The Great Wall of China!

On May 31, 2013, in Activities, by Catharine Steffens
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Beijing Drums

On May 31, 2013, in Activities, by Catharine Steffens

> The Rhythm of China > Kipp Charlton ’14 > Beijing is a fascinating place that holds many secrets and surprises. The Beijing Drum Tower was one of those surprises. The Gǔlóu or the drum tower of Beijing extends over the surrounding residential, and market areas. The building was originally constructed to produce music that displayed the time using massive drums. Now the same style of drum is used to enchant the curious tourist. One of the original drums still remains in the tower but it is never played. I was reminded of how powerful music has no language or borders. > > As we stepped into the courtyard that leads to the drum tower we recognized its prominence immediately. The tower dramatically juxtaposed the quant rural houses and markets that lay alongside the building. The tempting smells of the market stands were ignored as our eyes were drawn to the ornate and highly detailed building that lunged from the earth in front of us. The elaborate roofing was a series of highly decorated wooden planks that buttressed the green scaffolding that waved outward at the corners of the building. > > Approaching the building it was clear no elevators would exist in such an important piece of culture. Only a massive staircase extending into the sky greeted our group. Out of breath we rounded the final stairs and clambered onto the top level. Large drums hugged the walls and a balcony extended outward revealing the beauty Beijing had to offer. The sun rushed though the balcony door and illuminated the grandeur of the room. > > Waiting for the performance to start our group was drawn to beauty the balcony had to offer. The skyline mixed with the trees and homes below to create a stunning portrait of Beijing. Our attention moved when the drummers lined to take their place next to their drums. Slow at first, the rhythm quickly picked up and with it the intensity and energy of the room. The excitement of the song lingered as the drummers excited the room, marching with the same cadenced focus as their music. The Beijing Drum Tower reminded me to never underestimate a location, people, or culture. > > >

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First Day in China

On May 29, 2013, in Activities, by Catharine Steffens

Andrew Webb ’15 Today was the first day that we went inside of the school. Beijing #4 high school opened up the day with a welcoming speech from their president and a speech from Mrs. Steffens. After that all of the Brophy students got up to the front of the room with their host brothers and announced who they were and what they like and expected of China. After that the high school gave us shirts with Beijing # 4 on it. After the formal introductions all of the brophy guys headed upstairs to our classroom and we discussed our first night in China, everybody had an interesting story to tell. Then we finally left to go sightseeing. We first went to Tiananmen square. To get there we had to take the subway it was extremely busy and the doors to the subway train only stayed open for about 15-20 seconds… so being unprepared for this some of us were nearly left behind. The square had an awesome and colorful garden and it also had a huge monument to the Peoples heroes of China. Also in the square were street merchants who would never go away. They would come up to you and tell you to buy their item they would then try to shove it into your hands. Even if you said no they would still follow you or they would just try another item. After the square we went to the Qian Men district where we ate lunch at a nice restaurant and did some shopping. The shopping was really cool because this was my first time trying to barter but also seeing a Chinese shop. There was a shop that had everything panda in it). After the shopping we went to the restaurant. This was my first meal because on the first night my brain didn’t even register that I was eating because of the sleep deprivation and the shock of actually being in China. American Chinese food and Chinese food are extremely different as I learned the pleasant way. THE FOOD WAS EXCELLENT, we all tried something new such as warm ginger infused Coka Cola and plum juice. After the restaurant we walked to the forbidden city. The forbidden city has 9,999 rooms which is symbolic of 1 room short of heaven. The forbidden city was HUGE!! Each time we walked into a different section I told myself that this would have to be the last section because there was no way that it could be any bigger and each time I was wrong. Every single building was intricately painted with multiple colors each symbolic of one of the 5 elements. After touring the Forbidden City we were on our way to the bus stop when 2 people approached us selling hand carved dragons. They especially bonded to Will. They kept offering us lower and lower prices to buy their products even slightly holding Will back. After 10 minutes of them haggling us we started to walk away and the lady followed us! Eventually she stopped following us though and we got on the bus which wasn’t too crowded. By the time that we got to school everybody was exhausted. I would the next day that we had walked between 10 and thirteen miles!!!!! We are all doing fine and all of our host families are extremely nice and generous.

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First Days in Beijing

On May 28, 2013, in Activities, by Catharine Steffens

All is going well in Beijing, we’ve had rain and a cool breeze. The students are settled in their new homes and we are adjusting to new experiences and expectations, including eating slippery noodles with chopsticks! Airport Greeting Arrival at the school. Morning meeting Noodle + Chopstick fiasco Chopsticks! not your fingers :) the Forbidden City Qianmen

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San Francisco

On May 26, 2013, in Activities, by Catharine Steffens

Arriving bleary eyed at the United counter at 3:30 AM the first sight we see is Brophy’s Appalachia Immersion group checking in right before us! All is going well so far, about to board our connecting flight to Beijing IMG_0004

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