Weekend Activities

We’ve had a great weekend of beautiful fall weather and great interaction with students.  Friday we took a long walk and enjoyed the sunny mid to high-70s day of colorful falling leaves.

Near the main gate of ZAFU

On campus

Students too enjoyed the sunny day

Fall at East Lake

Ducks on East Lake

Golden Gingo Trees

Flowers are still blooming

On our ZAFU Campus in November

Can this be China?

That night, Barry and I were invited to the 5th anniversary celebration of Crazy English, a group that meets to practice their English at six every morning and on one weekend night every week.  They talked me into performing with them — a song in Chinese (and I got kicked out of church choir when I was nine because the choir master didn’t think I could sing well — and that was in English!)  I said I would sing with the Crazy English group if they would sing loudly and I could sing softly.  So Barry and I were given a beautiful invitation, seats of honor, and I sang (softly)“Tian Mi Mi”  with my student Gloria and four other Crazy English performers in front of about 100 people.

Singing "Tian Mi Mi" with my student Gloria and other Crazy English students

It was actually quite fun.  If I stay here long enough, I might develop a talent. We enjoyed the performances even if we were not quite sure what was happening.  In the Cinderella skit, we think the mean stepmother ended up marrying the Edward Scissor-Hand character.

Cinderella Chinese Style

Ryan telling about the book that he and Becky have written

Funny Skits


Tea Ceremony Demonstration

We had fun.

On Saturday morning we caught the 8am teacher’s bus into Hangzhou.  We were hoping to see the changing leaves there too, but Lin’an since it is a higher elevation in the mountains has more color.  However,  the temperature was perfect for our walk at West Lake and our rambling around exploring more of Hangzhou.

Hangzhou Flowers in November

West Lake Visitors

West Lake

While we were in Hangzhou, we bought more movies that we can show the students for our Saturday evening movie and discussion sessions, found good mustard, and bought good cheese, which we haven’t found yet in Lin’an.  We made it back to campus in time to rush over for another movie night.  I’ve finally figured out how to start the movies (with all the Chinese instructions on the computer that has been a challenge), so we were able to begin on time.  More students are staying to chat after the movie too.

However, I was not really looking forward to our Sunday morning student event that I had agreed to.  One of my evening students had invited Barry and me out to eat with his girlfriend.  I didn’t want to set a president and then feel we needed to go out with each student, and besides, they are on student budgets.  So I said we would go if a whole group took us out.  Melo, my student,  said fine, and we could go with his classmates  for a barbecue.  He would let me know the details at movie night.  So last night when Melo said we were to meet at the main gate (a 20-minute walk) at 9 on Sunday morning, I was a little concerned.  He said his class would be coming, and we would be gone about three hours.  He said his classmates at the in-town campus don’t get to practice their English very much.  Melo wanted them to be able to talk to foreigners. Yikes!!  Three hours with people who don’t speak much English and with us not speaking Mandarin seemed like it would be a chore.  But I had said I would do it.  Barry reluctantly, but nobly, came too.

When we got to the main gate, Melo was waiting and said we would take the K7 bus into town where his classmates were waiting.  We had thought we were going to a restaurant outside the main gate, but he and his classmates had rented a bus, and we all went to Qing Mountain Lake outside Lin’an.

The K7 bus that we can catch outside the main gate to take us into Lin'an

They brought with them all sorts of meats and vegetables that we skewered and barbecued.

Qing Mountain Lake



They are freshmen, and it was their first class outing.  We had a wonderful time standing around talking and eating.

Business Majors

Barry enjoying grilled treats


Melo brought us back to our campus in the early afternoon.   We feel honored to have been included.




About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

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