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
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Monday, July 28, 2008
Laura, Keren and Ya have now been in Illinois for over a week. Here are Keren's impressions of these first days away from home:
As the Chinese saying goes, long distance separates no bosom friends. We took a flight which lasts for nearly 14 hours and in a wink, we stepped on the land of Chicago. After claiming luggage, we walked out of the terminal building and then began to search for the sign with Chinese characters on it. All of a sudden I spotted familiar faces, Jane, Greg and Donna holding three fancy balloons instead of signs, very warm welcome！
--- First impression of Illinois
As I sit in the car heading for Donna's house, I find Chicago bears some resemblance to Shanghai in the aspects of modern buildings and broad highways. The only difference I have found so far is that most residence houses here are 2 stories high while those in Shanghai are at least 6 stories high. And that is probably the reason why the sky in Illinois looks closer to us compared with that in Shanghai. Another thing I found amazed about Illinois when Richard drove us from Donna's house to Champaign is miles and miles of cornfields, even taller than men! One more thing, I am just fascinated with the clouds here. You can hardly find so many clouds of different shapes in Shanghai.
Martina showed us around the campus on a very very warm afternoon. Thank you! Living on such a campus with modern facilities, the students here must be the luckiest and the happiest. Nevertheless, I guess living on such a huge campus, the students must have a strong sense of direction to ensure they can find the classroom. J
In the Lincoln Hall, after being told by our campus tour guides that it would bring us good luck to touch Lincoln's nose, we all did that although we had already got a lot of good luck, like the opportunity of being here in Illinois, meeting old friends and getting to know new friends. Such good luck can never be too much.
Dr. Clark designed a compact and interesting training schedule for us. We all experienced a different working style here --- inspirations and good ideas are usually achieved during the process of enjoying doing something. In 4-H memorial camp, I strongly experienced the difference again. Usually in China, teachers and parents are more willing to have their children study in the classroom or at home, working hard on school subjects all day long. But the situation here is of great difference. In the camp, those kids apparently did have a lot of fun both indoors and outdoors while learning knowledge. We also had a lot of fun there, teaching some simple Chinese words and the way to use chopsticks to the kids in a foreign language club. They enjoyed that and really learned very quickly, which is just amazing! In addition, we attended the CSI club. The kids in that club are really cool. They played the role of detectives and managed to catch the suspected criminal with the evidence of fingerprints, footprints and hair. We even tried zip line, a really very thrilling activity and rowed a boat, a really very relaxing activity. If only I could come back to my childhood and then I would definitely take part in 4-H camp having a lot of fun and meanwhile learning. And I strongly believe the kids in our program will also love these interesting and instructive activities.
Martina and her husband hosted us on Friday. And during the dinner time, we had such a happy and wonderful chatting with each other that when we realized it might be a little bit late, we found it was already 10 pm. The next morning, we three cooked the breakfast and we are so glad they like it. Her husband drove us to Indianapolis, leaving Henry alone at home. Sorry, Henry~~ (PS: Henry is their dog). The first destination is the Civil War Museum, which exhibits many vivid pictures and descriptions about the war that I could only learn from books before. Therefore, we did take a lot of pictures in order that we can show them to our students and that must be very helpful when explaining to them about the Civil War. Then we bought some books at a book store and went shopping. The last destination is just wonderful. The Italian restaurant looks common from outside but when we got inside we found the wall decorated with hundreds of fancy and funny pictures. And most importantly the food tastes very good.
Here, many thanks go to Richard for thoughtfully arranging such a wonderful training for us and also for inviting us to your house for a nice and tasty dinner, to Donna for kindly hosting us in your house, to Madonna who showed us around the local farmer's market, to Jane and Greg for taking us to a nice local restaurant called Long Branch, to Steve for showing us around Champaign county fair where we were interviewed for a radio program and the wonderful dinner in a Chinese restaurant, whose owner is also from Shanghai! And thanks also go to all of you who have been so kind and generous to us that we just feel like at home. I find people here do cherish their family value and traditions a lot. They keep the things inherited from the older generation, decorate the house with them and pass them down to the younger generation as a kind of valuable memory. I really like such cozy and warm feelings in the family.
Up till now, I have just been here for about one week, so still a lot more fresh new things to experience. To be continued…