Where Are They?

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Detailed Itinerary


JE 2008

China time and date:


And Now It’s Time to Say Goodbye!

Greetings everyone,

Well, here we are, the final day in China! Hard to believe isn’t it? As you read this, the group will be getting their final night’s sleep before heading off to the airport tomorrow morning. What’s that? Yep, you heard me right -- T-O-M-O-R-R-O-W!

Remember that “time warp” trick I taught you a while back? And you laughed, saying that won’t work? Well, here you are. The end of the journey and it went by like “that” (sound of snapping fingers!). Works every time.

Speaking of time, we have a great time for you today! We have a ton (and I mean a ton!) of photos, reflections on the banquet and journey from Amanda Gelter and Melissa Soule, updates from Tom, and more Chinese web links spreading the news of our group’s adventure! Wow! (I know, I say it louder!).

Let’s get this day cookin’! We’ll start off with photos from the farewell banquet in Hohhot:

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Here’s Amanda as she reflects on the emotions of saying “goodbye” to her Hohhot friends:

“ I looked around me and saw so many tears. Tears of happiness, of sadness, of anger, and of pain. How could we be so attached to these people that we just met? How could they affect us so? So many questions like these were running through my head. But then suddenly, I had the answer. In 10, 20, or even 30 years, I may forget their faces. I may forget their names. I may forget the freckle on the tip of their nose. But there is one thing that I will never forget. I will never forget how they made me feel. I felt loved, welcomed, and, somehow, at home. I have had feelings towards these kids like none I have ever felt before and that is impossible to forget. So, although I may never see them again, I know that these kids and teachers have changed my life forever and that I will never be the same again.” -- Amanda Gelter

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you another exciting “Meg” dance routine with her Mongolian partner. (So You Think You Can Dance? YES THEY CAN!) Check it out:

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As we sit here in yet another hotel back in Shanghai, it seems as though the past month has faded away far too quickly, and it is only here at the end that we cling so desperately to the last remaining strands. In only a few days time we both made and renewed lasting and meaningful bonds with the students and teachers in Hohhot, and it was last night that those bonds were tested.

In truly noble form, the banquet presented to us as a fond farewell was nothing if not an accomplishment, catering to each and every need. It was graceful and formal without being stuffy, carefree and loving yet not overly casual. As we performed several pieces next to our good friends one last time and delighted in what they had to offer us in their own works, it was no difficult feat to be moved. My most striking impression of the evening was one piece, however, that I think has bonded the two delegations even further.

Some band students might remember playing as a surprise a composition by the composer Xing Changjiang earlier this fall. Well, to return the favor, this wonderful man put words in both English and Chinese to the melody we played, speaking about his love of our State and its people, and of how he will never forget his visit. In this act of devotion to the exchange and love of the opportunities and friendships it creates, I think we can really catch a glimpse of what this program means to us and can eventually begin  to comprehend what we have learned here. The sadness I feel at parting with these new friends is immense, and I cannot comprehend what those who hosted are enduring, but I feel as though the lessons and love we have given to each makes it all worthwhile.

P.S. "It is now time for disco dancing, the party has started!!!" - But that's another story ; )”

 – Melissa Soule

Like she said, the party has begun. let’s dance!

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And now for a few hours in the Beijing airport . . .

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One Chinese gentleman, a cellist, came up to Mike in the airport and wanted a lesson on the fiddle. Mike obliged and everyone enjoyed it.

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The plane finally took off and the group is now in Shanghai, where the journey began 30 days ago! Here are some shots of the city and the Pearl TV Tower.

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And here’s Tom with one of his unique signs:

    signThe sign about Shanghai being "infested with foreign adventurers" is one I really liked. Context is important, isn't it? This refers to an era when China faced "humiliation" at the hands of the greedy western powers and Shanghai figured prominently in the clash between China and the West. Of course, that has all changed. The sign was in a museum tracing the history of Shanghai. [Tom]

And if all the photos and commentary weren’t enough, here are more web links to our “celebrities!” (Thanks for finding these and sending them along, Xiaoyan!)

From Ordos Hotline:


From Inner Mongolia Radio Broadcast:

From Chinese Culture Promotion Net:



Here is Tom to bring us up to date on the current happenings. Tom . . .

    The Shanghai Museum is a beautiful, large, modern, building just full of artifacts such as ancient coins, Chinese painting, calligraphy, ceramics, etc. We then visited Yu Garden, a quiet, beautiful spot in the middle of the city and then into the mass of humanity and the maze of streets in the Yu shopping district. I thought that Silk Alley and the Hongqiao Pearl Market in Beijing were crazy until I walked into this area with the kids. We and they all escaped, eventually; a little poorer financially but richer for the experience. We have a birthday party for Melissa tonight and everyone is looking forward to it. See you soon. [Tom]

Okay, everybody. That’s it for today. The group is now sleeping and soon they will be on their way home.

We’ll wrap up everything tomorrow and count down the hours until its time to make that long-awaited, and much-anticipated trip to the airport to greet our kids and spouses.

Enjoy yet another beautiful day here in Southern Vermont!

Goodbye . . for now.

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