A Travellerspoint blog

Day 2 at Camp

sunny

Well, Day 2 of the camp is in the books and things went much more smoothly than the previous day - which we're all thankful for. Camp is supposed to start at 9:30 am, however, some parents are dropping off their kids at 8:30 am which means one less hour that we have to prep things, which has been challenging. (Communicating this issue to the parents has been rather difficult as well!) The weather here is continuing to pose its challenges as well. While today was the first day out of the last four that did not get above 100 degrees, the heat index was still over 100 and it hasn't gotten below 80 degrees, even at night, since we've gotten here.

The theme for today was Boston and Thanksgiving. Even though it didn't really fit with the theme, I had the privilege of teaching 34 Chinese children "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Although I taught the kids to say "Root, root, root for the home team," I couldn't help but sing "Root Root Root for the Brewers" when we sang it as a group. Hopefully I didn't mess them up too much!

At lunch, we were able to get the cooks to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for the kids, substituting chicken for turkey though. The kids seemed to really enjoy this. One of the boys, James, informed me that the food at the school is normally very good, but at the camp, it has been rather gross! Oh well.

Getting the younger kids to speak English, even in our language lessons, has been rather difficult. I'm working with moderately advanced 8 year olds, so I know they can read pretty well. However, when it comes to speaking, they act as if they have no clue what they're supposed to say! I'm not sure if they're intimidated by me or what the problem is.

We definately have our fair share of interesting students, or "villagers" as we're calling them. We've had several little girls decide to slap select male staff members on the butt which has been rather awkward! Jamie has been told that her butt is rather big (we think that the students were referring to a button on her back pocket) and was told yesterday that she has a very beautiful nose by a younger male student! We also have a few very difficult students, including one boy who seems to like to hit anyone and everyone, including staff. Again, the problem is communicating these issues to the parents who do not speak English. We've tried using one of our translaters to take care of this, however, we're not sure that he truly understands the problem.

We attempted to show the students a portion of Lilo and Stitch in English at the end of the day, however, using a Chinese DVD player has presented its fair share of problems, most notably, not being able to figure out what the remote control says! (I've figured out the power button, but that's it!) After our meeting as a staff, we were able to get out of here an hour earlier than the previous night, which was nice! With two days down and eight to go, we're all feeling pretty good about what's been accomplished so far. We're starting to show some signs of fatigue due to the long days and hot weather. We're looking forward to a great day tomorrow!

Posted by djwood 18:01 Archived in China Comments (1)

A Weekend Adventure... and now camp has begun!

I apologize for taking so long to update this. Now that camp has begun, my updates may be few and far between, but more on that later.

Saturday was a chaotic day as we scrambled to get all last minute preparations done. As a staff, we felt good about the work that we had accomplished, but were still a bit on edge with the first day of camp looming and a lot of unknowns were still out there (such as how many kids would be attending, their English abilities, etc.) It didn't help that we discovered that our office key was missing at the end of the day and we spent an extra hour searching high and low for that! Once we finally got to leave, I acted like a native of Shanghai and flagged down a taxi on my own and explained to the driver how to take us to our hotel. Between that and taking charge of ordering dinner that night, I finally felt a basic level of competency here if I had to survive on my own. (Okay, so I had the directions written in Chinese and the menu had the English translation of all of the dishes, but still, I'm gaining a bit of independence here!)

Sunday was a sight-seeing day in which we visited two cities. The first was Suzhou, a more "authentic" Chinese city than Shanghai, which reminds us a lot of New York City, except for the language barrier, of course. In Suzhou, we visited two "gardens" which are more like summer residences. The first had all sorts of sculptures and intricate architecture. There was also an extensive art collection for sale here, most of which had been painted on silk canvases rather than paper. The second was more of a traditional garden, with all sorts of water lillies, traditional Chinese trees, pavillions, and streams. Both were incredibly beautiful and my words cannot do them justice. The only two things which made these visits not so enjoyable were the heat (39 degrees Celsius, over 100 Fahrenheit, with 80-90 percent humidity) and the crowds. Because it was Sunday, there were people everywhere, which made things less tranquil and enjoyable.

Between our garden visits, we went for lunch the the Suzhou silk factory and then toured the factory. It's the largest silk factory in China, making mostly quilts and bedding (even in China, they're still rather pricy). It was facinating to see how silk products were made. We learned that one silk worm produces a strand of silk that is 1/7 the width of a human hair that is over 1 km long during it's brief lifetime (about 60 days).

