Ninth Grade Four Point 2019: China

March 12, 2019

China: Day 10

Tuesday, March 12

Our last full day in China was very busy. We started our day at school. The students had a chance to go to some classes with their hosts. We also had some special lessons interspersed through the morning. First we had a Chinese painting class.

Ellie W. and Harry C. act out a viral panda fight.

Panda mask!

Peyton perfectly paints powerful panda portraits.

Burke beautifully brushes bears briskly.

Harry holds hair(brush) haughtily.

After the panda painting lesson we had an exchange with one of the junior one (7th grade classes). They performed traditional arts and taught us about some aspects of traditional culture. We made Tangyuan (sweet rice balls). They ended their show by giving us a variety of Chengdu snacks!

We had a quick lunch in the school dining hall and took a little rest, then we headed to the International Intangible Cultural Heritage Park. We went through an exhibit about a variety of UNESCO protected forms of Intangible Culture Heritage, musics, arts and crafts styles, festivals, etc., from China and around the world. Then we had a chance to get our hands dirty (literally) and try some of the forms of craft that have roots in China.

Allie W. blends in with some new friends at the museum.

Terence X. works on stone carving (in plaster of paris).

Quade W. and Jason C. work on their carvings with the teacher helps Terence X. in the background.

Joe S. and Harry C. work on their carvings.

Allie W. makes a bowl (and a mess)!

Haley can’t wait to take Ms. Grover’s ceramics class.

We loaded on to our breadloaf for one last trip back to school.

The students and hosts after a final meal together.

We will be meeting at the airport at 5:55 am to start our very long travel day home. We, the teachers, have had a wonderful trip with all of the students in our group. We couldn’t have asked for a better group to travel with. Thank you for sharing your students with us. We hope you get to have wonderful moments to reflect on their experience with them and we look forward to coming together again in a few weeks when we get back to school.

Colin Penley, Martha Whittington, and Pete Moses

China: Day (7, 8, &) 9

Weekend, March 9 and 10

There were many stories about zombies and fun times spent with hosts and other Gould students. Allie W. shared a few of her photos from her weekend with us today so we could share them with you.

Group of students and hosts at an amusement park (I believe.)

Allie W. and Ellie W. with sugar drawings of a dragon and a bird.


Monday, March 11, 2019

This morning we met up as a large group after the weekend. Our original plan was foiled by renovations of the Leshan Giant Buddha, so Cathy at CEFLS, along with Charles and Lin, our guides for the day, came up with an amazing plan B. We spent the day exploring some of the sights of downtown Chengdu. The first stop was the Wide and Narrow Alleys (宽窄巷子), which have been reconstructed in the old style with lots of shops and snack places.

Harry C. and Joe S. exploring the Narrow Alley.

After Wide and Narrow Alleys, we headed to People’s Park, the large park in the middle of downtown Chengdu. Parks are very important to urban culture in China. Even on a Monday morning, the park was full of people out enjoying the weather. Chengdu is known for its leisurely pace of life and tea drinking, and People’s Park is the center of this culture. We gave students a chance to journal, but they all got distracted by the activities around them, from sipping tea in an outdoor tea house to making friends with an older gentleman sword fighting with a tree, our students were living the life.

Quade W., Terence X., and Joe S. watch a sugar artist at work making a beautiful phoenix.

Walking together through the park.

After the park and a lunch of noodles to fortify us for the afternoon, we headed off to Wuhou Temple, a major historical site and tourist attraction since the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-906). Yes, you read that right, over 1000 years of history as a tourist attraction. Since not much journaling had happened in the park, after looking through the temple together, students had some time to reflect in the gardens of the shrine.

Terence X. and Jason C. write about their weekends.

Ellie W., Allie W., and Haley H. reflect on their experiences in China.

The group by the Xishenfang stone, a lucky place in the Wuhou Shrine.

