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News about Hangzhou and China

News about Hangzhou and China
Pertinent news about Hangzhou and China from the Shanghai Daily

Friday, March 23, 2018

Handwriting and Medicine: Angry Confuigi Style

Elizabeth (Liz)

Quote of the day

           What's the character for sesame?
                                                    - Iona

Greetings everyone!

For those of you who didn't know I was sick last week (which yes totally sucked because I legitimately sounded like Beloved, ugh!) But it did give me a chance to try some weird medicine, that Caroline's mom bought for me (which was SO sweet of her!!!). First was this weird flower paste called Chuan Bei Pipa Gao. It came in a jar and was almost as thick as molasses but definitely did not taste like it. It honestly worked though, I could feel it coating my sore throat and soothing it. The other weird thing I tried was pear with rock sugar. This is honestly genius because it worked, the first day I did this I did not cough nearly as much. It in a way was like natural cough syrup. I was very sweet and warm and I wasn't sure if it was gonna do anything but boy was I surprised. This too decreased my coughing, which was nice. But now I am better so I don't need any more medicine, which is also quite nice.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Green Eggs and Ham, Meet Your Competition

As you may know, the Sisterhood has finally arrived in Hangzhou! But does that mean we are no longer busy? No. No it does not.

So far the food in Hangzhou has been nothing short of exemplary. We have definitely not been eating as much eggplant (which Mrs. Waterman and I love so much) but we have been trying many new kinds of food. Take yesterday, for example. I had 3 amazing opportunities to try the Hangzhou cuisine: once at our “Welcome Banquet” for lunch, another at our cooking class, and a third at dinner with my host family. Let’s start with the Welcome Banquet.

The Welcome Banquet comprises of many faculty members from the school, including the Vice Principal, a Dean of the institution, and two teachers involved in the program. The staff was responsible for ordering the meal, and one of the dishes in the meal was sweet lotus with sticky rice. This particular dish is a Hangzhou delicacy, and essentially tastes like rice and syrup (so basically syrup), which is absolutely delicious. From the Welcome Banquet we proceeded to our cooking class.


This was our first weekend in Hangzhou and the sisterhood (minus Liz since she was taking a sick day) met at the South Gate of Hanggao to hang out with Mr. William for the day! We finally learned that there was a difference when using Hanggao vs Hangzhou, Hanggao refers to the school and Hangzhou refers to the city; Hanggao is short for Hangzhou Gaozhong (Hangzhou High School)- so in English it’s a nickname for Hangzhou High School. The more you know!

Mr. William teaches English at the international high school, but was happy to show us around and took the three of us to Liying temple first thing in the morning. Liying temple was an amazing site with loads of running water and pretty stones and greenery everywhere, and people! So many people were coming to the top of the Liying garden to burn incense and to pray to the numerous statues. Everything was done in sets of three, and so we took three sticks of incense and bowed three times in the direction of whichever statue we chose to pray to.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Don't Miss the Photos!

Mr Viz
It's been great reading all the exciting posts and watching the VLOGs of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Silk Pajamas.  But if you haven't been clicking on the 2018 Photo Album link at the right, you've been missing tons of fantastic photos as well as some additional short videos!

Ms Waterman just posted quite a few new pictures of the first days at Hangzhou High School.  Go to the end of the Photo Album to see those.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Universal Language

Today was a very special day for me. The morning started off slowly, but the afternoon and evening were fast-paced and exhilarating.

Today was the day the Sisterhood would visit Hangzhou High School’s new campus, located more on the outskirts of the city. Before going to the new campus, Liz, Iona, and I all went to class with our host sibling. Henry (my host brother), took me to his chemistry. I could understand the elements the teacher wrote on the board, but I completely forgot how to solve the types of problems written on the board. Once the class was over, the Sisterhood was off to the new campus.

The new campus finished construction in 2015, is consisted on an international school (150 students) and boarding school (400 students per grade), and is an extension of the downtown campus. I was very impressed by what I saw. The international school alone was larger than our high school, and the school campus was twice the size of ours (which I would expect considering the amount of students that go there). However, on the tour we were given, we were brought to an astronomy building which had a room that displayed the constellations above our heads. As a reference, the room was similar to the astronomy tower in the museum of science.

