April 15




A Beautiful Journey
(JE Performance Program)

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 2007

Tom Connor
Program Director

Ann Landenberger
Artistic Director

Matt Martyn
Music Director


Come see these magnificent performers on Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 pm. They will perform at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont.

Click here to find out more about this amazing and fun evening!


Where Are They?




T-Minus 10 & Lots of Photos!

Today we celebrate 10 days to go before the return of our Journey East group. That’s right folk, ten days left of this magnificent journey, and there are still a lot of things left to do and see.

In contrast to yesterday’s “no photos” day, we have a load for you today. We visit host families, visit a school, and collaborative sessions.

Let’s get started with an introduction to the following photos by Tom:

    There are many photos of our kids collaborating with our hosts on the American and Mongolian songs. Matt, Devan and I visited Prof. Sun Xiaoyan's English class, which was lots of fun There are shots of that class and of individuals within that class, all of whom were Mongolian. They asked questions covering quite a range of topics from the U.S. in Iraq to Christmas celebrations and beyond. These students were mostly dancers and singers so we may see some of them in Vermont at some point. [Tom]

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collab group

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Playing Together

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Every day, not only are these kids are challenged with meeting and talking with strangers, these “strangers” (who become instant friends!) are also from another country speaking another language. While the students are learning how to communicate through the use of facial and hand expressions, enunciation, and careful selection of words, they are also learning how to communicate through their music and performing. These bonds are forever.

    There are also a number of shots of students and teachers returning from visits to host families. I'm sure that a good time was had by all as there were 16 different host families for the occasion. I expect that there will be 35 exciting tales for the visits by our group. [Tom]






A Toast to the Hosts










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And now, we’ll hear from Tyler as he shares one the “35 exciting tales” . . .

April 14, 2007, Tyler Rebello, Senior

Somewhere between arriving in a foreign home, eating an entire banana tree, playing rousing card games with a Hohhot family --which I will never forget --and watching the notorious and embarrassing Wayan brothers’ film, White Chicks, it hit me: I can’t get enough of this place. The culture, the food, the environment, the people—everything about China appeals to me. I came back because I love it here. [Tyler had come with the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union program in 2005.] I came back once and I plan on doing it again and again and again until I can no more. I can’t do the experience justice in words. We came here to indulge in the culture around us; we came here to see and explore beyond the safe walls of “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” (I laugh a little as I write that.) And it’s been a phenomenal exploration.

Today was what everyone in Journey East has been waiting for: Our version of the home stay. The morning was the traditional collaboration. I believe all have been enjoying themselves greatly here, but, in my opinion, what was to come in the afternoon was simply the cream of the crop. At three o’clock we returned to the arts college campus to meet our hosts. We were each paired with another JE student and, as we left the bus, we walked into a crowd of exuberant and smiling faces. Claire and I were partnered and I can tell you, we will never forget this beautiful, wonderful day.

Bayin was the man who picked us up at the school and taxied us to his apartment. We arrived and were greeted by two women who turned out to be his wife and sister, Amyee, who spoke great English. Bayin spoke minimal English but he was incredibly kindhearted and welcoming. We were ushered into a living room and kindly given random assortments of food and drink such as chocolates shaped as rocks, strawberries, dried fruit and about 50 billion bananas which we thoroughly devoured. After eating a large amount of delicious treats, we were escorted to BayIn’s office/bedroom. There we were encouraged to indulge in the extremely horrible and awkward American film, White Chicks. Happily we quickly found a deck of cards: We played numerous games including two which the family taught us. I cannot stress enough how much fun we had. The games lasted a solid two hours. It was enthralling. Everyone bonded well and I will happily take the games I learned back to America where I will spread my newfound knowledge of incredibly confusing Chinese card games. We left the apartment and took another taxi to dinner. The meal was stir-fry. I believe I ate more than ever before. It was delicious, but filling beyond belief. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, said our goodbyes and parted ways. The experience was amazing. I will never forget this very warm Chinese family. Going to our home visits, no one had any clue what to expect, but in the long run, we all came out smiling.

China is unlike anything we have ever experienced, but it’s not a different world—it’s our world. We need to get out, to test our boundaries. There is so much more to see beyond the US: We just have to remember that we are equal with global peers. We have to take ourselves off that Americanized pedestal and learn the world.

-- Tyler

Spending time with the families in their homes is invaluable to learning about life in China/Inner Mongolia. Tom tell us of his stay with Tian Hua and her family:

    I had the good fortune to be with Jenny Newton and Chauncey as we visited the home of Tian Hua, an old friend and an English teacher in the tn_Host Family photos 032college. Tian Hua's husband is a very talented guitarist and singer and her son plays the piano very well. He sang a number of songs for us including some Mongolian tunes (in Chinese) plus some old standbys like '"Take Me Home, Country Roads" and tunes from The Sound of Music. What a great scene. Jenny and Chauncey sang, played the guitar and flute and the night went on. Tian Hua, her husband and I reflected on how all of this would have been impossible just a short time ago and how our experience and historical perspective provides us with such a different view of the evening's activities than that of the students who weren't even born until the 90's.

    It still amazes me to realize and reflect on the fact that Jenny, Chauncey, Tian Hua, her husband and son all shared a great evening of food and song together but that our experiences of the same series of events is so different because of what we each bring to it as individuals. [Tom]

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An Evening
at Home

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    One last note, [I believe] we may have had the most unique ride home; in a police car with the lights going and siren sounding. First time for everything! [Tom]


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Who better to have a police escort home, than Tom!

That’s it for now, everyone. We have more photos and stories coming in later, so tomorrow should be another action-packed day.

tn_VT-4-15-07And for those of you not in southern Vermont right now, here is what you are missing . . .

See you all right back here tomorrow, same hat time, same hat channel . . . (it’ll make sense to you tomorrow!)






[JE2007] [April 14] [April 15] [April 16]