April 18




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?




One Week from Today!

group-4-17That’s right everyone, the Journey East 2007 gang will be home a week from today. T-Minus 7 days and counting. Time flies, eh? Yeah, right. For you parents, the last three weeks have seemed like three months! And now, we can just about see the end of this magnificent journey.

The kids, on the other hand, are battling the anxiety of coming home versus not wanting to leave their new “China/Inner Mongolia” home. The places the group has visited and the people they have met have made our group feel so much at home. This may sound corny (remember I have privileges!), but the group may be leaving China, but China will never leave the group.

Okay . . . so, let’s get started with the day’s activities, reports, and pictures. The group traveled to Baotou, south of Hohhot. See where they are.

Here’s Tom:

    A couple of shots of the Daqing Mountains on our way to Baotou, a very large industrial city south of Hohhot. The journey from Hohhot to Baotou takes about half the time that it did 4 years ago. Great highway cutting through farmland being tilled by farmers plodding behind donkeys. [Tom]


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    Our first stop was a private aviation academy, which was very interesting. It is a new operation, staffed almost entirely by pilots from around the world who are, for the most part, young and adventurous. group-flightThey are here on one-year contracts. We met pilots from Winnipeg, New Zealand, Kansas, Aruba, Minnesota, Germany and Spain. Their mission is to train Chinese college graduates to be pilots. It is a two year course certified by the Chinese counterpart of the FAA and the guidelines that they follow are FAA guidelines according to our Lebanese pilot/guide.

    {The} kids all wanted to fly. You can see that Ann feels pretty comfortable in the cockpit (Bottom row, left), as did all of the kids. [Tom]

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This is Your
Captain Speaking

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    Next we were off to Baotou Teacher's College, a modern campus, great performance venue. Over 1,000 students came to the performance, which was great. We then met with about 40 students in a large room and had "exchange with them." The students spoke remarkably good English. [Tom]

Before we check out the pics, let’s read what Amy has to say about the day’s events . . .

APRIL 17, 2007 -- Amy Van Loon, Freshman

A long and exhausting day. We left Hohhot for Baotou at an outrageous hour of the morning: I think it was 7:30. Not 45 minutes out of Hohhot, it looked like we were going through the desert: Everything was brown and dry. In the distance, we could see huge skyscrapers. They looked so out of place. There was no in between: Just skyscrapers and superhighways and bone-dry desert. Riding on a huge bus going 65 mph down a new, wide interstate, I felt removed from the outside. I was riding in a bubble going too fast to see everything flashing by the windows. If you aren’t in the right mindset, you miss so much. If you are too wrapped up in your own little Vermont high school bubble, you won’t see the other bubbles before they pop.

The drive lasted about three hours. Our first destination was a flight school. It is the first and only private flight training school in China. Flight instructors from many different countries work there: The students are [primarily] Chinese. It's apparently the best flight school around so it's attended by foreigners from many other countries, 55 I think our guide said. We had a group photo by one of the planes of which we all got to sit in the driver's seat. These were small, two-person planes, but still very cool.

We had a performance in the afternoon at a University in Baotou. Although we did have some technical difficulties, it went well overall. Having a full house [over 1000] of people interested in what you’re doing makes performing so much more exciting. Having the audience react to what you do on stage is a great feeling. We had a chance to meet some other students who performed for us. They did a very strange play that apparently was a tragedy, but between the funky mikes, the absence of costumes, and the fake blood and snow, we found ourselves laughing.

[We then went to a festive event planned by the University's English club. Chinese college students] told us about the Chinese Spring Festival. We saw dumpling making, paper cuts in zodiac signs, calligraphy and much more. Socializing after a long day was hard, but we all made some friends. It's great to be able to talk to people who are so interested in what we do.

We came back to the hotel for the usual Lazy Susan multiple dish dinner. Tomorrow we head to the Singing Sands [the Gobi]. [We took a field trip to a market where] we all stocked up on snacks for the trip before heading back to our rooms for, we hope, a good night's sleep.

-- Amy

Here’s Ann:

    We actually took our cue from Chinese peers in the audience. Since they laughed, we thought we could too. The play was a very famous one from the Yuan Dynasty. I’ll see if I can find a copy so we can read it in class in May. The acting was great, but given what Amy’s reported above, it really did have a bit of a lampoon quality about it. What was really interesting to me is that it’s the first time that I’ve seen the work of an educational drama group in China. What we saw was presented by the University’s Thespian Society. I was so impressed by the characterizations and technique -- also impressed that they were so into doing theatre. [Ann]

Pretty amazing day, I’d say. Amy mentioned going to a market to stock up on snacks. Here’s Tom to give us more about that:

    Big treat tonight. Took them all to a grocery store where they stocked up on goodies for tomorrow's trip to the desert. You would not believe how reasonably priced things were.

    Reminded me of the Chinese/Mongolian kids last year and in previous years hounding me to take them to a grocery store of the the dollar store in Brattleboro. " Tom, Tom, DOLLAR, DOLLAR. " I'm sure that hosts from the past few years can relate to this. They genuinely were like kids in a candy shop. [Tom]

Okay, so let’s take a gander at some more photos. Whaddya think? Ya with me? Well alright then, let's gander -- The slang sense of "take a long look" is first recorded 1887, from the notion of craning one's neck like a goose. www.dictionary.com):

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The Play’s the Thing

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Look at those smiles! Isn’t is amazing that these guys have been “on the road” now for 25 days!

When they get back, they are going to try to tell everyone about this amazing experience. We’ll have some idea of what they did, where they went, and who they met, by having watched them through this web site. However, no matter how hard they try, no one will know what it was really like. You simply had to be there. Journey East veterans smile and nod. They know.

It won’t be long before interviews for the Asian Studies/Journey East 2008 program take place. If you are interested, or have child who might be interested in becoming a part of next year’s program, be sure to go to L&G’s Journey East site for more info.

Before we leave, here’s a little side note before we leave for the day.

The Louis Vuitton Cup, (boat race) started yesterday, April 16, and will run to June 12. Eleven boats are competing for the opportunity to challenge Team Alinghi for the America’s Cup. For those of you asking yourself, “why is he bringing this up?,” Since you asked, I’ll tell you. This is the first time a Chinese boat has raced for the cup. The boat represents the Qingdao International Yacht Club. And . . . the 2008 Summer Olympics sailing event will take place in Qingdao, about an hour flight southeast of Beijing.

Cool, huh? Now all of you are good for having learned something new today.

See you all back here later . . .

[JE2007] [April 17] [April 18] [April 19]