Around Chengdu 2

A panorama of Chengdu
It’s been a busy few weeks. The semester is now half over, and then there was a week off for the May 1 Labor Day holiday. In the coming weeks my students will present their Talk Show oral projects, and then soon after that, the year is over! Would I want to go through this emotional roller-coaster ride again – my first year in another country, my first year as a teacher, sorting through all my emotional baggage? I don’t know. I have the feeling that some of the emotional baggage was lost en route, only to turn up at a future date when I least expect it.

A few weeks ago, I paid a visit to the Chengdu Gay Community Care Organization. It was both a fact-finding mission and a chance to introduce myself. Since I volunteered in the HIV/AIDS community in L.A. for 12 years, I’m anxious to find an outlet for my continued involvement in this field. You can read my write-up about my visit here:

Summer is returning with a vengeance. With my friend’s help, I bought some new lightweight clothing. Other things I will soon need: new athletic shoes, hiking boots, sleeping bag, travel backpack, and a digital camera. And I thought I was leaving the consumer lifestyle behind.

Here are some photos from some other recent activities:

A view of Chunxi Lu, the main pedestrian shopping area downtown
At a recent meeting at UESTC with the Information Office of the Chengdu municipal government. Some of the foreign teachers took part in a survey to help “market” Chengdu. I look very professorial.
I joined a group for a tour of the newly-opened Jinsha Relics Museum in Chengdu, on the site where remnants of the 3,000-year-old Shu civilization have recently been unearthed. This is a gold Sun Bird disc, one of the most significant finds.

A huge building covering portions of the Jinsha excavation site. Gold, pottery, jade, burial remains, tools, and several tons of elephant tusks were uncovered here. Oh, yes, and a sacrificial altar.

Our tour group on the main stairs of the Jinsha exhibition building. The stairway is positively operatic, like something out of Turandot.

In the petrified forest – not petrified, exactly, but an outdoor sculpture garden of 3,000-year-old trees unearthed at the Jinsha site.

RJ does IKEA. Yes, they now have a Chengdu store. So many furnishings, so little time….

Quotes for the day:

Learning a foreign language is a good way to get laughed at. I think we need to give learners a chance to be laughed at, at the same time as we stroke their egos because we are impressed by their language learning performance.

-Greg Matheson

No teacher ever failed from ignorance.
That is empiric professional knowledge.
Teachers fail because they cannot “handle the class.”
Real education must ultimately be limited to men who INSIST on knowing, the rest is mere sheep-herding.

Ezra Pound, ABC of Reading, NY: New Direction Publishing, 1987, p. 84


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