Former Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
Richard W. Clark
Former Visiting Associate Professor, Human & Community Development
Former Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development
Former Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development and 4-H Youth Development - Metro
Former Outreach Initiative Specialist
Former Director of Web Development
Former Extension Educator, Youth Development
JoAn C. Todd
Former Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness
Former Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development - Metro
23 Total Posts
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Monday, June 30, 2008
It's been awfully quiet in this blog but now there are new developments and more things are happening to keep our China connection as alive as it was while we were on the road. We are expecting visitors from Sanda University in Shanghai! And not only one group but two different groups will come to Illinois on different missions. One will be a very short one day visit of three highranking delegates from Sanda who will only have a few meetings and then leave again. The second group though will consist of three young faculty members of the English department we met while we were in China and they will stay for one and a haf months! Their mission will be to receive training in how to set up and organize 4-H and they will be participating in many Extension activities across Illinois. So you might get to know them! The first group will be in Urbana-Champaign on July 6 and 7, the second group will arrive on July 16 and stay until August 28. We will make sure to post their schedules here and let you know about their activities and adventures.
But there is one thing I will have to do first before we can start telling new stories - I probably should finish telling the old ones. During the last leg of our trip it proved almost impossible to keep up writing this blog simply because our days started at around 6 am and in some cases didn't end before midnight. My one attempt to put something up during that period ended in a very uncomfortable nap with my face on the computer keyboard.
As mentioned before, our last station was Wenzhou and we were hosted by Wenzhou University. Once more we were received like royalty and felt absolutely honored when we saw all the wonderful activities that the Wenzhou staff had put together for us. Personally, one of the most memorable events in Wenzhou for me was the great welcome we were offered with a huge banner spanning the front of the main building that read: "A warm welcome to our friends from University of Illinois". Also unforgettable the tour through the student area when each of us was accompanied by a Sanda student. That's how I met Echo, an English major with whom I now keep an email communication going. Also the visit of the Hair Embroidery Museum and its grand master professor Wei was phantastic. I had never seen an art like this before where human hair is used to produce unbelievably accurate portraits of heads of state and other important and famous people. You have to look at the pictures!
There were so many other great things that we did and saw during these three days in Wenzhou and they were all wonderful. Most wonderful of all - as at the other places we visited - were the people that hosted us with a graciousness and warmth that was overwhelming. Especially our great guide David contributed greatly to the success of this visit. You can read about him in one of my previous blog entries.
One thing I have to mention: the style of our hosts was different than we had experienced before. It was somehow more relaxed and joyous in a way. I got the impression people in Wenzhou are not only very entrepreneurial but also like to party. On occasions when we were invited for dinner or banquets the food was as excellent as in the other places we visited but the emphasis seemed to be more on drinks and celebration than on nurishment. In short: we had a ball!
When the final day had come and we had to leave China again, many sad faces could be seen in our group. Certainly most participants were looking forward to be reunited with their families and friends but several made the comment that this had been the trip of a lifetime and that they felt sad that it was over. It didn't help the mood that we all felt somewhat tired because we had enjoyed our last feast very much the night before and it also wasn't helpful that we were stuck at the Shanghai airport for about six hours. The flight back was again long but smooth and since it was a night flight, most of us at least slept for a short time.
This wraps up my tale of our journey to China and back but I will continue to keep you updated. Stay tuned and check back in soon!!!