Nanjing

On Tuesday the 12th, I went to visit Nanjing. Nanjing is a very famous and historical city. Nanjing was the old, south capital of China, and Nanjing is the current capital of Jiangsu. This is the providence where I live. Sadly, when I went to visit Nanjing, it was raining pretty hard. This made the trip a bit difficult, and the pictures are not the best. Even though the weather was not the best, Nanjing appears to be a great city. Nanjing is very large (almost 12 million people), but there is a great deal of green space. The subway was very easy to operate and connected directly with the rail station.

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The forests in Nanjing are very lush, and the trees form a great canopy. I imagine in better weather, the forest would be beautiful.

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Outside of a mausoleum to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen.

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Sorry Henry, you cannot come and visit.

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Pictures at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s mausoleum. Again I think the view is probably great in nicer weather.

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Each of the 10 columns represent one of the 10 Chinese dynasties. The top of each column has a different figure.

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The final five pictures are from one of the Ming Tombs. I visited some other Ming Tombs in Beijing back in October.

Run for Hope

Today was the race day for Run for Hope. The students and staff involved in the race did a fantastic job with the race. Nothing is ever perfect, but we raised a lot of money for an orphanage in southern China. The money raised will go to helping with a variety of daily life necessities. In July, two staff members are taking eight students to visit the orphanage. I cannot wait to hear the stories of their trip.

As for the actual race, I did win the 10k race portion. It was a good day to run because the weather was a nice temperature and cloudy. I thought the weather was ideal for a race. 

The competition part of this event was not important. The students are really understanding the concept of charity, people in the Kunshan community are beginning to understand charity. Children who desperately need help are going to get some much needed aid thanks to the efforts of Run for Hope.

Next June all are invited to make the trip to China for a very fun event 🙂

Beginning of a Busy Week

June 2nd is the Run for Hope event that our school sponsors. The goal of the run is to raise money for an orphanage near Chengdu, China. Chengdu is in Sichuan province in south central China. I would encourage anyone who reads my blog to visit http://www.KunshanRun4Hope.com which is the website for the run. On the website is the history of the run and more specific information about the race.

Today, our students put on a presentation at a local mall in order to raise awareness of the run. For two hours this afternoon our students performed songs and dances on a stage at the mall. I was very proud of every student who contributed to the event. I thought the event went well, and I saw a couple of people from the town sign up for the race.

Charity is not a well known concept in China. Simply having a charity run is meaningless to many people in the local community and China as a whole. It takes a great deal of teaching about charity and the rationalization for helping others.

Studying Chinese in Public

First off, Happy Mother’s Day to my mother, and to every mom out there. Interesting little Mother’s Day note from China, apparently Chinese tradition dictates that people do not make a big deal out of special days. For example, Mother’s Day or a birthday does not mean extra special attention is given to anyone. Small gestures are fine, but to “celebrate” an individual does not really happen here. I thought that was worth passing along.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. As a result, I had my Chinese lesson in Ting Ling Park (see previous blog post for pictures). My Chinese teacher and I climbed the “mountain” at Ting Ling Park before starting class. She had never climbed at Ting Ling so it made sense to start with the climbing and then do class.

When we began the lesson, local people kept coming over to stare or shout at me while I spoke Chinese. People would literally walk over to us and then begin to shout. They were not really angry or upset, but it almost seemed as though they felt compelled to participate in the lesson in some capacity. Some people simply walked up next to me and then stared at me for a minute or so before moving on with their day. Two people reached out and took the book I was reading to look at the cover as I was attempting to read. Yes, I felt self-conscious and it was sort of disruptive.

I assumed that local people would be curious about what I was doing studying Chinese while in public, so I was not surprised people stared during the lesson. I was surprised at how disruptive people were, but I suppose I should not be surprised by this. It did not appear as though anyone was purposefully trying to be problematic or confrontational. People were just very intrigued by my Chinese lesson.

CBC.

HangZhou

I made a trip to visit HangZhou with two coworkers. HangZhou is a 90 minute trip south by high speed rail from Kunshan. HangZhou is a beautiful city of 9 million people (at least). The trip was spent walking around Xihu (west lake). This is a large lake with low mountains surrounding the lake. The vegetation around the lake was wonderful, and for the most part, the area around the lake was clean.

The two low points of the trip were the aquarium and restaurant service. The aquarium was dirty and the animals were treated very poorly. I left feeling very disappoint I spent money for a business that was mistreating animals. Both sit down restaurant my coworkers and I visited were rude even by the most liberal standards of conduct.

Even with some bumps, the trip was very nice. I am thrilled I was able to go and visit another city in China. I understand why I had heard so many people rave about visiting HangZhou. Below are the pictures from the trip.

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Spring Formal

Friday, April 19th was the school’s Spring Formal. It was a very nice, fun event. The dinner and dance were held at the Fairmont Hotel near Yang Cheng Lake in west Kunshan. The students and staff were very well attired, and I think fun was had by all.

Unlike at the high schools in the U.S. all of our students in our middle school and high school attend the event. It is more accurate to say that all of the students in the middle school and high school have the ability to attend the event. The dynamic between the ages does not cause the problems or stratified feel one might think based on experiences in the U.S. The students at my school do not seem to be aware or divided by chronological grade level.

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The invitations that were sent out to Spring Formal.

 

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The outside of the Fairmont Hotel.

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From left to right: Orin, my friend, me, and my boss, Eric

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From left to right: Leonor, Spanish teacher, me, Irene, Chinese teacher/translator, Cao, Chinese teacher.

Ting Ling Park

To celebrate, and make the most of the beautiful weather, some co-workers and I went to visit Ting Ling Park in north central Kunshan. Ting Ling Park is one of the must visit places in Kunshan, and I did not make it there during the fall. I wanted to make sure I visited during the spring. The park is very large and elaborate.

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