China Team Journal

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July team arrives in Kunming!

Thought for the day "Better to have a friend on the road than gold and silver in your purse."

Journal by: SUSAN MORGAN

Whether from a touch of nervousness or just too many raisin biscuits, I had no appetite for breakfast as I struggled to get ready on time. Our first meal together as a complete team was fast approaching and I just couldn‘t seem to wake up. The evening before, Anna and I had met Warren Williams, our team leader; as well as Anne Benaquist and Gretchen Webster.

Upon arriving at the second floor dining room and meeting the other two volunteers, Claudia Bailey and Lynn Murry, my appetite returned. Te Golden Springs Hotel breakfast buffet offered everything that a hungry Global Volunteer could ever want first thing in the morning. My choice of fried egg, Chinese greens, and tiny boiled potatoes tasted delicious. Topped off with two cups of coffee, I was ready to go.

After breakfast, we regrouped in a conference room and began introducing ourselves. Team leader, Warren Williams, started off with a fascinating account of his life story.

When our team created a list of personal goals (three per volunteer), they read as follows:
1. to form friendships with local people, to meet new friends, to get to know other volunteers, and their experiences, to learn about lives, to be an ambassador;

2. to develop new (teaching) methods, to learn about the schools and education system in China, to share English teaching skills, to assess teachers;

3. to learn more about China, to speak Chinese, to experience Kunming, to see beautiful natural sights, to observe Chinese culture and people; and

4. To change a life, to help others.

The characteristics of a good team/team member read as follows: thoughtful speech, flexibility, respect, open mind, acceptance, listening, focus, humor, sharing, patience, energy, support, non-judgmental, and punctual

Later, just a short walk around the hotel, we shared a wonderful dinner at ―Jordan‘s Café. Beautiful decorated plates of squid, sticky rice shaped as mice (minus the tails), sliced barbequed pork, breaded pumpkin (a team favorite), and a tureen of mutton bubbling in spicy broth. With good food and better company, I was feeling utterly relaxed and enjoying the moment, walking back to the hotel amid the sights and sounds of Kunming in early evening, I was reminded of Warren‘s daily directive, ― It has been a good day…and tomorrow will be a good day too!!