Thursday, March 3, 2011

Home again!

Well I made it home from Beijing China, with lots of luggage and a very tired body! 
I am still somewhat on Beijing time but am working to get on to Iowa time. It really seems like a dream right now - all that we saw and did during our 8 days in Beijing. From losing and finding my passport to climbing the Great Wall of China to visiting the Forbidden Palace to taking a rickshaw in the windy narrow roads of a hutong. The snow (made by the Chinese Government or The People as it is called in China), the people we met, the sites we saw right now still a blur, but as I process the experience - more and more small details stand out. We could not have had better tour guides or bus drivers! Vincent from the China Guide will be a great memory for all of us! Not only was he knowledgeable about Beijing, he shared his life with us. How different a place to grow up from the United States. I was constantly amazed at the grace and politeness from people of all ages. We did feel like movie stars as people would ask us to pose for pictures with them.

Day 9 in Beijing & US


Day 8 in Beijing

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011
Last day of the conference, everyone is very busy getting ready for the final presentations. The 6 student groups are busy working on their videos and the adults are finishing up and having their projects juried so that we can find the three best.  The rest of the people are working on elevator speeches and some parts of the final presentations. 
The final presentations went great and the ending ceremonies ended on time! We had a great time and now for a final day of touring.

Vincent, Mr. Lei and Mr. Wong picked us up at the Hotel at 1pm today and took us first to the Pearl Market. Leigh had a great time bargaining for many different things including the hat on my beautiful model!

By the time the bargaining for this hat had finished we were all laughing so hard! At one point Leigh went higher and the salesgirl then went even lower! It was just too much!
After the shopping we went and got in some rickshaws for a tour of a very old hutong. The hutongs in Beijing are the original neighborhoods. Some are over 800 years old.  We saw the Bell Tower Zhōnglóu (钟楼) and the Drum Tower Gǔlóu (鼓楼) These were used to tell time for all.  One story is that the Bell was rung at 7 pm to signal the time to close the gate. And the Drum was used to signal the time to wake up at 5 am. They were both originally built in 1272 and have been rebuilt twice since due to fires. They are made of wood and stone.  The bell in the Bell Tower is over 500 years old and made of Copper. It is said that it can be heard for 12.4 miles. There is still one of the original drums left to see by tourist. The other drums are newer.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 7 in Beijing, China

Today it snowed! Lots of white stuff we call snow, but slightly different than what we get in Iowa. Round very small pebbles of snow - made by the government? This is what is being said, I'll have to do some research into this possibility.
2nd day of the Flat Classroom Conference. We started the morning with the leaders presenting their ideas to the students and the students giving back constructive criticism.
Then the students went back to their work areas to finish up their storyboards and presentations. I again worked with groups 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15. It was very interesting to see the student bring their ideas to concrete explanations.
At noon each student group presented their ideas to the leaders and 9 other student groups.  Then another excellent lunch at BISS.  After lunch there was a conference photo in the snow! The winning student groups were announced: #1,  5,  9. 13,  15 & 19.
Those groups went with Frank and Bernajean to work on their movies and the other groups broke into two large teams to work on differnt projects.  one projects was to design the closing ceremonies of the Conference the other group went to work with Kim on Digital Kung Fu.

Day 6 in Beijing, China

The first day of Flat Classroom Conference.

Day 5 in Beijing, China

24th February 2011  Thursday
Yes, I did make it up the mountain to the Great Wall. I climbed (& crawled) up the Great Wall and sat on it! Those last steps were as high as my knees, so I felt like a baby on them. But I did it! By myself, I walked up to the closed cable car (just like Bill Clinton) and rode that up to the platform then up the graded trail to the steps on the right! For someone who is very afraid of heights this was a great achievement! Then I had to go back down those steps, so I did but backwards! My new friend Wati Wardani from Indonesia took this picture of me at the Great Wall.
On the way down I closed my eyes in the cable car and took a video of the trip down!

Day 4 in Beijing, China

 We visited the Western Academy of Beijing today. A wonderful refreshing school. See more about the school at:  Western Academy of Beijing