The first two (top left) are Brandy calling her grandparents from Beijing just before they left. The others are in Newark airport last night.
Welcome home, everybody!
So, with the journey behind us and everyone back home, we’ve got to say a BIG THANK YOU to three very special people . . .
Tom Connor, Jenny Connor, and Ron Kelley
We can never thank these people enough for all they’ve done. Ron’s and Jenny’s musical and creative talents have been a part of this program from the very beginning. They have contributed so much! While they have traveled on journeys past, It is only fitting that they were a part of this year’s journey . . .
One very special person needs a very special thank you. I could go on and on about the passion, love, joy, effort, soul, time, sacrifice, etc. that Tom Connor has put into this Journey East program. His ten-year-plus dedication to creating, developing, coordinating, and organizing this program is indescribable. While Tom has helped these many young people see and experience China, grow and learn beyond imagination, and give them perspective in their own lives back home, he has also contributed to the overall relationship between China and the U.S. His efforts to make all of this possible, if laid one on top of another, would surpass the highest peaks in China! And so, from the bottom of our hearts . .
THANK YOU, TOM!
We also want to give a big round of applause and a hearty “thank you” to our three wonderful chaperones, Bahman Mahdavi, Mary Martin, and Diane Newton. There is a lot of personal sacrifice involved in being a JE chaperone. Not only do they leave their family and “life” for a month, but during the journey they must be a parent, a guide, a disciplinarian, a friend, a consultant, a traffic cop, a nurse . . . okay, you get the picture. And, most importantly, there are times when the kids just need a hug. Thank you Bahman, Mary, and Diane.
And we can’t leave without thanking all of the thousands of Chinese and Mongolian people who served as hosts, companions, and friends to our traveling family. Hohhot has become the second home of our extended family. And Qufu is also among the “home away from home” places. The people in Chongqing have joined this group as well. If I began to name everyone individually, we’d be here for another week! Without the gracious, never-ending hospitality of all of these people and places, this journey would not be what it is. Thank you.
And thanks to Andi Anderson her comments and insight during the journey.
And for those of you who have not yet finished the quiz, the answers will be available soon (see link on main page).
This “trip” may be over, but the Leland & Gray Journey East program continues. Since its inception in 2000, we now have well over 200 students and chaperones/teachers who have traveled to China as part of the Performing Arts Exchange. Amazing! We look forward to possibly another visit by the Mongolians in the fall. I am sure there will be other Journey East events, and we look forward to bringing them all to you, right here (www.thejourneyeast.net), same bat time, same bat channel!
Okay, so a month ago you said goodbye to your kids, and a few days ago the kids said goodbye to their friends in China and Inner Mongolia. And now, while all of you are saying hello again, the time has come for us to say goodbye. We’ve all experienced a very special month together -- a journey of our own. For some, this is our sixth time together. A big thank you goes out to all you parents who support this program and your children’s participation. It’s not easy yo be away from your child for a month as they traveled throughout China. Thank you.
As difficult as this is (what, to stop going on and on?!), we must finish this chapter in the Journey East 2010 book.
And now, we give our final thanks to all of the students of this journey: Will, Jackson, Ferne, Ruby, Alex, Vaughn, Jonah, Jackie, Sarah, Anna, Fabian, Maddi, Julia, Emmet, Quinn, Phoebe, Caitlin, Jesse, Brandy, Nikki, Jessica, Chelby, Emma, Willow, Sarah, Julian, and Ann. Without them, this journey would be an empty bottle. Our hats are off to you and your accomplishments. It’s only fitting now that we close with the JE 2010 group leaving their mark on China . . .
Thanks everybody, you’ve been great!
John Reinhardt, Journey East webmaster
April 22, 2010