Our second city was the "Venice of China", called Zhouzhuang, which when translated, means "Water town", which made me feel right at home :) (For those of you who don't know, Watertown is my hometown.) Zhouzhuang had many canals throughout the city and we all took gondola rides through the various canals and under the stone arch bridges. We even paid our gondoleer 10 RMB (about $1.50) to sing for us while we were on our ride. This was by far, our favorite stop of our trip, aside from the fact that our driver had fallen asleep and we couldn't get ahold of him when we wanted to leave. Therefore, we were stuck there for an addtional hour! After the two hour drive home, we pretty much went straight to bed, in anticipation of the first day of camp.

We got up rather early for our first day at camp, took the first available cab, and got to the school by 7:30am. The time seemed to fly by for the next two hours until the students got there. After getting them processed and baking in the heat (it was over 90 degrees by 9 am), we had an all group program and got to know the students. One student, Dan, immediately drew to me because he is an avid soccer fan (I tried converting him to Manchester United, but he's still a big Chelsea fan). Some of the students speak very good English while others seem to have never spoken a word in their lives. There must have been some miscommunication because we were clear that this camp was English immersion, yet several young students know very little English which is making commuication rather difficult. On the other hand, we have a few native English speakers and we feel like we aren't challenging them appropriately yet.

Each day, we are focusing on a specific region and holiday in the US. For Monday, we focused on New York City and New Years Day. We ended the day with a New Year's Eve party, complete with the ball dropping (a giant newspaper ball being lowered from the third floor balcony), toasts (we used water instead of fermented or carbonated substances), skits and a dance. The kids really seemed to get into YMCA and the Chicken Dance! Finally, we sent the kids home at 5:30 pm. By the time we discussed all of the kinks in our system, it was 8:30! We hurried home (again with me flagging down a cab, although I was disappointed to find out that this one spoke some English!), ate, and went to bed!

We are really hoping that every night at camp does not go this late so that we have some time to regroup each day! On a side note, I found out that the local soccer team (Shanghai Shenhua FC) plays a game on Saturday night, so we may have to go check that out. More later...

Posted by djwood 17:22 Archived in China Comments (0)

Independence Day - Chinese-style

Happy 4th of July to everyone! It's a weird feeling celebrating the 4th overseas where that day means absolutely nothing to everyone else here, but we celebrated nonetheless in very traditional American ways.

The Chinese massage place was in this rather "sketchy" looking block, but turned out to be a very nice place. An hour massage for $6 in US money is such a good deal! After that, we all slept very well for the first time on this trip.

The following morning, we hit our preparations pretty hard given that the kids are coming on Monday. I spent most of my day making copies for everyone else. Copy jobs that would have taken a minute on the machines that we have at PACT take ten minutes here, so that was frustrating, but I made do with what I had.

After work, we decided to go out and celebrate the 4th by doing explicitly American things. First, we went to downtown Shanghai in a van. I'm pretty sure that it was meant to seat 8 people, but we crammed 12 very hot, sweaty, and tired people into it. Then, of course, we hit rush hour trying to get there, so it took over an hour to get downtown. We've discovered that the lines on the roads for lanes mean absolutely nothing at this time of day! There were cars five or six across the road on a highway with two lanes drawn on it. (They were so close to each other that I could have reached out of our van and adjusted the mirror on the guy's car next to us, but I didn't!) Combine this with the fact that the van did not have a very good air conditioner, and it made for a pretty miserable trip.

When we got down town, we found a Papa John's and indulged in pizza to honor our American heritage. (No brats or hamburgers were to be found!) It was so nice to actually have a fork and knife to use instead of chopsticks! Then, we walked around this huge mall for about an hour. It was the mall's second anniversary and there were massive sales, so there were tons of people there. There is a growing middle class in China, especially in the large cities, so now malls are popping up all over the place.

After the mall, we went to Wal-Mart to purchase some supplies for the trip, except that this was unlike any Wal-Mart I've ever seen. First of all, it had three levels, like a department store, except that each level was about the size of a standard Wal-Mart in the states. The first was all fresh produce and foods (and smelled like bad fish)! The second was dry groceries and the third was everything else. We were hoping that we could get things like construction paper, hard candy, and so forth, but most of the things on our list were nowhere to be found, which has put a big hinderance on arts and crafts and decorating! (We have pictures that we'd love to show you when we get back.) In addition to this, the place was absolutely packed (think shopping the day after Thanksgiving-busy), which shocked us because it was 9:30 pm. Who goes shopping at Wal-Mart late on Friday nights??? Oh well. We got what we could and got out of there as quickly as possible and headed back for the hotel. In good traffic, we found out that the drive was only 20 minutes!