Next to the Wuhou Temple, is Jinli street, an alley of food vendors and shops. It has been the market for visitors to Wuhou Temple for as long as there have been visitors. It has undergone a recent ancientification renovation and is a major tourist sight in Chengdu.

Haley H. experience the local tradition of having ones ears cleaned. It doesn’t hurt, but it is a bit of an odd feeling.

Allie W. also got her ears done.

Haley H. and Terence X. walk down Jinli Street.

The group on our breadloaf headed home. (We’ll take a picture outside it tomorrow so you can understand the name.)

Tomorrow is our final full day in China. It is hard to believe it is already upon us. We will spend some time at school tomorrow, take a trip to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Park (more info about that is… once we have been) and have a final dinner with all of the hosts.

China: Day 6

Friday, March 8, 2019

We gathered this morning and headed out with two new guides for the day, Joanna (on her birthday!) and Tancy. We headed off to spend the morning hiking Qingcheng Mountain, famous for its Taoist temples.  It was a cool, misty day, but that did nothing to dampen our spirits, or our desire for ice cream.

We clicked… the sightseeing bus never showed up. We had to go over to it.

Group at Qingcheng Mountain.

The ladies riding the gondola up a large chunk of Qingcheng Mountain. It felt very familiar since it was made by Doppelmayr, just like the beloved Chondola at Sunday River.

Joe S.’s second ice cream of the day.

After hiking back down and having a delicious lunch, we headed to the Dujiangyan Irrigation project. While that may not exactly sound all the exciting, it is an amazing sight. The project is over 2200 years old and is the only non-dam major irrigation system in the world. It splits the Min River in two, carefully directing part of the flow down to the plains near Chengdu for agriculture, while also filtering out the silt and protecting the city from flooding. While some of the materials have changed, the structure of the system is unchanged from its development around 200 BC.

The group at the Fish Mouth, the beginning of the Dujiangyan Irrigation project.

Quade gives Shi Qianxiang, one of the 12 great Chinese hydrologists who have statues in the park, a high five.

Some of the students chilling with Liu Xigu, another noted hydrologist.

Students have been very busy. The bus ride was a great chance to catch a few zzzzzs.

Headed off for the weekend with host families!

We said goodbye for the weekend this evening. Students will be with their host families and exploring many new aspects of life in China. We, the faculty, will also be hosted by some of the CEFLS faculty during the next few days. We will not post on the blog over the weekend, but we will have many stories, and maybe even a few pictures, to share on Monday about the student’s weekends.

China: Day 5

Thursday, March 7, 2019

(We dealt with this morning’s photo issues this evening and yesterday’s posts have been updated below this one.)

A cordial welcome to CEFLS for our distinguished guests from Gould Academy, Bethel, Maine, the U.S.A. !
“Welcome our distinguished guests from Gould Academy to Chengdu Experimental Foreign Languages School!” We were welcomed by the CEFLS students, teachers, and principal, Mr. Wang, this morning in a brief, but heartfelt ceremony.  Before the welcome ceremony, the Gould students visited their host students’ classes.  After the ceremony, we were treated to an introductory Taiqi lesson, opportunties to talk with students from CEFLS and some pick up basketball in the gym.
Getting low and following the teacher.
Ball the fist and bend the knees.
Ellie W. gets the ball and turns toward the hoop.
Terence X. was the point guard for his team. He was also the leading scorer after draining a few threes.
Haley  H. chats with a few girls from CEFLS about life in a Chinese high school.
Having fortified ourselves with lunch in the school cafeteria, we headed out to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (literal translation on the ticket). Even though it was drizzling, we found pandas out frolicking about the grounds.  We saw smaller red pandas as well as the giant pandas.  The pandas are truly iconic symbols of China.
Baby pandas wrestling!
Joe watching panda cubs.
Allie W. and Burke M.
We returned to the school where the Gould freshmen were picked up by their host families for dinner and an evening at home.
Tomorrow will be another adventure when we set off to see Qingcheng Mountain and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System!

