Quanzhou: History and Temples

March 21, 2016

(Written by Mr. Penley)

We reconvened this morning after our weekends apart. Everyone had lots of stories to share about their adventures with their host families. The were smiles all around and everyone was ready to start our last few days in Quanzhou!

Our morning started with lesson on the culture and traditions of Quanzhou. We then broke into groups to make lanterns in honor of the Lantern Festival that happened recently as part of the Spring Festival.

Figuring out the instructions

Figuring out the instructions

The groups worked through the instructions as they tried to work together to put various types of lanterns together.

Sophie working on her lantern

Sophie working on her lantern

There were a variety of different types of lantern. Sophie ended up with a very complex one.

Livy glues her lantern

Livy glues her lantern

Livy worked on putting her lanterned together with a little help from her friends.

Selfie time!

Selfie time!

Even with all the hard work, there was still time for a selfie. Smile for the camera!

Finished work!

Finished work!

Livy, Maddie and Lily with some of the finished lanterns.

Once we finished lanterns, it was time for the Welcoming Ceremony. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate, but a little “precipitation” didn’t dampen our spirits. There were speeches from both Principle Wang of the Fujian Quanzhou Foreign Language Middle School and Ms. Wilkerson and I. Each of our students also had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the assembled students and teachers. Although it wasn’t quite the whole school, there were still a lot of people there.

Ceremony - Gift

Ceremony – Gift

Ms. Wilkerson and I presented FQFLMS with a print of Lauren Head’s image of the field house and mountains. Gould was presented with a flag from FQFLMS and a shadow box with models of traditional Quanzhou women’s clothing.

Ceremony - Introductions

Ceremony – Introductions

Max and his host lead off the introductions. Although they were a bit nervous, all of the students did an excellent job.

Group picture

Group picture

The assembled students, teachers, and dignitaries of FQFLMS and Gould. This was the first of MANY group shots today.

After The Welcoming Ceremony, it was on to a lesson about the place of the moon in Chinese culture and poetry. We had nice discussions about a famous poem “Shuidiao Getou” – “Thinking of You” by Su Shi. Some of our students did a reading of the poem, including Haglis who read the poem in Chinese for us all.

After poetry, we moved on to an American Culture class, taught by yours truly and Ms. Wilkerson. After discussing the differences between daily schedules and answering a bunch of questions from both the American and Chinese students about what school is like in our respective countries, Sra. Wilkerson took over and gave a brief Spanish lesson to the students so they could experience some American style language teaching.

Sra. Wilkerson

Sra. Wilkerson

Headed out for lunch

Headed out for lunch

After classes, it was lunch time! Students headed out for lunch and a little rest with their hosts.

In the afternoon, after a nice rest, we headed out to see some of the temples and religious buildings of Quanzhou.

Our first stop was Kaiyuan Temple, a major Buddhist temple in the middle of the city and quite near to FQFLMS. It is a beautiful temple that is both an active religious site and one of the major tourist attractions of Quanzhou.

Group - Kaiyuan Temple

Group – Kaiyuan Temple

Here are the students on the steps in one of the walkways around the main temple. The weather was still not cooperating, so we had to seek shelter for our photo.

Kaiyuan Temple (Again)

Kaiyuan Temple (Again)

Yet another group photo… there were at least three more, but we’ll stop here with posting them. I will say that we started to get better at lining up, although it still took a long time, even for our last group picture of the day. Something to work on over the course of the next few days.

Haglis and the Qilin

Haglis and the Qilin

The Kaiyuan Temple also had a wall with a large Qilin, a mythical Chinese beast similar to a unicorn. Since Haglis’s Chinese name is very similar, he declared that the Kaiyuan temple was actually his temple.

We went to a few more temples after Kaiyuan, including a Mosque from about 1000 years ago. At that time, Quanzhou was the end of the Maritime Silk Road, and had a very international population, including many traders from the Middle East. It was nice to have Max with us as he was able to explain a bit more about Mosques and Islam.

We ended our temple tour with some bubble tea before the bus ride home.

Crossing the Road for tea

Crossing the Road for tea

A group of girls decided to see if the tea of the other side of the road was greener.

Finally, I want to leave you with an image of each student and their host.

Annie and Kiki

Annie and Kiki

Eddie and James

Eddie and James

Eli and Weslay

Eli and Weslay

Emily and Huangshen

Emily and Huangshen

Haglis and Paul

Haglis and Paul

Lily and Vivian

Lily and Vivian

Livy and Caroline

Livy and Caroline

Maddie and Serina

Maddie and Serina

Max and Adam

Max and Adam

Sohpie and Shirley

Sohpie and Shirley

The students are with their hosts for the night.

Tomorrow will be another busy day with a basketball game, Kung Fu, calligraphy, and an adventure up a mountain.

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