We were hoping for a good night's sleep, but were rudely awakened by the couple across the hall from us shouting loudly at odd hours of the morning out in the hallway. Suddenly, we'd hear the door slam shut (which I'm sure woke up the entire floor), and then silence, only to be followed by more shouting 15 minutes later! Hopefully we'll get everything set up for "immigration" (or orientation at a normal camp) quickly today and then be able to rest up for the big day on Monday when the kids come.

We're all pretty burnt out right now because we've been working rather long days (9 am until 9 or 10 pm each night, if not later). We've planned a sight-seeing excursion on Sunday, but my guess is that several of us will be too wiped out to enjoy it! We're really looking forward to working with the kids on Monday. Jamie and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Posted by djwood 19:43 Archived in China Comments (0)

Jamie almost caused an accident!!!

Today, it pretty much hit us that the camp is starting really soon and there is still a boatload of work to be done! The good news was that last night we both slept really well! We were awaken by a substantial thunderstorm this morning. Unfortunately, this led to rather humid conditions which I'll discuss later. Over a traditional Chinese breakfast, we discussed the plans for the morning, who was going to do what, etc. Due to low enrollment numbers, we found out that I (Dave) won't be doing any actual English instruction which frees me up to work on the music, drama, assistant dean duties, and any one of the numerous other hats that I'm wearing for this camp. It also gives Jamie more time to prepare for arts and crafts.

Unfortunately, as we met this morning, it dawned on several of us just how much work and preparation there is to get done for the camp. On top of that, things are constantly changing. For example, I just completed the daily schedule for the students when I found out that I needed to cut out one hour due to the times that the kids were being dropped off and picked up. Numerous things have been happening like that which has been incredibly frustrating! Oh well. I guess we just have to be flexible and keep going with the flow.

After that meeting, I walked to the school, about one mile from the hotel, for lunch and afternoon preparations. Jamie, along with half of the group, decided to take a cab. They turned out to be the smart ones! About five minutes into our walk, we were drenched in sweat due to the extremely high humidity following the morning thunderstorm! It probably would have been cooler sitting inside of a sauna! After about 25 minutes, we finally arrived at the school and spent the next 15 minutes trying to cool off next to a portable air conditioner. (I forgot to mention that most of the school where we are teaching is not air conditioned which really stinks!)

This afternoon, we've been prodding along. I've basically been doing whatever anyone else needs done from a logistical standpoint and been trained in on how to use the various pieces of technology at the school. The hard part is that all of the labels are in Chinese, so hopefully I'll remember how to use everything. (If not, then hopefully we really didn't need that piece of equipment.) Jamie has been working furiously trying to get examples of all of her crafts done. Everytime she completes something, all of the others are in awe of how creative the crafts are, which made her feel good about her work.

Late this afternoon, Jamie, Flex, and I went to go change some money into RMB (Chinese currency). They were so incredibly picky here! They would not take 3 - $20 bills because they did not like how they had been folded in the past! Anyway, we sent Jamie to stand outside of the bank so that she could flag down a few other guys from our group who had walked to the bank. Apparently, old Chinese men don't see white 20-something women very often because guy after guy kept turning his head to stare at her while biking by the bank. On several instances, they almost crashed their bikes into each other, the curb, or whatever else was in the way including oncoming traffic! She felt pretty bad about that, but I told her it just confirms how cute she is! After changing what money they would accept, we headed back to the school to finish some work.

Soon, we'll get out of here, I hope, for some much needed relaxation. Flex, our Chinese guide, found a place where we can all get 1 hour massages for 40 RMB (which is about $6), so we may all go check that out tonight! I'll let you know how that works out...

Posted by djwood 00:47 Archived in China Comments (0)

First days on the job...

I apologize for not updating this recently. We've had some technical difficulties lately, but now I'm up and running for good, I hope!

For the last two days, we've been getting down and dirty into the actual business of Hometown China. It began Tuesday morning with a tour of the school that we will be hosting the camp at. The school is a boarding school for 300 junior high students. While the building is old, the technology is fairly modern (aside from the “squatties” in the bathroom instead of normal toilets and urinals). They have a huge auditorium for large group instruction and plays, wonderful athletic facilities, and a very nice computer lab and classrooms. Unfortunately, they have a ton of mosquitoes as well. The fact that the weather is incredibly humid (like the Midwest), hasn't helped matters at all.

