Journey East Trip to China 2005


Created at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont, supported by the Asian Studies Outreach Program (ASOP) at the University of Vermont (UVM), and funded primarily through a grant from the Freeman Foundation,

Journey East, as a whole, consists of the Asian Studies Academy and Sino-American Performing Arts Exchange at Leland and Gray Union High School; the integration of an Asian Studies curriculum throughout the Windham Central Supervisory Union, and the introduction of Chinese language programs into the district.

Dr. Juefei Wang, Director of the Asian Studies Outreach Program University of Vermont, is a recipient of the prestigious Goldman Sachs Award for Excellence in International education, on behalf of the UVM, Asian Studies Outreach Program.

The Leland and Gray Journey East program is deeply indebted, and extends its heartfelt thanks, to Dr. Juefei Wang, without whose effort and support this program would not even be possible!

Thank you Juefei!

Leland & Gray
Journey East IV

Tom Connor
Program Director

Ann Landenberger
Artistic Director

Matt Martyn
Music Director



We have our first photos from China!

We heard from Tom (and Matt) last night and they said everyone was doing fine. This is great news! Tom said the kids were in total awe of the sights as they flew over Alaska toward Asia. Even Tom, after all these trips, still gets excited by these humbling views of the world.

Here are some samples of what they saw from the plane window:





Okay, enough with the views of the mountains, we want to see the kids!! So, without further ado, here are photos of the kids in the (not sure which) airport and on the plane.













Everybody looks great and it appears they are holding up well during these early stages of their looong trip. tiananmen

So the gang has spent their first night in China and will begin their “tour” in earnest now as they spend the day at Tiananmen Square (this is such a COOL SITE - give it time to load, it’s worth it!) and the Forbidden City (this link takes you to a really cool map tour). Enjoy!

Okay, so tonight (which it will be for them, if you are reading this Thursday morning -- I really have to work with this time thing*) they’ll visit the Beijing Opera.

The Opera experience has been a challenge for the students in years past. Primarily because by this time everyone is somewhat sleep deprived and running on fumes. And you can imagine what happens when you are really tired and you plop down in a theater seat, the lights dim, and . . . well, we’ll see how this group manages.

This is a tough part of the trip for parents. There has been a lot of buildup and emotion leading up to the departure of the Journey East group on Tuesday. And then this stretch of time between those heavy goodbyes and the first phone calls, E-m

I have said during this journey so far, that the time difference between here and China is twelve hours. They are actually thirteen hours ahead at the moment. With daylight savings time coming up this Sunday (this is a reminder to turn your clocks ahead this Sunday!), the JE gang will then be twelve hours ahead. I know, makes you wish you wish you would have paid more attention in class. Or reminds you of why you didn’t . . .

ails, and photos from China, seems to take forever. But I promise you that once the photos and reports start coming in on a regular basis, the journey will smooth out. In fact, it get going so strongly, you’ll actually be burning calories working so hard to keep up! Well, maybe not, but it will seem like! So, hang in there, we’re almost out of this rough patch.

And so, tomorrow (can anyone tell us when that really is?) the group has a full day and we’ll be reporting on those exciting excursions . . . I’m not telling you what those are, you’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out.

This just in: MORE PHOTOS!

The following are from the Wednesday evening dinner. The first real Chinese food for many of these kids!









Andrea Seaton shares these phone conversations (last night) from Katherine and Kate:

    Katherine Seaton and Kate Piniewski called their homes at 8:15 our time, Wednesday night (9:15 their time Thursday morning, just after they'd finished breakfast). Both of them were incredibly ebouillent and enthusiastic. Kate said, "Mom, I'm coming back to China!" (a good sign, for the first day of a trip!). Katherine said the plane ride went pretty quickly (!) and was lots of fun - they played cards, talked, read, watched movies and slept. Both girls loved the food at Wednesday night's "family style" dinner. Katherine said that everyone was exhausted last night, but this morning she didn't feel any jet lag at all (perhaps it will set in at the Opera!).

    The phone connections were incredibly clear - it sounded to us as if the girls were calling from next door! The six-minute phone cards that they purchased over there seem to work well, but those six minutes fly by! It's wonderful to hear the kids sounding so ecstatic and energetic after such a long journey.

Kate’s quote shows the impact the trip has had in the first day. And the journey has just begun! It’s like tasting ice cream for the first time -- you immediately fall in love with it. And then you find out there are many flavors available. Each day will be like another flavor of ice cream for these kids. Each one will become an instant favorite.

This just in: Here’s an update from Ann:

March 31: Day 1
(Ann Landenberger)

We're winding down from a very busy first day here in Beijing. With jetlag still clogging the collective brain a bit, we hit the road at 9:30 and visited the Temple of Heaven before lunch and Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in the afternoon. Carrie's writing our first student report about the experiences of the day and I'll post that soon. We've just ended the day with an evening at the "opera." Beijing Opera, that is. We saw excerpts from two different pieces, the second being one of the Monkey King operas which are very cool for their antics and acrobatics. (We're still so tired that many dozed off during the show: Tom's no doubt, going to bribe us with shots to document that. But I have shots to prove that I really did stay awake for 95% of the evening! ; )

The day was cool and overcast -- a perfect day for exploring. And the kids have been great: It's a wonderful group-as each has been, each with its own different character. They're all still blown away, it seems. Reality is slowly seeping in and they're acclimating beautifully. The food's getting rave reviews! (Not surprising.)

A note to you alums: You'd be amazed at how much Beijing has changed and grown since you were here. Get this: Silk Alley has disappeared! There's now a very spiffy, very large building in its place. Much of what's being done is to prepare the city for 2008. It's hard to imagine what this vast capital city of 12 million will feel like when all that company arrives.

Well it's getting late and the head's crashing to the keyboard, so it looks like I'll be sending Carrie's piece in the morning. Something to look forward to!

Best to all.

Ann refers to Carrie’s report. The students will each be assigned a particular day of the trip to be that day’s “group reporter.” We’ll hear from a different student each day (most days) as they describe their (and the group’s) impressions of the events of the day. It’s a great way to “see” the journey through their eyes, mind, and hearts.

So be warned . . . there will be a quiz at the end, so pay attention and do your homework! : )

It’s going to be another gorgeous day here in “the Valley,” with temps reaching the upper 50s!

Enjoy the day!


*Because of the twelve (okay, thirteen) hour time difference, pinpointing what is meant by “today, “tonight,” and “tomorrow” in China is really difficult to keep straight. When the daily page goes up each day, what events and dates the photos and reports refer to, and a variety of time references, all makes my head spin trying to figure it all out. So, feel free to interpret these time references any way you’d like.

[JE trip 2005] [Dress Rehearsal] [Itinerary] [Press release] [March 29]