March 31




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?




A Week Ago Today . . .

TN-groupA week ago, many of you said goodbye to your children and spouses as they headed off to the airport. See how fast a week goes? Yeah, right. Well, this has been a tough week to get through, but now things will smooth out some as we continue to watch and read about this magnificent journey.

This next week promises to be as action-packed as the first week. If the kids were timid to eat at mealtime when they first arrived in China, I’ll bet they are digging in without reservation now! These guys are doing stuff!

We’ve heard about hotpot and I am sure there will be other foods and meals mentioned as we roll along. You’ll see some photos of food available at street markets and vendors. We’ll talk more about the food later. Right now, we’ve got some photos to get this day off to a good start. But first, let’s hear what Tom has to say . . .

    The Three Gorges Museum was awesome and informative. The farmer's market, where some of these photos were taken was colorful and very alive, although a number of the creatures there were not. The visit to the schools was stimulating and very exciting for our kids and the hot pot tonight was an experience they will not forget. The folk art show/dance performance was amazing with great dance routines and dancers and beautiful choreography and costumers. [Tom]

And now let’s get to the photos of the kids and sights of Chongqing:




























Tom has a comment about one of the photos:

    tn-lifterThe guys with the bamboo and the green rope [large photo, right column, third from top; photo to the right] are "heavy lifters." They are people who have been displaced by the dam, don't have skills to work in offices, so they find work by lifting and transporting heavy things for people

The dam Tom is referring to is the Three Gorges Hydroelectric Dam. It is the largest dam in the world, more than five times the size of Hoover Dam. Nearly 2 million people will be displaced by the dam.

Okay, back to the photos above. If you look closely at the gentleman (left column, third from the top), is that a small leaf on his head?

And (in the photo below the gentleman) check out the shoes on the girl riding in the back of the produce truck. Pretty fancy. And finally, the photo at the bottom left, shows a girl getting a shoe shine. This may not be unusual in a large city, but those are running shoes she’s wearing!

Anyway . . . it’s always a joy to see the group shots. By the end of the journey, they will make quite a collection.

It’s Dylan’s turn to share his thoughts about the journey so far . . .

March 30, 2007 -- Dylan Blake, Sophomore

We started our day by heading to the Three Gorges Museum. It was a beautiful building complete with movie viewing rooms, glass/marble floors, marble columns, marble stairs and precious artifacts rescued from the flooding involved in construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Soon after, we set off for lunch in an amazing Chongqing restaurant. Afterwards, the group split into two sections (one of 10, the other of 29). The smaller went to a foreign language school. Before my group went to our school we walked through a farmers’ market. It was phenomenal: They were selling everything from carrots to eels and pigs feet. The way the grocery system is set up here is far different from ours where we go shopping for a three-week supply of food while here they shop for fresh food (not packaged) for that day’s meal. The difference between the two is staggering.

We then went to Chongqing Bashu Middle School which has a student population of 10,000 of only the BEST and the BRIGHTEST kids in a city of nine million people. The students were very eager to interact with us. Many of us exchanged e-mails and pictures with them. We exchanged performances, too, and found they were extremely talented. I found out from one of my new friends that school goes from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM. After that, we went to a classic “hot pot” restaurant. This was by far the best food we have had so far. Then we went to a fantastic Chinese play.* It was positively breathtaking. We arrived home at 10 and it was lights out at 10:45.

Seeing how the Chinese live their lives is eye-opening. The food, the landscape, the traffic—everything. The US could learn much from China in the way of food and the value of family and many other things.

We are a totally privileged society where we never have to worry about clean water or if we’ll eat tomorrow or tonight. We as a society need to stop taking things for granted and open our eyes to the rest of the world.


Dylan’s observations about Chinese life will become even more evident when they get to Inner Mongolia. They have been exposed to city life so far, Beijing and Chongqing. This journey makes the JE students appreciate what they have here in the United States. They will continue to be challenged emotionally (in many, many ways) every day of this trip.

Here’s what Ann has to say about the recent activities:

    Dylan brought me his entry at 11 last night—most have been waiting ‘til the next AM. It’s clear he wanted to get his thoughts and impressions out there. You all would be so proud of him and the others to see the way they’re soaking in, processing, reflecting and learning.

    By the way, the show was this amazing multimedia spectacle telling stories of the river through dance, lights, set, costumes, and a nice and welcome touch of classic mask technique – such as we saw in the film King of Masks. The whole thing had a Vegas kind of shine, but that made it even more intriguing. The Chinese are stretching every muscle to be hip, appealing and cosmopolitan, it seems. One note about the economy of the arts. The company must have been 50 strong on stage—dancers, leads, extras—with at least 20 in the crew. There were only a few more than that in the audience, though-- a Friday night in a house that seats 700. In the US that show would run $125/ticket in most cities, I’d guess. Our tickets were 100Y ( $12). Even with our outrageous ticket prices, a producer would go to the poor house playing to such a small house. Here, though, the show must go on. It makes me wonder what performers and crew are paid. Every person involved in such a show in the US belongs to a union. Of course, that’s not so here. [Ann]

I am sure the kids got a chance to do some shopping while in Chongqing and they will be using Chinese currency to do so. The yuan (y-wan) is the basic denomination and is equal to about 13 cents, or one dollar is equal to about 8 yuan. You can go here to check on the currency rate. To see and learn more about the Chinese currency, go here.

Okay, so that’s all we have for now. As you read this, the group is getting a good night’s sleep before spending their last day in Chongqing on Sunday.

This is Final Four Saturday (men’s NCAA basketball tournament). Tom and I are picking Georgetown to win. How about you?

Enjoy your day!

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