very interesting, and the
differences in our cultures were very evident when the lecturer was explaining the meaning of the festivals.
Dr. Smith gave a second lecture that afternoon which was attended by some university professors and many
On Friday, the Basic Chinese class was canceled because our teacher was not feeling well.
The students took advantage of the time to rehearse and prepare for the evening concert.
The concert took
place in the music building on campus. The CCC students did vocal solos, duets, and group numbers, as
well as instrumental pieces. They did a fantastic job! The Chinese students did a few traditional
dances and played Chinese instruments. It was very interesting and entertaining. The best thing that
the students have been able to do is the one-on-one time with the university students. We are
making many friends and building upon relationships which began via email a few months ago. Please
continue to remember these opportunities as they are so important.
Click on the Photo Gallery link for some photos added from the tour.
Yesterday (Tuesday), we had another Basic Chinese class. The CCC students are doing well with the vowels and letter sounds. We learned a list of
words that may come in handy while we are here. It's still very difficult to learn Chinese, so we must continue studying! In the afternoon, we had a
class in Chinese martial arts. The students had a good time with it, and our ROTC representative really enjoyed it. In the evening, Dr. Smith conducted
his first seminar on teaching English as a foreign language. There was a good turn out with well over 100 in attendance. Some of the CCC students
assisted with the group work, and the Chinese participants seemed to enjoy the session.
Today (Wednesday), the group had an opportunity to sit in on a piano competition. Many talented Chinese students performed. Basic Chinese class also
met, so we are getting a little (very little) better each day. Five of the team went to a downtown hotel to give an English lesson to the staff. It
is a five-star hotel, with a very disciplined staff. There were about fifty Chinese and many of them knew very basic English. It was fun showing
them our scrapbooks and telling them about America. Tonight we have time set aside to participate in sports games with the Chinese university students.
Ni hao! Our adventures have taken us many places and we have experienced many things in a few short days.
We have had a few opportunities to teach English to some Chinese students, we have had our first lesson in Basic Chinese (it might be basic, but it's
not easy!), we had a lesson in paper cutting (let's just say, some had to re-do their projects), and we have taken a bumpy journey out to a minority
village where we had a truly unique experience in playing with and teaching English to a group of elementary children who were absolutely adorable.
This evening (Monday), we were able to participate in the English Corner on the lawn near our hotel. Groups of students sat in circles and talked.
Conversational English was the focus, and everyone seemed to have a great time just getting to know each other. Afterward, the groups headed off to
play some games.
Things are going well, and many opportunities are being realized. Please continue to think of the team as we make new friends and build relationships.
Ni hao! The China Team has arrived and all is well. The travel went very well; the flights were on time and we had no major problems. We spent two days
sightseeing in Beijing. We saw Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, a beautiful park overlooking the Forbidden City (what a view!), the Great Wall
(yes, most of us are sore!), and lots and lots of shopping. We ate at very Chinese restaurants like KFC, McDonald's, Kro's Nest Pizza, and Peter's Tex
Mex (the Chinese food will come soon enough!).
We traveled yesterday (Thursday) from Beijing to the University. We had a three-hour flight and then a five-hour bus ride through the mountains on
some winding roads, arriving after 10 p.m. We all slept really well after our travel day, and now we are having breakfast in the apartment where our
friends who are hosting us outfitted it with a refrigerator, milk in bags, fruit, bread, jam, peanut butter (yes, we have peanut butter!), and eggs.
Our team will be taking an orientation tour of the campus, a basketball game is scheduled for this afternoon (we're not sure yet what all that will entail),
and we will be visiting the new English Center our host is starting. It will be a great way for the team to ease into teaching English to foreigners (oops,
actually, we are the foreigners here!).
Thanks so much for thinking of us and remembering us to our Father. Please continue to do so. We are all very excited about what will be happening here
in the next two weeks.
Stay tuned for more details!!!
It's 8:45 p.m. our time (and 8:45 a.m. your time). The China Team and all luggage arrived safely. Our tour guide met us at the airport, took us for our
first meal, and let us do a little shopping. We have arrived at our hotel to settle in for the night. Everyone is doing fine.