Day 5’s collaborative blog post was written by Lakeisha Harris [LH] and Kahmaria Adams [KA], two of the splendid 13 who are part of Think China 2013.
[LH] Today’s lecture was very nice and was taught by Ms. Dong Yikun. She is an assistant professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). She taught us about political economics and showed us videos about China’s history. In today’s world, Beijing’s population is about 26 million. Oakland’s population is 400,000. In the early 1800s, China was called the Middle Kingdom. China was also known as the Celestial Empire.
[KA] Bryce Bell said, “China and United States have similarities that we didn’t realize before. For example, the United States and China use food stamps in a time of high poverty throughout the nation. I also learned about major similarities in the climate and geography for both nations.”
[LH] China’s history is pretty interesting to learn about. China is communist, they are an idealist people, and have similar laws as the United States. China had a civil war and the war ended 1949 (5 years after World War II). In the 1950s, food stamps were used because the economy was weak, and China used their money on weapons. China had an anti-movement in 1957 which lasted almost ten years that was called a cultural revolution. China is good about making good decisions and their growth changed in the 1990s. It now has the second biggest economy in the world. I hope by 2030 the US economy will continue to be the biggest although it’s thought that it will be China.
[LH] Geographically, China is about the same distance north of the equator as the United States and has the same climates. Ms. Dong mentioned the top four largest country land masses in the world; they are: 1) Russia, 2) Canada, 3) China, and 4) United States. I found that quite interesting because I thought China was the biggest country land mass in the world.
[KA] Ibrahima Mobley said, “[Ms. Dong] was the most enthusiastic and opinionated lecturer we’ve had so far. There were some topics that she covered that made me want to study China and the US relations more so that I could better understand and form my own opinions about our economic relations.”
[LH] Something else I learned that surprised me was that the Chinese don’t believe in the number four and don’t use the number four in their cell phones numbers. Did you know that? I wonder if it’s a spiritual thing. That’s something new to know about the Chinese culture.
[LH] After the first lecture, we had another one on learning the Chinese language. Professor Zhang told me I’m good at pronouncing words. I felt proud because I enjoy being in China, getting to meet amazing powerful leaders, and learning Mandarin. I might take Mandarin when I get in college. It’s interesting and fun. At first, I was getting mad because I couldn’t say anything right. But, after practicing in the mirror and the shower, I now sound right. I can speak a little Chinese. Here’s my advice: take Mandarin when you get in college.
[KA] Marissa Jolivette said “[Our Mandarin teacher] interacted with us and was patient as tired as we were. We pulled through it and she finished strong with us.”
[KA] Lakeisha and I were asked to perform a praise dance for the dinner hosted by the Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) that night. We had only 24 hours notice, but as excellent youth leaders, we did not complain and practiced until 1 o’clock in the morning. We chose a song called Love Medley by God’s Chosen. We felt it captured so many things about God and was also touching and inspiring to a lot of people. We were told that many Chinese people do not believe in any religion a few hours before we performed. The first thing that went through my head was that would we get negative feedback. Next, another thought went through my head telling me to not have any fear and that if I believe God I should have no worry because He would be right there by my side.
[KA] When we arrived at the dinner we took a tour through what looked like a palace. During the tour, we heard more about Chinese history and also about CPAFFC. Next, we went into a room where we had dinner and the some students from a high school in Beijing set up the stage to do their performance. They had three performances and after the third performance, Lakeisha and I were up next, so as soon as they were setting up, me and Lakeisha left to go to the bathroom to go change into our clothes. We also rehearsed. After rehearsing, we prayed to seal the dance. It was our turn to perform as soon as we walked into the dinner area so we went on stage and started to dance. In the first 30 seconds, the music stopped. My first thought was to sing out until it started back again and I did. In all of the days that I have been dancing, that has never happened to me. I was extremely nervous. During the dance, I looked out into the audience. They were quiet but they looked amazed at the same time. By the end, everyone stood up and clapped for us. I felt so good.
[LH] Thank you Kahmaria for teaching me the praise dance. We had an amazing time!
[KA] I want to give an ups to my dance partner and friend Lakeisha, she worked hard and we performed really well repping EOYDC and the US. The night was one of the beat nights I ever had.
[KA] Our next performance was a line dance called “The Wobble” by V.I.C. The Beijing students had a ball when they finally joined in and started to dance.
[LH] I was happy to do the wobble with the students from Beijing. They were happy to dance with us.
[KA] When we were done with the dancing, we sat down to eat a six course meal. Anthony Gallon thought the food and the interaction were outstanding. “Amongst the six courses, my favorite meal was the shrimp with noodles. There were so many spices and I’ve never had that many before in one dish. It normally takes me a minute to warm up to new people, but the spirit of friendship was in the air and my curiosity was peaked so I began asking a lot of questions.”
[KA] After dinner, the Beijing students asked to do some more line dancing. We all continued and did the Cupid Shuffle and the Cha Cha Slide. Both interactions were fun and exciting.
[LH] I had an amazing time and I met a lot of students. They made my night and I will never forget them! I can honestly say “my net worth was my network.” (“Your net worth is your network. Stay in contact people because you never know what will happen in the future.”) I enjoyed meeting Carey, Valerie, Peter, Jessica, and Arthur. I thank them for the wonderful night. I had the best time of my life. Oh yeah, I danced twice and I was proud of myself. It touched me when Peter almost cried when we were leaving. I loved Peter for that. The compound was very nice.
[KA] Brandon Vonderwerth-Martin said “I had a blast. I don’t usually go all out like that but everyone was really open and after all it was a friendship organization, so I just went with it”.
[KA] It was cool meeting the kids from Beijing. We went out as a team, sharing our talent and leadership skills. We showed support and friendship and they more than met us half way. It was an amazing night and we have new friends to stay in touch with.