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Detailed Itinerary



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tn_Children's Palace , Guild Hall and Downtown 140
JE 2008

China time and date:


See How They’ve Changed
(sung to the tune of Lady Madonna)

Happy Sunday everybody!

group 4-6

Cloudy, but pleasant day today, both here in southern Vermont and Qufu, China. They should be about 10 degrees warmer, though.

We start the day with a group photo (I love the group photos!). I always find it interesting to watch the changes of each of the kids throughout the journey. Look back at the earlier group photos and compare them to each that comes along. Look closely and you’ll see the kids changing before your eyes -- they gain more confidence, self-assuredness, growth, maturity, experience. These are not the same kids you said goodbye to two weeks ago!

Wait a second, did you say “two weeks ago?” Wow, time really is flying . . .

We have a load of pictures for you today, another student report from Shelby DavisLane, and a song sound bite. Cool, eh? Yeah!

Well, the group had their opening banquet and a huge rehearsal. They’ll be performing with the Attached Middle School later. Let’s catch up with Tom before we get started . . .

    Well, as always, [Qufu] is a good place to be; relaxing, comfortable. Many of the students slept in this morning as this is really the first day since the Sunday before we left for China that they have had any kind of a break. When Mike, Kurt, Vera and I were on the way back to the hotel at about 9 the students were starting out to explore the campus. Some were running, Michaela and Audrey broke out the softball gloves and a ball to practice and others were just cruising around.

    Mike, Lauren, Hu Jia, Xing Chunlei and I went on a search for an acoustic guitar. The one we brought had been broken on a previous trip and was basically glued together. It became unglued with all of the running around and the gentle handling by baggage handlers in too many airports. We found a shop near the university that had one guitar, which Mike and Lauren played and to which Mike stamped with his imprimatur. [The guitar] no great shakes but should do the trick. [Tom]

As we have mentioned before, Qufu is a comforting setting, especially compared to the constant travel the group has been on since day one. The week in Qufu is basically broken into three parts. Part One: Opening banquet, free time, rehearsals, classes, and opening performance. Part Two: Visit the Confucius temple, forest, mansion, Ni Hill, etc. Tour the area. Part Three: Joint performance, lectures, farewell banquet, closing performance.

Let’s take a look at some photos and then we’ll hear from Shelby.

tn_Director Li Haiqing, Miike and Meg

tn_Main drag on campus

tn_New performance venue

tn_Old performance venue

Above left is Director Li Haiqing, Mike and Meg. To the right is the main street on the campus, the next is the new performance hall (where the group will be performing), and the top right is the old performance venue (what a difference, eh?). Here’s Tom to explain a little more about the new performance hall:

    The yellow building [top right] is the old student center where we have performed many times in the past. The large gray building [top, second from right] is the new student center, a veritable Carnegie Hall. Slight exaggeration.

    [The new student center] is magnificent. Great stage, seating, sound and lights. We The students and teacher who oversee the new center and the lighting and sound people [are always so very] helpful. [Tom]

Okay, so let’s get on with photos of the opening banquet and performance rehearsal.

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Welcome to Qufu.

Now It’s Time to Rehearse

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tn_Our Music Teacher

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tn_Qufu first rehearsal and opeining banquet 025It is important to remind everyone here that these kids are not tourists, but students touring China. They continue to have classes each day, studying as if they were back here at Leland & Gray High School. One major difference, of course, is that they are actually living and studying in the environment of which they study. And so, to keep things in perspective, these students are studying, learning, traveling, performing, engaging the Chinese people and culture, and being challenged continuously to adapt to a strange new world -- twenty-fours a day! From the looks and sounds of things, they appear to be doing this quite well!

The group visits the Affiliated (attached) Middle School of Qufu Teachers University in Qufu. They had their rehearsal and are now in preparation for their first (big) performance in the evening. here is a sound bite of the group singing the Kanding Love Song.

Qufu offers the students an opportunity a safe and friendly environment to get out and about to see the area and a chance to interact with Chinese students. The group will also get a chance to do some fun shopping during their stay here.

Before we get to some fascinating photos of the streets of Qufu, let’s hear from Shelby:

Shelby DavisLane, Qufu, China 4/5/08

Starting our day out with the thought in mind that we were allowed to sleep in for once!! Some of us took well advantage of that while, Sarah Seaton, Taylor, Landis and I prepared to place soccer! Walking around on the new college grounds, we searched for the soccer field, surprised that the looks we got were minimal and no one rushed up to us for a picture. Once we found the deserted dirt field with rocks blended in with it (They obviously did not find the field, although they did find a field. TC) we listened and played with our surroundings. To the left, a man grunts at every heave as he throws a stone into the air. A cloud of dust rises from the ground as I kick the ball into the goal.. (This time surprisingly not blocked by Taylor’s sick goalie skills. (Ow)

After getting cleaned up and washing off the dirt caked on our bodies, we headed for lunch. Finding that the food was not nearly as spicy as Chengdu or Chongqing, we all dug in, leaving with full, satisfied stomachs.

It was now time for rehearsal. Showing only 5 or our 10 pieces in the first two performances, we prepared for tomorrow night, our first real show. We sorted out stage settings and found where center stage was. By the time rehearsal was finished, we had all been told to smile more. (One of the many tips we need to learn before tomorrow night. We’ll see how that goes.

Leaving the stage and heading back to our rooms, it was time to get dressed up! Girls rushing in and out of rooms borrowing make-up and clothes. We were all at one big mirror while the guys threw on a tie (some even showered) and we headed for the Welcome Banquet. We were surprised not to see more people as there was only one table more than usual. Listening to the speeches was interesting; all so precise and in order. First Director Li spoke, followed by Tom. I find it interesting to hear how they pronounce one another’s names; such as for Tom. It is always announced in the same way: “Mr. Toooom Connor.” Ha!

Once dinner was over, we had time to walk around campus. Some walked to the grocery store for chips or candy while others practiced and prepared for auditions, which would take place later. Eight forty-five came and it was time to lay it on the floor. Support was in the air and almost everyone came to the auditions, starting with the music outside to dance, inside. Landis and I made up a dance while Graham beat boxed. Every day we get closer as a group and start to work together more. Yes, we will get sick of one another and yes, there will be drama but when it comes to showtime, we are like BAM!!! PB & J

Shelby brings up a great point -- Throughout the trip, the group will experience the dynamics of spending so much time with one another. And we aren’t just talking about a family weekend at the beach, we are talking a month of living side-by-side in a foreign country! No easy task for anyone. But the point is (and seems to surface every journey) that when the time comes for the group to perform and represent themselves, the program, their schools, their state and country, they perform! And boy, do they! Soon, we’ll be getting photos of this performance and you’ll see what I mean.

We are all very proud of these kids and they continue to show us, day in and day out, why. Rock on guys!

Okay, so below are more magnificent “China life” photos from Tom. He does such a spectacular job of catching the sights and sounds of China in single snapshots. If you haven’t been, I suggest you click on these China photos and study them carefully. There is a lot to see and learn from each of these moments. let’s take a look . . .

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Qufu -- Faces and Food

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Qufu is a very special place. Not only because of the Confucius connection (you’ll see a lot of this in the coming days) and the first big performance, but the people in Qufu are so welcoming. For Journey East, visiting Qufu is like visiting family and old friends. Those who have been there before will feel like they are home again. Everyone at the Qufu Teacher’s University tries so hard to help our Journey East group with whatever is needed. Qufu is a very special place -- because of the wonderful people!

Enjoy the day!






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