Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vignettes from a World Traveler

On Education

I am home in the land of the free and the home of the braves (and the Washington Redskins). I ran into my old acquaintance Winona LaDuke down at Battery Park on Monday after marching the prior day in a 400,000 + person Climate March. She has always had so many common sense things to say about education. Today, as I flew for $201 (plus baggage fees!) from the Big Apple to the Mile High Metropolis, I read about First Amendment restrictions on reporters in our national parks and about a Colorado county where they want to revise the textbooks to, possibly, erase Caesar Chavez and the browner parts of our sordid history from the books.

I get lots of questions about education in China, where the scrubbed version of history is the status quo, but have to wonder if the same thing is happening here. First they attacked science (climate change and evolution), which they continue to do. Now the crazies are on to new subjects.

As some of you know, part of this five week stint in America includes ten days of taking two Chinese students and a group of about nine parents on a tour of prep schools. This will bring me back to the East from LA on October 1 and includes a sojourn to St. Paul's School and the Academy, as we Exonians pretentiously refer to our alma mater.

On blogging

One thing I have enjoyed on my trip home is the relative availability of free WiFi and not having to use a VPN to access the New York Times, where, a couple days ago, I read China Clamps Down on Web, Pinching Companies Like Google. That has led to my blogging less over the last few months. It just takes too long to upload photos. It has been fun to be back. I ran into a couple of people on the march who I had not seen in a decade or two. One bemoaned the diminution in my blogging. I may try to do a bit more when I get back, but an earlier post announced that I was cutting back.

Self-Indulgence (aka Updates on Yours Truly)

I have joined the International Festival Chorus (IFC) and am considering taking a 茶道 class, which will both consume a fair bit of time. I will sing Handel's Messiah, which happens to be my favorite piece of music, in both Beijing and Tianjin!

I have turned forty on this trip and this trip home has included staying in a different bed nearly every night so far, often with friends who have kids in the range of four to ten. I am feeling a bit behind and badgered by those who ask when I will come home. I will! But not yet. I am not done. There is more that I want to see and learn about these people on the other side of the world.