Our first weekend in China, and we were lucky enough to get invited on a tour to Anji, hosted by the Cicely Language School in Taicang. Wolke, friends with Cicely and an employee of Schaeffler, invited a group of her coworkers to join the tour among which our very own Patrick. We soon learned that the Chinese – well, especially this group – are a very inclusive people, ready to share their customs, language, and land with all who are interested.

So at 5:00am on June 9th, we proceeded to drive to Taicang where we were met by a bubbly Cicely handing out name tags and jaozi (breakfast food in China: dumplings). The energy level of Chinese at the crack of dawn is just astounding. I don’t think these people really “rest” – that is, in the Western sense of the word – from the moment they wake till the moment they sleep. There were at least 6 different martial art/dance forms being practiced in the park where we met the tour group, from taichi to kongfu to a special folk dance with flags (still have to learn the names). As soon as we entered the bus, there were ice-breaker games, team activities, and singing. It was easy to build group rapport, as the Chinese members were proactive and so authentic in socializing with complete strangers. I think I am beginning to understand why socialization, groups, etc are so invigorating for them – they really bond with each other instantaneously and become friends. There was an incident at the end of Saturday night where a few people got hurt during a competition. The feelings running through the group were so human – I had this wonderful sense of global love for all people understanding that no matter where we come from, we are all alike and have the same sensations.

So as can been recognized by my portrayal, I was much more affected by the people and cultural incidences on the trip than the sights we saw. Those were of course interesting as well. The bamboo forest was especially beautiful. I will never forget the evening grilling among the bamboo trees – frog legs, heads, and all. But much more than that, I will never forget the kind and generous Chinese friends with whom we shared our first weekend.

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MrsHaley(13. June 2007)

Though I am not looking forward to not seeing you guys for the next 2 years, I AM looking forward to being able to hear all the details about your new life on this blog! I will be one of your most loyal readers. :) I will be thinking about you lots while you make this initial transition. I hope it continues to go as well as it seems so far. I love you both! Rosie & Rob say HI! ~Maggie

Maggie Haley(13. June 2007)

Mags, thanks so much for your note. And thanks for reading! We will be in the States this summer end of July/Aug, but I don't think we will make it to Hershey area - will be in NY, Philly, and then NC. Keep in touch. Much love, B

Selma(13. June 2007)

I'm so happy that you're blogging 'the amazing adventures of B&P'!! The photos are gorgeous and it sounds absolutely facinating - you describe everything so that I want to be there beside you, exploring and smelling! I now have something to look forward to reading :) xx Selma p.s Perfume is one of my fav books - can't wait to hear what you think of it x

Nadja(13. June 2007)

Hi B&P!! The weblog is such a great idea! I enjoyed reading your postings very much and I have to say, that you should consider a new career as a writer. Can't wait to read more about your new life! Bussi N. PS: Hanzi just loves to read weblogs, so we are both going to become "regulars"


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