Home, sweet home

It’s bittersweet to see everyone at our Indy airport. I am glad our kids get to reunite with families but I also know I probably won’t be able to see most of the kids for the rest of my life. Miss them already.

I thought about updating the blog during our trip in Beijing and Shanghai, but I didn’t because I have so many good excuses: unreliable wifi, too busy schedule, and the fact that I was really exhausted every day after multiple excursions.

I am sure our kids already shared their photos with you, but very likely they didn’t tell you how much they’ve improved their Chinese:

I did Skype interviews with most of them, I can tell the huge difference between now and then in terms of their language proficiency; Alex, our tour guide in Beijing, who normally works with college kids, told me that our kids can speak better Chinese than some of his college kids; on our train to Beijing, Ethan talked to a girl next to him for more than 3 hours in Chinese……I heard so many times that people were  amazed by their Chinese at subway station, on the street, almost everywhere.

Our language commitment proved successful.

They started to speak English at Chicago airport and I am worried that if they don’t speak Chinese at all for more than a couple of weeks, they might lose their excellent Chinese. So please do encourage them to watch Chinese movies or talk to their Chinese friends.

I have taken 576 pictures and videos that can be shared with you. I’ve sent invitations to all the kids but still there are some not accepted yet. The album will be removed from iCloud after Aug 15th.

Last but not least, some group pictures to share:


Thank you for viewing the blog for about 5 weeks….Enjoy the rest of your summer! Wish you all the best!

Farewell Hangzhou

Last day in Hangzhou. We took a walk along Hefang Old Street in the afternoon.


Wang Laoshi introduced bizarre food to our students and also generously paid for all of them.
Guess who tried scorpions….
Guess who tried silkworm chrysalis….
Did Ryan try scorpions,too? No, he tried (on) sunglasses and a pretty hat instead…..
Goodbye , beautiful Hangzhou! Thank you for a lot of wonderful memories!

Happy 19th Birthday, Olivia!


After a little celebration for Olivia’s birthday, we went to Lingyin Temple , one of the ten most famous ancient Buddhist temples in China. It was founded about 1800 years ago.
Thanks Jessica for taking this photo, we are haggling with souvenir vendors. Ethan did a very good job bargaining.  Now our students know they can pay less than half of the listed prices. 
When I was taking a group photo of our students, this guy came out of nowhere and joined them. Our students are now really used to crazy tourist fans. 


Erica asked me to take a picture of our Sleeping Keegan.


They really like my sunglasses, don’t they?
Thank you , Olivia! We had another great day!

Happy 4th of July!

Ethan decided to run around the West Lake on Independence Day. He was so excited about it that according to his host mom, he woke up at 4:30am and also brought the Star-Spangled Banner with him.


Keegan and Ethan were cordially invited to a soccer game with No.14 Middle school students.


Our cheerleaders look much nicer than our two soccer players.

Jessica came up with so many games that our students had a lot of fun.


Ethan said, this is his first 4th of July in China. 🙂


Jessica prepared all the food for us. So American. She even prepared hotdogs. Olivia said that she likes Chinese hotdogs. 🙂   We had an absolutely wonderful 4th of July. Wish you all have a great 4th of July in Indiana!

Farewell Show

We had a rather stressful week. There are only 7 students and limited amount of time to practice, not to mention the fact that to perform on stage is really not something a couple of our kids can enjoy. But we made it! It turned out a big success!

Emma and Erica volunteered to be our MCs.

imageChinese National Anthem.


Traditional Chinese Instrument: hulusi.

Ryan and Keegan recited classic Chinese poems. 



Dance: Little Apple 


Skit: Journey to the West



Chinese song: Fairy Tale


Chinese song: Friends (with a slide show of our pictures on the big screen)


Snatched a Little Leisure

Friday, it stopped raining. We promised our students if their rehearsal went very well they can have a walk around the West Lake.


Ethan saw people dancing in a park so he invited Keegan for a brief but extremely hilarious ballroom dance.


He made everyone laugh loudly by experiencing some real Chinese culture .


The West Lake is so beautiful that Erica , for the first time ever, asked me to take a picture for her. I am SO glad!


Again, I’ve received lovely pictures from our lovely host families.:-)


I can see Olivia is ready for Independence Day. Have a wonderful time!

Week 3

Week 3 is such a busy week.  Our farewell show is coming up on Sunday. Our students have been working really hard since there are only 7 of them and we only have limited amount of time to practice. I will update the blog with more pictures of our performance. They will also bring back home a DVD of the show , please watch the show with them and offer compliments.

Yesterday we delivered our invitation letters to school principals and teachers (Noah and Keegan were busy practicing piano and viola).

Ryan asked me to put his picture of having lunch with No. 14 Middle school students on the blog. Did I mention that our students are the center of attention almost all the time?


Guess who took Lao Shi’s phone?image12image13

Second Weekend with Host Families

I told host families about our parent blog and asked them to share pictures with us. They shared so many photos over the weekend! We are so blessed to have such amazing host families…

Ethan’s host mom even included narratives in Chinese.  Ethan visited beautiful West Creek Wetland last weekend and watched a movie with his host brother. This weekend, he visited a museum and walked along the Jinghang Cannel in the light rain. He also watched a soccer game with his host family. Ethan actually told me several days ago that since his host family did so much for him, he wanted to buy tickets for them. I am not sure if he did or not but I am glad that he appreciates what people have done for him. Also, I am very proud of him that he didn’t forget to study or work on farewell performance…

Noah impressed his host family by his talent in calligraphy. They took him to a calligraphy class and Noah received warm welcome by all the boys. They also took him to quite a few famous scenery spots, Leifeng Tower, the West Lake etc.

Emma and Erica hang out together with host sisters. They went to one of the top universities in China, Zhejiang University and Qiantang River. They also seem to have fun playing cards with host sisters.

Keegan told me first week that his little host sister didn’t like him, each time she saw him she would cry. Apparently she doesn’t cry any more. According to Keegan’s host mom, Keegan is the little sister’s new favorite.

So glad to see everyone had a fantastic weekend so far!



Excursion: Nature Conservancy

Before departure, we practiced Taiji, Chinese songs to get ready for our farewell show. Can’t believe it is coming in a week!

The nature conservancy is located in a small village about one hour drive from Hangzhou. Our students learned about how the organization protects small water resources and then walked in a bamboo forest.

We had lunch at the village mayor’s house. Keegan tried fish head this time. He said, fish head is more delicious than duck head…Nothing seems can stop his food adventure……

After lunch, students spent hours and tremendous effort on making a bamboo spoon. Each bamboo spoon made is so precious!



A Busy Thursday

In the morning, Dr.Zhao from Confucius Institute of Middle Tennessee State University led a delegation group to visit our class. They are principals of elementary and middle schools. But only one of the English visitors talked to us since only he can speak Chinese!

Erica said she wants to go out for lunch—-it is easy to get tired of the same cafeteria food every day. We went to a restaurant that’s near school. Everybody enjoyed it so much, especially Keegan. Yes, he asked me to take pictures of him eating a duck head. —– I haven’t even tried that yet!



Our Opera masks are done, of course we have to show them off…


We also did a Chinese painting on a fan.


Ryan did a “refrigerator panda” during practice—–since he planned to put it on his refrigerator at home….but the art teacher thought it was trash so she accidentally used it to clean his bamboo brush…what a shame….