Monday, July 09, 2007

Fireflies and Highlights

Today was just one biiiiiiiggggg highlight. We started our day at 9:00 on campus, and Uris Hall 141 was alive with chatter with the 30 participants, from all over the US - mostly women - teachers with from one to 30 years of teaching experience.

Everyone had to stand and give a two-minute introduction, and I'm telling you, these are 30 well-traveled people. About a third of us have been to China, two were born in China, and one was born in Taiwan (her mother is afraid she is being brainwashed by The China Institute).

After introductions, Ron Knapp, our main professor, lectured for about 80 minutes on China's geography. He was GREAT, to our relief. He is very engaging, uses many anecdotes and the latest technology. We sit in a room of three tiers, in very comfortable padded swivel chairs. Throughout the seminar, we will have many guest lecturers, from Harvard, Stanford, etc.

After the lecture, we got a tour of campus and then I came back and took a very deep long nap, the kind where you are in an ocean of sleep, for two hours. Then we had a reception dinner - a Chinese feast - at a restaurant down the street from Columbia. Afterwards, about eight of us walked through Central Park, then went to a local Cuban bar for pitchers of half price mojitos. It's so much fun to sit and talk with people who love to travel and teach and learn, etc. These people have major connections to scholarships, etc., so one girl says she is going to make a website with tips from everyone, combined.

A particular highlight, as part of this all-day highlight, was seeing all of the fireflies lighting up the park. I have never seen fireflies before.

Great day, but I am tired. I didn't sleep last night because I had that first day of school nervousness. I am going to love the next four weeks, though. These people are interesting and fun and want to do everything New York.


Dad said...

I'm so pleased to hear that your lecturer was engaging; that sets a good tone for the weeks to come. It sounds like you will leave with a whole new group of friends (again).

The Norris Clan said...

I am sure that Kristi is drooling over the idea of your half-price mojito pitchers! Yum. Your group sounds like so much fun... too bad you can't wrap up your trip with a jaunt to China! I'm sure you will be itching to go back...

Brian Bowker said...

Love the pictures of the architecture! Looks like scenes from a movie (probably because it has been!)

Devon said...

Sounds right up your alley; good food, good people, and a great adventure.