[VLOG#27] Outing to Lingyin Temple

(Video only)

Friday, March 16, 2018

Our Arrival in Hangzhou

Ms Waterman
We have arrived in Hangzhou! Our last sleeper train of the trip brought us to the Hangzhou train station on Wednesday morning at 9:00 where we were met on the platform by teachers from the school. What a treat it was to find them so easily! We were driven directly to Hangzhou High School and our visit officially began.

When we stepped out of the car, we were handed huge bouquets of lillies and greeted by administrators and also our exchange students- Peter, Caroline, and Henry. The kids were all so excited to see each other and I was so glad to meet the Hangzhou team which has helped organize our trip. After a brief welcome meeting with the head of school, administrators, and Dana (the exchange teacher from the fall), we took a tour of the school grounds. Like DS, the school has a few different buildings: administration, classrooms, teacher offices, senior student study space, and a canteen. The students watched us excitedly and waved from their classrooms as we walked down hallways of open doors and windows (it was quite warm and humid - 70 F!), and we were told that there are about 50 students in each classroom and 600 per grade. Since this school is grades 10-12, there are about 1,800 students- many more than at DS! The students wear uniforms that look like track suits with specific color strips on the legs: red for grade 10, blue for grade 11, and orange for grade 12.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Great Wall of China

Elizabeth (Liz)
Phew...Its taken me awhile to get this down because oh boy its a lot. This morning we were still tired from last night so we slept in late (yikes!) But it was still okay because we were able to get up quickly and eat breakfast. Afterwards Kelby, Mrs. Waterman and I (Iona stayed in today because she was sick) all went with Kelly to the Jade Market. It was actually really cool to see how they polished and carved the jade. Jade can come in many forms like agate but the most popular jadite and the harder the stone the more expensive. Also real jade will look like cloudy glass and will be cooler to the touch than fake jade.

Kelly then took us to the secret road which contained the tombs of emperors and empresses of the Ming dynasty. Apparently according to Kelly the mountains surrounding the tombs were named in accordance to Feng Shui.

[VLOG#26] Beijing Day 4

(Video only)

Beijing Day 4 and Off to Hangzhou

The Sisterhood met Kelley downstairs with their bags and belongings at 8:30 am and set out for another day in Beijing! We would later be boarding an overnight train that would take us to Hangzhou- and the second leg of this trip- but for the majority of the day, we would be spending it in Beijing.

Our first stop was the Olympic Village, the arenas and space that was built for hosting the 2008 Olympic Games! It was really quite a site to see given and extremely impressive to see how the government had managed to build such an impressive layout given the already heavily populated and developed city. We learned that those who had been living in that area were given a substantial amount of compensation for cooperating and also would be relocated on the government’s dime. After the initial grandness of the entire place wore off, we found ourselves asking how does the government maintain usage of these facilities? Tremendous work beginning in 2002 had gone into modelling and building this area, but was it still used? Kelley informed us that the swimming pool was still used for competitions, and the Birds Nest received publicity as it is a very impressive stadium; yet the Village’s primary function was still to serve as a tourist site. Kelbs, Liz, and I soon fell into conversation about the value of hosting the Olympic Games and how many benefits (beyond the publicity) does it bring to the nation. Was it really worth it or not..?

Monday, March 12, 2018

[VLOG#25] Beijing Day 3

(Video only)

A Royal Day

Ms Waterman
Today, we visited the Temple of Heaven which is quite close to the Forbidden City in the center of Beijing. It’s located in a huge park where we witnessed the daily morning exercises that local Beijingers gather to do. Other than us, all of the participants were of retirement age. We jumped onto a few machines to stretch and do some basic movements while watching everyone around us perform a variety of exercises: group dancing, static and kinetic stretching, sit-ups, pull-ups, gymnastics high bar flips, and more. I love this structure of exercising because it clearly promotes healthy activity (the people doing flips and chin-ups were much stronger than me!) and community interactions.

Once we had limbered up a bit, we walked through the grounds of the Temple of Heaven. Built in 1420, it was used by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties to pray for good harvests for their people. The grounds of the temple are three times larger than the Forbidden City which, having just visited that huge site, is impressive! The temple itself is a unique shape among the many other temples that we have seen in China because this temple is round and three levels high. Why round? The temple is round because the Chinese belief is that the heavens are round and the Earth is square. The temple roof has three layers of painted carvings: blue (heavens), yellow (emperor), and grey (common people). I loved the painted carvings of dragons and phoenixes on the walls surrounding the temple. We’ve learned that these two animals can have a few meanings: dragon is male and phoenix is female, or a dragon means power and a phoenix symbolizes longevity.