China: Day 4 Continued

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 (posted on Thursday…)

The last morning in Beijing we spent some time exploring the area around the Red Lantern House and took a few moments to breathe after our whirlwind tour of Beijing. We also repeated the Oil and Spoon activity from the student’s English class through the Hutongs, back alleys, of Beijing.

Saying goodbye to one of the Red Lantern House’s cats, Chairman Meow as our students dubbed him.

Burke M. walks with purpose

Peyton and Quade make sure to avoid the scooters and spilling their oil.


First meetings! (and group shots in airports are always exciting!)

Peyton M. and Zoe

Harry C. and Kevin

Ellie W. and Catherine

Haley H. and Cindy

Allie W. and Jasmine

Quade W. and Eliot

Burke M. and Wilson

Terence X. and Xavier

Dad and his host Dad!

China: Day 4

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Sorry, we are experiencing a few technical difficulties on this end. We have a few pictures of our last morning in Beijing and our arrival in Chengdu, but can’t get most of them on the blog this morning. We have to head off to school now, but we will endeavor to get everything up this evening. But for now here are two pictures of students meeting their hosts in the airport as we got off the plane.

Joe S. and his host Buch

Jason C. and his host Will.

China: Day 3 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Good morning, Beijing!  We started off with our usual trip to Mr. Penley’s favorite steamed dumpling shop at 7:00 am for a quick snack before our 7:45 hostel breakfast of French toast and bananas. Delicious!

After breakfast, we headed to the subway to get to…wait for it…The Forbidden City! The Forbidden City is where the emperors of China lived until the early twentieth century. With over 9000 rooms, it is one of the most important cultural locations in China.  Our intrepid Gould adventurers walked the central path of the emperors to the center of Beijing located within the Forbidden City.

Can you find us in the crowd?

Let’s get a picture together!

Making new friends wherever we go!

In the Palace Garden

Exploring the Forbidden City

Upon exiting the Forbidden City, we hiked Jingshan Mountain created from the excavation of the moat and walked through Jingshan Park.

The Forbidden City is massive!

At the center of Beijing

Next, being bolstered by a delectable lunch of noodles, our group moved on by bus to the Temple of Heaven, where emperors went to pray.  There we found the location of the closest point to heaven on a circular mound, which represents heaven,  resting on a square plot, which represents earth.  We toured the Temple of Heaven.

Close to Heaven

We all can get there together!

Mr. Moses in angel pose

The Temple of Heaven

In the Temple of Heaven park, the Gould girls joined a group of ladies dancer-cising to Chinese pop music.  Hayley, Peyton, Allie, and Ellie quickly picked up the moves and were soon dancing in synchronization with the group.  “It is the best highlight of our trip,” commented Terence X. while watching his classmates dance. After the session, the girls asked the ladies to have a photo taken together. As the girls started to walk away after the photo, the ladies called them back to reciprocate.

Following the excitement at the park, our Four-Pointers once again tried their hand at haggling. This time we went to the Pearl Market. The Pearl Market contains floors of goods and items waiting to be had at a price agreed upon by salesperson and customer. Everyone had an exhilarating time bargaining for their treasures!

Having haggled ourselves into hunger, we set off for yet another delicious dinner. This time we were in for a real treat. We feasted on one of the city’s most famous dishes, Beijing Duck. The master duck carver cut up our birds and served them to our table along with an assortment of delicacies. Fabulous!

Then, it was back to begin to prepare for our last morning in Beijing at the wonderful Red Lantern hostel.

Thank you, Winnie!  Good night!
Chengdu, here we come!

China: Day 2 – The Great Wall 

Monday, March 4, 2019

“It’s a really Great Wall”
Those were the words of Joe S. as he contemplated the endless wall built across the steep mountains north of the city. Our trip to Jinshanling was awesome— a fast bus ride, absolutely perfect weather and our group of 13 outnumbering all the rest of the visitors.

