Welcome to Xi’an, officially
This weekend the Gould students had a wonderful time with their host families. The families provided an excellent experience for our students, sharing different aspects of Chinese culture and daily life.
Donnie went to a Famen Park, a Buddhist temple outside the city some distance by car. Victor and Nick walked around the historic sites of the Drum and Bell Towers and the City Wall with their hosts. Victoria went out to the cinema with her host family and watched a very popular film. Matt went to a light and music fountain show at the second largest water fountain in Asia near the Big Goose Pagoda. Elise and Ellie saw pandas after visiting the Great Mosque. It was wonderful to be with the students once again!
This afternoon was the official welcome ceremony, which lasted for over two hours. There is a Japanese school, Asahiogaoka High School of Japan, also here on their student exchange. This school is located near Tokyo. Speeches were made by each school, and school gifts were presented. Gould presented Xi’an with a large, signed poster print of Richard Blanco’s poem “One Today” from the Presidential Inauguration.
Performances of music, sports, and dance completed the program. There were approximately 3,000 students at the welcome ceremony. We were proud of the way our students jumped in and participated in the demonstration of sumo wrestling.
In the evening the host families for both the Japanese and American students and the school officials all went out to a banquet. The food was tasty and plentiful. Ellie made a speech to the group on behalf of the American students. Victor translated for her and made the crowd awestruck with his fluent Chinese. After the meal the Japanese Sumo athletes lifted their American counterparts. Clearly, we’re all becoming friends with one another.
Tomorrow we are off to see the famous Terracotta Warriors!