Deb’s and Finnie’s Life in Weihai – Entry 23e

Weihai and Beijing June 19-30.

Calligraphy — June 20 Shortly after arriving home from our trip to Xi’an and Guilin, Finnie was scheduled to attend the yearly 1-2-1 program conference in Beijing. Finnie decided that he wanted to give Mr. Hua, the retiring director of the 1-2-1 program, a special thank you for his years of passionate service for this program. On our trip to Xi’an we had purchased calligraphy tools, writing brushes and ink sticks, to practice our Chinese writing. Finnie asked Yvonne about this project to see if she could tutor him in making sure his greeting to Mr. Hua was appropriate. Yvonne came over to our house with special writing paper. Finnie decided what his wanted to say and with Yvonne’s help started writing the characters – top right downwards to bottom left. The first draft turned out quite well, but had some poor uniformity in character size and some characters were poorly written. The second draft turned out very well. After drying, the message was folded and carefully put into the special present that had been made for Mr. Hua. According to Yvonne, Mr. Hua was deeply touched by this gift because he was joyfully describing this gift to co-workers the day after receiving it. Later, some co-workers at the Beijing 1-2-1 office said that Mr. Hua had the calligraphy work hung in his Beijing 1-2-1 office and is very proud of this gift

sm Practicing sm Final Writing

Practice                                              Final Draft

Here is Finnie to report on this year’s CCIEE-AASCU 1-2-1 Program. June 21-23.

Beijing — 10th Annual meeting of CCIEE-AASCU 1-2-1 Program. June 21-23. This annual meeting also is the graduation ceremony for students who have completed bachelor’s degree from participating American and Chinese universities, and so it is very special for those of us who have worked with the students — and of course, for the students, themselves and their families. So, I was very excited to be able to attend such an important event, and it is also a wonderful opportunity to visit old friends from other American and Chinese universities!

Furthermore, one of the founders of the 1-2-1 Program, Mr. Hua, would celebrate his birthday and retire on June 30, so I was also anxious to congratulate him and thank him for his accomplishments and vision! With the help of Yvonne and Lulu, I had prepared a small gift for Mr. Hua: Deb has already described my effort — with Yvonne’s indispensible advice and guidance — to write a message of appreciation in Chinese calligraphy. In addition, we had determined, with the help of staff at CCIEE, Mr. Hua’s birth date. Lulu and Yvonne ordered a birthday memorial for me to give him: A copy of the People’s Daily published on his birth date and a list of historically important events that have occurred on his birthday — June 30, enclosed in a beautiful wood box. We added my attempt a calligraphy to the box and wrapped it.

Yvonne and I flew to Beijing on Monday, June 21, to attend the meetings. We arrived in time to register and then go to the silk and pearl market, where I needed to buy a few items for friends in America, before the formal meetings began that evening. When we return to the hotel, I saw Tian Li (Cindy), one my "granddaughters" from Lanzhou. I had not seen her (or most other attendees) in over a year because the previous year (June 2009), I was quarantined due to the fact that some kids on our flight to China had H1N1, and so I had to spend 7 days in isolation. Anyway, it was so good to see Cindy again! She, my other "granddaughter," Wang Fang (Amanda), and my "grandson," Lin Dong, were such wonderful hosts while I visited Gansu Agricultural University in 2008, that we began to see ourselves as family. Cindy and Amanda brought me a wonderfully beautiful paper cutting as a gift!

sm Cindy in the auditorium sm Amanda's and Cindy's gift

Later in the evening, I saw Mr. Hua at a dinner, and so I took my gift to him. Typically, Chinese gift recipients do not open a gift in front of the giver, and that was fine with me because I know that my effort at calligraphy was not very attractive; however, it certainly expressed my appreciation. The next day, however, Dean Xu heard from Mr. Hua, who seemed to appreciate the effort and wondered how I had been able to write the Chinese and how I had gotten the copy of the newspaper printed the day he was born! Thanks Yvonne!

sm Finnie with Mr and Mrs Hua

Mr. and Mrs. Hua

Tuesday, June 22, was when the graduation ceremony occurred. It was held at the Great Hall of the People (where the National People’s Congress meets) on Tian’anmen Square in the "small" venue — it consisted of an auditorium that would seat perhaps 600 and a formal dining hall that would accommodate that number easily. I was very interested in seeing the graduates from UNK, and I was hoping I would have the chance to give them my congratulations, as they were the first 1-2-1 graduates from UNK, and I had the honor of working with them there. As luck would have it, as our SDUW delegation came out of the elevator on the floor where the graduation ceremony would occur, we ran right into the UNK group taking photos! So, we had a great reunion and took lots of pictures together. I had the opportunity to visit with Zhang Gui-Jie, the coordinator of the 1-2-1 program at UNK, and wonderful friend, as well as Dallas Kenny, the new director of International education at UNK, and Vice Chancellor Charles Bicak of UNK.