Tuesday was spent mostly taking inventory of what we have on hand and preparing for two IBM presentations to parents the following day. After a long day's work on these things (including two practice runs through our presentation), we headed back to the hotel for dinner. Jamie has decided that Chinese food (the stuff you actually get here) is nothing short of wonderful. (I personally enjoyed the Japanese food as well, but then again, I really like seafood.) We've started to become functionally proficient in using chopsticks to eat. My only problem is that about halfway through the meal, my hand is so tired from gripping the chopsticks that it's very difficult to pick up my food! Hopefully my grip strength improves over the course of the trip!

While here on Tuesday, we had several revelations. First of all, the air is very dense over here. Although the cities in China have a reputation for being very polluted, I think it's more due to the humidity than the pollution (which to be honest, isn't any worse than any other major US city from what I've seen). Secondly, the drivers are insane! On at least five occassions, the car that I was in has done a U-turn in the middle of the road with oncoming traffic coming! Red lights appear to be a suggestion, rather than a law. Pedestrians definately do not have the right of way either!

Wednesday, we went to two different IBM offices to put on productions for parents and children who are considering attending our camp. We explained what the camp was all about and the goals of the camp and then took the attendees through what a typical day at the camp would be like, using several skits, songs, etc. We then did our best to answer questions that they had, although, most of that discussion took place in Chinese so I don't have a clue what questions they were asking. (On a side note, I don't think I've picked up any Chinese since being here other than "hello", which only gets you so far!) The morning presentation went very well - the parents and kids were energetic and really excited about the program. Unfortunately, we outnumbered them (13 staff members, 8 in attendance), so we probalby didn't get too many new people to sign up from that one! After lunch back at the hotel, we went to a second IBM office. This time, there were about 40 people there to hear our presentation. Seeing the look on their faces when we did our skits was priceless! Most of them were in the younger elementary age, which made Jamie very excited, and we think many of them will sign up by the end of the week. At this point, about 30 students are signed up and we'd like to see that number closer to 50 by next Monday when the actual camp begins.

After that, we headed for downtown Shanghai to do a little sightseeing. We hit an open-air market which was, well, interesting. IMG_0296_1_.pjpegWe learned that you can bargain with the shop owners to get your goods at 30-50% of the actual listed price. (Basically, if you pay full price, you've been taken for a ride.) Secondly, most of the goods that these shops are selling (shirts, jewelry, dolls, etc.) are cheap knock-offs of the real thing. Jamie and 4-5 others were considering buying some dolls and jewelry from one vendor when our Chinese guide, Flex, told them that everything here was fake, which made for a very crabby shopowner! This was also our first experience seeing people cook on the street! The most interesting thing that I saw was a deep fried small animal of some sort (either a frog or rat - I couldn't really tell). I was not bold enough to try any of these adventurous foods, but may work up the courage to do so later on. For the Americans who were sick of local cuisine, there was a Starbucks, Dairy Queen, and McDonalds in this market as well. The whole market (taking up several square blocks) was incredibly crowded, but rather clean despite the fact that I didn't see a single trash can in the place! Many people have remarked to me how dirty China was when they came here. I haven't really found that to be true (aside from seeing a guy urinate on a wall just outside of the market), although, the part of Shanghai that we are staying in is pretty modern and we haven't seen too much outside of it yet.

After that, we walked to a place called the Bund. The best way to describe it is that it's similar to downtown Manhattan, but more of it. It's right on a river (I can't remember which one off hand) and at night, all of the buildings light up which is quite is amazing. I hope to put some pictures up of this shortly. IMG_0316_1_.pjpeg IMG_0315_1_.pjpeg

Once our adventure at the Bund was over, we headed back for the hotel and most people went to bed! Most of us still have not recovered from the flight and once we actually sleep through the entire night, it will still probably take a while to get caught up on sleep! (That's where I'm headed right now!) There will be many more stories, I'm sure. Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers! We'll keep you posted....

Posted by djwood 07:07 Archived in China Comments (0)

We're finally in Shanghai!!!

semi-overcast

Well, we finally Shanghai, although it was a full 24 hours later than anticipated!

