On this last day before the Spring Festival holiday, I think about my time in China. I have been fortunate to experience the Chinese culture, explore the amazing heritage and living culture that China is rich in. Much like Christmas and New Year in the west Chinese Spring Festival is a time for family, to show appreciation, to look back on the year and to wish for good blessings in the future. However, much like Christmas it has also become a race, a competition, a symbol of wealth in giving red envelopes and presents. There exists a plethora of unnecessarily intricately wrapped gifts and packages just for show. All that glitter and marketing, takes the focus away from what is really important; family, community, togetherness and unconditional love.
I love travelling in China and I love the customs, traditions and the heart of big celebrations. To see lion, dragon & drum dancers and to truly appreciate the performers skill and commitment to keeping such arts alive. Most of the performers who do these community shows are of a different generation than ours and deserve great appreciation. A few months ago I watched a puppet show in a small village in Zhanjiang showcasing the most beautiful handcrafted puppets with special made costumes. During the show a whole band of elders played traditional instruments during the dramatic scenes. It was the true embodiment of "living culture", but for all their efforts worth on that Friday evening, only a single handful of spectators had gathered (* see photos to the right).
It makes me both very appreciative to find these remnants of a different era, but also a little sad to think that these artistic skills handed down from generation to generation, might be at their last breath. I wish to encourage everyone, foreign and domestic to explore your heritage, your unique customs to show appreciation to the arts. In doing so, also prepare to take part in our upcoming "Festival of Colors" after the Spring Festival. This allows us to celebrate cultures and customs from all around China and the world. Further, if you have grandparents that performs or know of any traditionally skilled performers in China, please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to invite them to be part of our celebrations (March 12th - 23rd).
A thing that brings all of us at Hui Xin campus joy is our togetherness, community and cooperation. Both today at the "Dumpling-A-Thon" where many parents and grandparents are coming to join and back in January at the "Charity Drive". I want to tell all of you how incredible appreciative we are for your donations and contributions which has allowed the Charity Fund to help a little boy named Su An. We were able to pay part of the cost of his Necrotic Intestinal Surgery and subsequent treatments by clearing a financial debt with the Children's Hospital that the family had no chance to withstand. On February 8th, by approval of the representing parents from PN-206, K1-107 and K2-402 together with vice-principal Ms. Jessie Zhou we visited the family of Su An. Su An, her mother, father and 80 year old grandmother live together in severe poverty, with no means to carry the cost of their child's life saving operation and facing an impossible lifelong debt of paying back 67236.45 RMB to the hospital.
Together with Ms. Tracy Greene from the EAS charity group we successfully negotiated with hospital management to rid the family of its medical debt, to ensure further treatments of Su An and continue our charity work with the Suzhou Children's Hospital. By your donations of 50.000 RMB the Suzhou Children's Hospital promised to do theirs and rid the family of the remaining bill of 17236.45 RMB (67236.45 - 50000 RMB). It was a very happy day and even though the family lives in poverty, they have a fighting chance to improve their living conditions, the child Su An is at good health, recovering well and is loved unconditionally by his entire family.
When a community comes together in charity, nothing is more socially meaningful or educational! Thank you so much for helping us truly help children in need (* see photos to the right).
Today, Friday the 9th of February I look out my window and see parents & grandparents coming to campus to join their children in celebrating the Spring Festival and to make dumplings. Some children are even dressed in red or golden colors, as today is a spirit day, and clothes other than the uniform in colors red, yellow and golden is allowed.
I wave, I see you smile, children knock my window all the while I am finishing this letter of appreciation. I am so lucky, I got the best job in the world! I get to see happy children every day, to work together with caring parents and amazing teachers!
Thank you for an amazing year of the rooster! Let's make the year of the dog even better!
Xin Nian Kuai Le!
IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR THE COMING MONTH(S):
- February 10th - 25th (from/to & including): School is closed for the Spring Holiday.
- March 12th - 23rd: Festival of Colors theme weeks, parents/grandparents share customs and culture with the class (notice follows).
- March 24th: Parent / Teacher Meetings (for new students).
- April 5th - 8th (from/to & including): School is closed for Tomb Sweeping Holiday.
PS. We were very lucky and thankful to also be able to help one dog find a home at the Charity Drive. If any families are still interested to adopt a dog, please get in touch with me directly after the holiday.
HAPPY YEAR of the DOG
Anders S Christensen, principal
and the Hui Xin team!