Scenes in the Great Hall of the People

sm Finnie, VP Chen, and Dean Xu in Great Hall of the People sm Finnie and Yvonne in Great Hall of the People

Finnie, VP Chen, and Dean Xu                    Finnie and Yvonne       

sm Lobby for Small Audiotorum in Great Hall of the People sm Small auditorium of Great Hall of the People

Lobby of Small Auditorium                                Small Auditorium      

sm Banquet room adjacent to Small auditorium in Great Hall of the People sm UNK graduates in Great Hall of the People

Small Banquet Hall                                  UNK graduates

The graduation ceremony took a good deal of time because each student was awarded, on stage, the diplomas from the American university and the Chinese university from which they were being graduated. The order of the process was by the American universities, with the Vice Presidents from the respective Chinese universities coming and going as their students come on stage. After the ceremony, there was a big formal banquet that gave us the opportunity to visit American and Chinese friends as well as the graduates. At the ceremony, Yvonne, Gui-jie, and Cindy were recognized for their outstanding service to the 1-2-1 Program!

sm Yvonne with Her Award 2 sm Zhang Qi, Gui-Jie, and Finnie

Yvonne with her Award                   Zhang Qi, Gui-Jie, and Finnie

sm Cindy with her award

Cindy with Her Award

After breakfast and meetings in Wednesday, Yvonne and I had to go to the airport to return to Weihai. However, we had enough time to stop by the huge Beijing Bookstore. She wanted to buy some books on the pedagogy of teaching English as a second language, and I wanted to try to find a better electronic Chinese-English dictionary. We were both successful! I found a terrific e-dictionary for Chinese – Japanese, Japanese – English, and Chinese – English with all the functions I was looking for. So, I bought one for me and one for Deb. We continued on and finally got back to Weihai in the evening.

June 23 was also Commencement day at SDUW, and Deb attended to get photos of as many of our graduating friends as possible, and the following day, Thursday, was the day that our Chinese teacher, Sue was leaving to return to visit her home before going to Jinan to work in the summer and the return to Weihai to begin post-graduate study in the fall. So, we had invited her to join us for dinner that evening before she caught the overnight train. She selected the noodle shop, which we all love. We had a bitter-sweet dinner because we won’t see Sue again until next March.

sm Sue at Farewell dinner in Weihai sm Sue with her Provincial Outstanding Senior Paper Award

Here is Deb again to report about last class presentations and SDUW’s commencement activities.

June 8-9: Last class presentations: The students in the two classes I teach had spent the semester preparing business plans for a business project that they had envisioned. The course was designed to carefully and methodically progress through each step of the business planning process – envisioning a business idea, conducting a feasibility study of the most promising ideas, writing a business plan of the most feasible idea and presenting that idea to the rest of the class. I was amazed at the presentations! The students did a fabulous job of not only envisioning very creative business ideas, but developing a business to capitalize on their ideas. We took class pictures at the end of the presentations and here are a couple of those pictures. What a wonderful group of students. Thank you to everyone in the classes for allowing me to be a part of your educational process!

sm Deb's Spring Wednesday Class sm Deb's Thursday Class

Deb and her Wednesday Class              Deb and her Thursday Class 

Commencement: While Finnie was in Beijing at the 1-2-1 meeting, I stayed in Weihai to finish grading papers, start packing, and attend the commencement ceremony. The ceremony was to start at 8 am, so I arrived at the plaza in front of the library at 8 and watched as the students gathered for the speeches, each bringing their own chair or stool to sit on. It was quite warm in the sun. the stage was set with flowers, desks and chairs for the president and vice presidents, and the podium was set for the speechmaking. Sue and Isaac spotted me just before the speeches started and I took several pictures of them. Sue’s special award was very significant. She was awarded the top grade for any student in the province submitting a senior thesis for graduation! It is an enormous honor and we are so very proud of her!

SDUW Graduation Day SDUW Graduation Day - Award Stage

sm SDUW graduation ceremony sm Future graduate not yet ready for prime time

                                                  Future Grad – not yet ready for prime time!

The speeches lasted about an hour, after which I went to Finnie’s office and waited for the School of Translation and Interpretation’s graduation ceremony to begin. Sue called me and she and Isaac met me and took me to the room where the ceremony was to happen. Actually there was no ceremony – just a very quick photo-op with the dean of the school. Each student quickly dressed in cap and gown and posed with the dean for a picture and then scurried off the stage, relinquishing his/her cap and gown to the next person. It went so quickly that I unfortunately did not get pictures of anyone.

 sm Isaac and Sue at graduation sm Yvonne Masters Graduation

Isaac and Sue – B.A. degrees                      Yvonne – M.A. degree      

This whole process was so different from the commencement ceremonies I have attended before. I understand that the whole process is several days long with the students partying and visiting with each other because for many of them they will not be returning to Weihai and will probably not see each other again.

To be continued in Entry 23f

This entry was posted in Life in Weihai Diary -- June 2 to July 1, 2010. Bookmark the permalink.

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