Our story left off with us being stranded overnight in Narita, Japan, which is a large suburb of Tokyo (similar to what Bloomington is to Minneapolis). At first, our new flight was supposed to leave at 6:30 am. After getting up at 4 am and getting ready to catch our shuttle, we were told that the new time was now 10 am. Therefore, we enjoyed a wonderful Japanese breakfast, although, this time we avoided all raw sea creatures. Afterward, we found out that our flight was now pushed back until noon. This gave us about three hours to kill in Narita. Therefore, we took a shuttle to the train station, near the center of Narita, and began to explore.

We had discovered earlier that Japan is a very lush country. Everything is so green! We found this to be even more true as we navigated through some neighborhoods along very narrow streets, most only wide enough for one compact car to drive on at a time! As we dodged the oncoming traffic, we heard a loud noise in the distance and decided to follow it. This led us to a massive Buddhist temple complex, one of the largest in Japan. We spent the next hour or so exploring, taking in all of the beautiful architecture, landscaping, magnificant statues, and the amazing tiger drums played during one of their ceremonies. (Apparently, the ceremony was for people to get rid of their desires, but we had no clue what was going on. We just watched them, in their vibrant robes, play drums, chant, and burn sticks.) In an hour, we maybe covered a quarter of the entire compound. It would have been a blast to spend the whole day exploring there, but we had a plane to catch at 12 noon, or so we thought.

Upon our arrival back to the hotel, we found out that our flight had been pushed back an hour to 1 pm. Not wanting to wait around the hotel in Narita any longer, we took a shuttle to the airport and began to wait for our flight, along with approximately 300 other Shanghai-bound, yet stranded in Tokyo, passengers. Shortly after our arrival, we found out that our flight had been cancelled outright and that we were to be rebooked on a flight by ANA (a Chinese airline) at 2:15 pm. This made several passengers very upset because it took so long to get us this information. In fact, there was a large group of Chinese passengers who decided that they were going to hold up a sign that read "Protest NWA!". (This made all of the Americans laugh!) At 1:40 pm, they rushed all 300 of us to the ANA ticketing booth and tried to get as many of us on that flight as possible. 288 of them were able to get processed in time. Unfortunately, Jamie and I picked the slowest line and did not make that flight! The two of us, along with Justin, were now stuck at the airport until 6:55 pm until the next Northwest flight left. Through some shrewd negotiating on Justin's part, we were compensated rather handsomely and given a free upgrade to business class on the way to Shanghai.

After spending a few hours shopping at the Tokyo Airport and enjoying the Japanese Subway and Starbucks, we boarded the plane and quickly figured out why sitting in business class is absolutely amazing, which I don't have time or space to describe here! We departed Tokyo shortly after 7 pm, arriving in Shanghai at 9 pm local time and finally felt as if our challenges for getting to China were over. Unfortunately, there was one last hurdle to climb - getting our luggage. The others in our group found their luggage immediately. Mine, (Dave's) however, never showed up. Fatigued from a long day's journey, I staggered to the lost luggage counter and explained my situation to a Chinese worker who spoke broken English. Just as I was about to finish the paperwork (with steam coming out of my ears), Justin informed me that Bryce and Jonathan (two members of our group who were able to get on the earlier flight to Shanghai), picked up my luggage for me because they thought it would save us time. So while I was a bit frustrated with the overall situation, I was glad that my possessions were already at the hotel.

Finally, we took a taxi van into the Shanghai night, met up with Brian (the dean of Hometown China), and checked into our hotel. At that point, we did our best to get a good night's sleep, however, jet lag decided to kick in at that point, leaving Jamie and I restless for most of the night. In all, it turned out to be quite an exciting day, despite all of its frustrations. Now, we finally get to go to work! (Just one day later than we originally planned!)

Posted by djwood 06:44 Archived in China Comments (0)

We made it... sort of

At the beginning of the week, our trip to China was looking rather bleak. The good news is that on Saturday, we boarded our plane and left for Asia! The 12 hour flight to Tokyo was rather uneventful, which was good. (Got to watch The Bucket List, which is good, but a bit of a tear-jerker.) The bad news is that it's Monday morning, and we're still in Tokyo!

We arrived here about 5:30 pm local time and found out that our connecting flight to Shanghai had been connected. I really wanted to get mad at some Northwest employee, however, everybody was smiling and had an incredibly pleasant disposition, which makes it very difficult to get mad at them! Northwest put us in a local hotel for the night, gave us food vouchers, and told us to be ready to leave at 5 am the following morning. The six of us who were going to be on this connecting flight to Shanghai went to the hotel, enjoyed a sushi buffet (my first experience with sushi and I managed to keep it all down :), and headed off to bed.

