Saturday, July 27
Surprised Matt yesterday with the full bus singing “Happy Birthday” at noon yesterday just as he turned 18 in the US, then with a cake at check-in time that night. Picture from today’s bike ride from Li Jiang to White Sand Village, with the famous Jade Snow Dragon Mountain in the background , hidden in the clouds. Off to a Naxi dance performance tonight, and the bus trip back to Kunming tomorrow.
Sunday, July 28
Just got back to the hotel after an all day (left at 8:30 am and got here at 8:30 pm) bus ride from Li Jiang. Everyone got out to see the old town, the countryside, hiking or biking, and Saturday night we attended a fine performance of classical Chinese music presented by an orchestra of 40 or so, average age around 70. The music, some of it from a local minority group, the Naxi, was ethereal, and all of it as new to the students from China as to most of us. Almost all of it was water-themed; great for the focus of the next part of our classes.
Today was the day for many in the group to get sick – the altitude, the street vendor food, who knows… In any case, we dug deep into our supply of Pepto and Immodium. All the students ate dinner, so those affected seem well on the mend as well.
We are getting better at finding ways to consult with our colleagues, and we are making some changes we all think are promising. The new roommate assignments based on Language Culture partners and the rotating evening check-in roster of faculty seem to be working fine, and they will stay in place for the rest of the program. We will be adjusting the morning class schedule starting tomorrow to bring both A and B groups together. This will standardize and open up the day nicely for more time to do things like washing socks…We also will have more routine contact with all subjects. To start each day will be the Language/Culture session with special attention to new terms in science, economics, and philosophy, which will follow in that order. We will keep our mid-morning Tai Chi session, loved by all, and our afternoon seminar focus will be on the case studies. Sports will remain a staple in the afternoons not devoted to field trips. The competition between the A and B teams in ultimate and soccer is tightening up, and friendships continue to deepen.