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Journey East web site




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.

We wish to thank Holden Waterman, Director of the Asian Studies Outreach Program University of Vermont, and Dr. Juefei Wang, (former Director of the ASOP).

The Leland and Gray Journey East program is deeply indebted, and extends its heartfelt thanks, to Dr. Juefei Wang and Tom Connor, without whose efforts and support this program would not be possible!

Leland & Gray
Journey East 2010

Tom Connor
Program Director

Jenny Connor
Ron Kelley


Mary Martin
Diane Newton
Bahman Mahdavi


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Easter in Chinese
Happy Easter!

Good day, everyone!

Another bright and sunny day here in southern Vermont. Let’s check out the weather in Qufu . . . looks like the low 50s. Not bad.

So, group is now in Qufu. We have lots of photos and another student report. But, before we begin our activities in Qufu, we have a couple of special audio clips for you.

Goodbye & Thank You (1) -- Goodbye & Thank You (2)

These are Sound files as the group said goodbye and thank you to their friends in Chongqing. Brandy and Alex Morrow are in #1, and their guide, Dan Dan, is heard in #2.

Let’s hear what Anna has to say about the journey from Chongqing to Qufu:

anna iconAnna Cashman, Freshman, Wardsboro

We are on a plane -- again. This time we are flying from Chengdu to Jinan, where we will take a bus to Qufu. This flight seemed to put a lot of pressure on everyone’s ears. Thankfully, it was a short two hour flight. We were served lunch on the plane, and, in my opinion, Chinese plane food is better than American plane food. On American flights the food tastes like micro-waved leftovers, whereas on Chinese flights it tastes like actual cooked meals. One disappointing thing was that they gave us forks and spoons, but no chopsticks. Many of us were upset because we had vowed not to use our normal utensils until we got back to America.

One thing that we figured out in a hurry on these many long bus rides is that most of us have tiny bladders. So, of course, the first thing we did when we got off the plan was head straight for the bathroom.

Bathrooms in China have been an interesting experience. We have been in nice, clean squatters and we’ve had stalls with little more than toughs on the ground. Half the time there has been toilet tissue and half the time there has been none. Some bathrooms will have all squatters and other places will have a few western-style toilets. One has to let go of one’s privacy needs in some instances where there are no doors on the stalls. It is extremely different from the U.S.

Once we had loaded every one and every thing onto the bus we prepared for another long bus ride. We thought that the bus rides on the other busses were hard; well, we changed our minds as soon as we got on the bus in Jinan. There was about four inches between our seat and the seat in front of us. The air conditioning didn’t work and, with more than 33 people on the bus, it got real stuffy, real fast.

Qufu and Shandong are quite different from everywhere else that we have been. Each place we fly to is slightly warmer than the last but gets colder as we stay, seemingly bringing the cold with us. There are willow trees, making the barren and brown view literally spring to life. There are also some pear trees that are blossoming. Even though the rainfall in Shandong is sporadic, it is well-known for its agriculture. They grow mainly corn and wheat, which we see growing in the incessant terraces that we pass on the two-hour bus ride.

The pollution is definitely better here in Qufu compared to anywhere else we have been so far. You can feel the pressure lifted off your lungs. I noticed one factory on the bus ride. There were factories all around us, throughout the countryside as we traveled from Chongqing to Luzhou, to Leshan and to Chengdu. There appears to be very few trees being planted here but there are also twice as many trees growing here naturally. Planting trees does not seem to be as necessary here because it balances out.

Altogether, Qufu is dry, yet beautiful, just more proof of China’s amazing diversity.

Thank you. Anna. Fun to see how the kids have transitioned to chopsticks and were disappointed with silverware!

Goodbye Chongqing, Hello Qufu!

Qufu is pronounced “choo-foo.” Qufu is known as ”the sacred city.”

During the Zhou Dynasty (1200-221 BC), Qufu was the most cultural city in China. Qufu was the home of Confucius, a famous philosopher (551-479 B.C.), and is well-known for its Confucian Temple, Confucian Forest and Confucian Mansion.

The gang will be visiting these amazing places, as well as many others, during their week-long stay in Qufu. We’ll cover the itinerary in more detail as we roll along. Also, the group will perform at least two times during their stay here.

To start things off, the group spent the morning learning about Confucius. In the photos below, you’ll see Professor Zhang lecturing and interacting with Brandy, Julian, and Bahman

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Next up was the calligraphy class. This is always a winner and has been a tradition in all of the journeys. Here you’ll see everyone “trying” to write Chinese symbols.

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I’ll bet there is ink everywhere! From the expressions on everyone’s faces, this looks most challenging!

You too can learn to write these characters. Here are a couple of places for you to visit. The first one is pretty cool as you watch the characters being drawn, one stoke at a time.

And here you can see what your name looks like in Chinese:

Qufu is a very special place. Not only because of the Confucius connection and the the chance to perform, but the people are so welcoming. Visiting Qufu is like coming home to visit family and old friends. Everyone in Qufu tries so hard to help our Journey East group with whatever is needed. Qufu is a very special place -- simply because of the wonderful people!

Here is a short article on Easter holiday in Chinese Culture. So, enjoy your Easter and we’ll join up with these guys later on . . .

Remember: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!


[JE2010] [April 3] [April 4] [April 5]

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Program Director: Tom Connor
webmaster/narrator: John Reinhardt