1) Visiting a school for the deaf.
2) Elizabeth and me on the Great Wall.
3) Dr. Bentler from Iowa was a VIP guest at a ceremony/banquet for a hearing aid company (and the rest of us were along for the ride).
4) Can you spot the Wal-Mart?
5) Twilight on Wangfujing, a pedestrian shopping street.
Chinese word of the day: 朋友 pengyou. Pengyou means "friend."
This past weekend I went to Beijing to visit my friend Elizabeth, who came to China for a week with a service project from University of Iowa. Elizabeth and I became good friends in grad school, and it sounded too good to be true when I heard that she would be coming to Beijing, just a train ride away from my home in Qufu. After the usual hassle of arranging travel, I went up and spent a few days in Beijing. Here were the highlights:
1) "Remember when...?". It was great to see a friend with shared memories and shared acquaintances. All of my China friends are fresh -- they don't know my past; they never met my family, visited my apartment, or took my same classes. There's no one here to share inside jokes and reminisces. So you can see why it was a blessing to hang out with a friend with a 3-year history instead of a 3-month history.
2) Wining and dining. Elizabeth and the two professors she was traveling with had been invited to collaborate with an ear-nose-throat doctor at a hospital. The hospital hosted them (and me, by proxy), and treated us right. Arrange a trip to the Great Wall? No problem. Pay for our Starbucks coffee break? Check. Did my hotel have carpet? Oh yes, it did. That's right, Qufu. I just spent a weekend in a city with carpet, coffee, and skyscrapers, and I liked it.
3) Speech pathology. It was fun to talk shop with the folks from the hospital and the professors from the University of Iowa. I spent 6 years in school for speech pathology, and I don't use it much these days, but last weekend I got to talk about voice, speech, language, and hearing to my heart's content. Speech pathology is apparently almost non-existent in China, and the host doctor at the hospital was excited to hear that I'm a speech pathologist. They don't have anyone to rehabilitate their voice/speech/language patients, and they were interested in hearing how we do it in the States.
Enough rambling from me. It was a fun trip; enjoy the pictures!