From the untamed to the cultured: what a day full of adventure it has been here in Shenzhen! We began the morning excited about our mountain hike, but had very little understanding of what kind of adventure truly awaited us. The mountains here in the south of China are dramatic and rugged, both lush and green, but steep, with deep ravines that divide the sides of the mountains into a series of hills and valleys. We, however, did not experience the gradual ups and downs of the rolling hills that formed the elegant mountain sides: instead we set our eyes to the horizon and our calves to the incline, for four hours, until we reached the summit of the mountain (the highest mountain in the range, that is), which was a feat that combined the intensity of the Great Wall of China with the choking humidity of Miami mid-summer (sans cooling ocean). This, my dear friends and family, was one of the most mentally and physically challenging days of the trip. But our students conquered it.
With little to no complaints, and full steam ahead, our students did an excellent job taking in the views and appreciating experience, despite the struggle. I am pleased to say that today was a proud day for me. We have such excellent students, and this trip has been nothing if not a steady reminder of that fact. I appreciate having the opportunity to know these people better, as well as seeing them handle difficulties with such ease. A proud day indeed.
We also had the pleasure today of having a new student to the Dragon community join us on our hike in the role of our guide. Jerry Zhu will be attending Middleburg Academy in the fall, and will be joining us as a sophomore who will graduate from the Academy in the spring of 2017. Jerry is a wonderful student, who has already been adopted as a member of the fold. Jerry’s family was kind enough to invite us to their home, where our students were able to practice their tea drinking they learned in Beijing with Jerry’s family. The Zhu’s then treated us to a lovely dinner, one of the most elegant and formal that many of our students have experiences. Here they enjoyed some of the best Cantonese food that Shenzhen has to offer, as well as witness many Chinese traditions, rites, and rituals surrounding meals. The Zhu family was too kind, and was a pleasure to get to know.
This has been an excellent trip thus far, and mostly because of our excellent students. Be proud of your children: they are the ones making this journey unforgettable.