Happy 50th Birthday!
It’s been an eventful week. Among the things that have recently turned 50 are: Me, Disneyland, and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. This past Wednesday UESTC had a splashy birthday celebration, complete with huge floral displays, visiting dignitaries from all over China and the world, a musical extravaganza, and the most mind-boggling fireworks display I’ve ever seen. I didn’t even have to leave home to see the fireworks – I had the perfect view from my bedroom window!
Classes were canceled for the occasion as well. That explains why I (and my students) had to work today, on a Saturday: we had to make up our missed classes. We made the best of it, however, and after our paragraph-writing exercises, I gave my classes a virtual tour of Los Angeles via a slide show.
A musical extravaganza – the first graduating class from UESTC in the 1950s performs a couple of songs
Last Sunday evening I had a sneak preview of the Anniversary Extravaganza, complete with dancers, chorus, solo performances, and the UESTC Symphony. A couple of my students were in the show, so I had a “backstage” connection. To tell the truth, it made me a little homesick for the worlds of opera and symphonic music where I’ve spent so much of my working life. The show was top-notch and professional, complete with lighting effects, lasers, and fog machines.
The concertmaster tunes the orchestra
On Wednesday, in addition to the holiday atmosphere, the Foreign Languages Department had a gala dinner at a local restaurant, which the Foreign Teachers also attended. Friday evening, in honor of National Day – the Oct. 1 anniversary of the 1949 founding of the People’s Republic of China – the FTs went to a reception at the swanky Jinjiang Hotel. It was sponsored by the foreign affairs office of the Sichuan provincial govermnent, and a lot of consular types were in attendance. Unfortunately, we arrived late, but were just in time to swoop down like scavengers on the buffet table.
Foreign Teachers at the Jinjiang Hotel – photo courtesy of Warren.
The next 7 days are a holiday – no classes! It’s called Golden Week, in honor of National Day, and it’s one of 3 such week-long holidays in the year. “Golden” in this case means a gold mine for the tourism and hotel industry in China. EVERYBODY travels, in a mad rush to return to their families, and transportation is strained to its limit.
I’m staying put for the week, and in addition to reading some student writing, I intend to start shopping for a classical guitar. In case you’re wondering how to say “I want to buy a classical guitar” in Chinese, it’s wo yao mai gu dian ji ta, with, of course, the proper Chinese intonations for each syllable.
Happy Golden Week!