Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chengdu Bound

The group referred to as “Chengdu 1” (Ben A, June C, Helen C, Wyatt C, Matt F, Rose G, Abbie G, Trevor G, Haley I, Aaron M, Jackie S, Bryce R, and Luke S) with Lauren Head and Holly Tornrose started the day by walking through the Yingtao Hutong, an old Beijing neighborhood near our hotel. Here we saw what daily life is like for many Chinese. We went to an open-air food market, which tempted us with the scents and sights of various fruits, vegetables, bakery items, and meats. It was a feast for the eyes!

We flew to Chengdu and arrived to an overwhelming warm reception of host families and school officials right at the airport. They greeted us with flowers, name signs, and big smiles. Before heading off to our respective homes for the next week, all the host families and students gathered for a group photo at the airport taken by the Foreign Language Experimental School Affiliated to Tanghu Middle School. We hope to make those photos available later.

Students spent the early part of the evening getting to know the host families and their children. It turns out that all of the host families are teaching faculty at the school. Students will be living in either faculty housing or in the immediate area of the school. After a brief get to know you at their homes, everyone gathered at a hotel banquet hall for a special buffet meal which gently introduced us to the spicy cuisine of the Szechwan Province. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the challenge of communicating with various degrees of success. Students returned home with their host families for the night. Tomorrow we look forward to our first day at school where we will be officially welcomed before touring the campus and city.

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