At 4 am, Monday morning, Jamie and I woke up (I watched the European Championship Final in Japanese, none the less), got ready, and headed down to the lobby, only to find that our flight had been pushed back again to 10 am. After breakfast, we now found out that it was pushed back to 12 noon. I'm not really sure what is going on, and we're pretty much just stuck here at the hotel which seems just flat out wrong since this is our first time ever in Japan and I'd like to see more of it than my hotel room! IMG_0278_1_.pjpeg

Since today was supposed to be set aside for team building, at least we can get some "work" done while stuck in Tokyo (such as trying to find snakes in the nearby forest, since there was a sign warning "Be Aware of Snakes."

One of the interesting Japanese discoveries that we've made are the toilets! They have anywhere from 6 to 12 controls on them (some for heating the seat to the right temperature, etc.)! I had no idea that a toilet could be so incredibly complex!

Hopefully, we'll get to Shanghai sometime today. I'll keep you posted!!!

Posted by djwood 14:47 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

We have our visas!!!

For those of you who have been keeping track of our "pre-travel" adventures, we have good news... the Chinese Consulate has finally granted us our visas!!! (I guess the third time was the charm.) That means we will have them in our possession a full 48 hours before we leave. I suppose we really don't need them until we actually leave, so what's the worth in fretting over them, right? (It's a lot easier to say that knowing that we have them now!) I won't bore you (i.e. Rob) with any more entries until we actually land in Shanghai two days from now. Until then....

Posted by djwood 12:12 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Four Days and counting...

I feel like the last 24 hours have been quite the whirlwind. A lot of good things have happened since then and things seem to finally be falling into place. The visa applications are in Chicago and being processed. We were able to get our flight changed so that we can leave on Sunday, July 27th with the majority of the rest of our group. The good news is that it wasn't nearly as expensive as others in our group had to deal with and that IBM will be able to pick up the majority, if not all of the cost associated with that.

We're getting to the point that hikers and mountain climbers face where the summit is within sight, but they are entering the roughest terrain of their journey. I feel like everytime that we go to Target or elsewhere to pick up a few supplies, we get home and make a new list of supplies that we need that is three times longer than our previous list! Despite being in a rather large city (Shanghai has about 20 million people living in it), it's tough to know what we'll have access to, so we (actually Jamie) is trying to be prepared for every situation we might encounter. It's probably better to err on that side of things rather than not being prepared, which is more my nature.

Well, I suppose I'd better stop procrastinating and get back to my list of things to be done before we leave. We'll write more later...

Posted by djwood 10:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Five Days until Departure

Here we are, five days until we're supposed to leave for China. For those of you who don't know our background, we volunteered to take teaching positions with Concordia Language Village to teach at English immersion camps in China for children of IBM employees. We just have one minor problem at this point... no visas!!!

We were originally supposed to be in Shanghai and Guangzhou for a total of 36 days. Because we are going to be there this amount of time, we had to apply for business visas as "guest lecturers". Unfortunately, the Chinese Consulate informed us that we had to get tourist visas and the maximum amount of time that we could be there on a tourist visa is 30 days. As a result, we had to cancel the camp in Guangzhou, which means there are at least 60 very disappointed Chinese children who will not be going to summer camp this year as a result. More stressful for us was that we now all have to change our flights.

Today, Monday, was spent trying to get that done. Unfortunately, only 2/3 of our team were able to get that done and send our visa applications off. (Not only is this process time consuming, it's rather expensive as well.) The positive of not going to Guangzhou is that now we will get to spend some time in Beijing and Xi'an taking in some of the many historical sites that China has to offer.

We're incredibly excited about this opportunity before us. The only stressful part, for now, is actually getting there. We should get our visas expedited and in our hands by Friday. We're both the type of people who like to have things planned well in advance, so to not have this done yet is really weighing on us, yet we're rather optimistic things will all work out.

We have an amazing team that has a lot of wonderful strengths. We've already been working very closely with two team members (Jessica and Venisha) to write the curriculum and themes for the entire camp (centering on different American cities and holidays/celebrations).

We're not sure how much email access we'll have in China, but we hope to keep this updated with news about our happenings in China and, hopefully, many pictures as well. (Otherwise, we'll just find random pictures of Chinese kids playing and photoshop us into them!)

Keep checking back in the future for more updates!!!

Posted by djwood 17:35 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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