There is a saying in Chinese: “不到长城,非好汉。” “Those who have never been to the Great Wall will never be heroes.” Here is our crew of newly minted heroes.

Terence X. and Ellie W. have been appointed Dad and Mom for their help in making sure everything runs smoothly.

Quade takes a moment to record the majesty of the Great Wall in his journal.

Friends together, across the world.

Not a bad backdrop for a photo.  

Taking a moment to look over the wall snaking across the mountain tops.

A stair stepper machine had nothing on us today.

On the trip back the bus dropped us at Wangfujing Street, a major shopping hub, where our dinner was Mongolian hot pot on the 5th floor of a fancy mall. Dachuan Zhu (Gould class of 2009) joined us for the meal.

Peyton M. looking for treats in the boiling broth.

Thanks for coming to dinner Dachuan! Always great to see old friends and make new friends!

A quick stop at the street market on the way to the subway resulted in a fair amount of fried ice cream and scorpions being consumed.

Photo time. Is this what it feels like to be a celebrity?

Joe S. and Harry C. were very happy to have some waffle taco ice creams.

Quade was the first one to take the plunge and try a scorpion!

We returned to the hostel after a long day, happy to get some sleep in preparation for our last full day in Beijing.

China: Day 1

Sunday, March 3, 2019

After a long flight and heading to bed, the students were up early. (There were even some rumors of 4 am snacking.) We took a walk around our hutong, the back alley neighborhoods of Beijing we are staying in, and grabbed a pre-breakfast snack of baozi, steamed dumplings. We headed back to the hostel for a fuller breakfast of fried eggs and toast.

After breakfast we were off. Our first stop was Panjiayuan, the Dirt Market. We spent the morning browsing and looking at the treasures for sale. Some items haggled over, purchases were made, and the adventures were had.

The ladies at the market.

Haley H. and Allie W. are excited to be in China!

There were some fun cartoonish characters at the market that we got spend some time posing with.


After exploring the market, we grabbed a lunch of Chinese BBQ and some homestyle food. And then it was back onto the unique experience that is Beijing public transportation to get ourselves across the city to see the Lama Temple.

Commuting with a few of our new, CLOSE friends.

After a bus and a subway, we arrived at the Lama temple. Originally a palace for a prince, the grounds of the temple are truly grand in scale and scope. The highlight of the visit was seeing the 18m (60 foot) standing Buddha carved out of a single piece of Sandalwood.

The group standing in front of the building in which the Buddha is housed.

The students had some time to explore the temple on their own, sit for a few minutes in quiet contemplation, and work on their journals.

Ellie W. notes down everything we have done so far today.

Harry C. takes a moment to put down some of his thoughts from the first full day in China.

The boys take a minute to chat before we leave the temple.

We headed out from the Lama temple and walked through some old streets as we headed back towards our hostel. We past the Confucian Temple and Guozijian, the old Imperial College, first built on that site in 1306. We took one more subway ride and had a quick stop at the WuMart Hypermarket for snacks and to see what a Chinese supermarket looked like.

We had a great dinner of dumplings and too much food. The students managed to (mostly) stay awake during dinner and the walk home before they quickly crashed in their rooms. Nothing like a little jet lag to make bed at 7 pm sound wonderful.

The adventure continues:  Tomorrow we head off to the Great Wall!

Pre-Trip: Are You Ready?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

In a few days, we’ll have ninth graders all over the world in China, Ecuador, Peru, and Tanzania as they take part in their first Gould Four Point experience. Ten students will be in China learning about the country, staying with local families, visiting schools, and immersing themselves in the culture there.

Students have been working on various topics related to their destinations in their History and English classes. They have also been preparing their journals, packing their bags, and thinking about all of the things they might learn on through this experience. Our older students who have already completed a Ninth Grade Four Point trip look back on their experience and say, “I learned more than I ever thought I would!”

We can’t wait to hear what this year’s students have to say about their experience.

Keep up to date with their trip by following this blog. Trip leaders will do their best to post updates regularly.


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