The IPS team in China is now in Chengdu, southwest of Beijing. Chris Collier, head of the CFI Schools, has three words to describe the city: “We love Chengdu!” She and teacher Amy Wackerly will write about the work side of their journey. Today, Ann Mennonno — the new IPS Teacher of the Year – writes about another experience she will never forget.
June 20, 2013
We all have those top days in our lives that we cherish and want to hold onto forever. Today was one of those days for me. There was one thing Chris, Amy, and I were looking forward to the most during our visit in China and that was seeing the pandas in Chengdu. Today we met many pandas! There were several times that I had tears in my eyes because of the majestic nature of these creatures. I wished my students from CFI and my children could have been there to experience it with me. Amy and I were able FaceTime with our children so they could see the pandas with us – it wasn’t like being there but as good as we could get. Modern technology is wonderful sometimes.
The place we visited was called the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. This panda research facility is located in the northern suburb of Chengdu. It is a world renowned ecological conservation base that occupies an area of 100 hectares (over 247 acres.) Besides seeing the pandas we listened to the amazing calls of the peacocks and visited the red pandas. One red panda entered the walkway we were on and was just a couple feet from us. We all stood very still and quiet as it passed. What a beautiful animal it is! The joy this visit brought us today will stay with us forever. You can see more photos of the place we visited at www.ipanda.com .
Today we were introduced to Sichuan food. Very tasty! Being a vegetarian, I have enjoyed the wide range of vegetables offered including bamboo shoots, sweet potatoes, and the leaves of the sweet potato plant. Amy and Chris have enjoyed the chicken, beef, pork, and rabbit offered cooked with the many different sauces and vegetables. The food presentations are incredible. We like to photograph each meal because of the beauty of the presentation.
After a small rest in the afternoon (I’m really getting used to these rest times built in for us) we headed to an area in Chengdu called Jingli – folk custom street.
This is the oldest street area in Chengdu. Ancient wood, brick, and stone buildings house novelty shops, restaurants, and grab and go food vendors. We did it all I found several children’s books in Mandarin Chinese that I purchased to put in my classroom library – I know my students will love them! We had a wonderful treat while we were shopping. It was sticky rice mixed with pineapple and papaya served in the shell of a pineapple – so good! As the night came upon us the street lit up with lanterns and festive lights – very awe inspiring.
Our experiences today in Chengdu were incredible. We all fell quickly in love with this Chinese city.
Tomorrow we begin working in our partner school – Experimental Primary School of Sichuan University. We can’t wait to see our students again, this time in person!