I had the most wonderful opportunity and experience over the last month that has kept me very busy. Teaching a group of students from all over Europe and in the greatest surprise, an entire group from the People’s Republic of China.
When first told that students from China would be included, I said, "You mean Taiwan, don’t you?" The answer was "No–from Communist China."
Immediately, thoughts of special agents disguised as tour guides accompanying the students and watching over their shoulders as they access normally censored sections of the Internet (anything criticizing their government or talking about Falun Gong) ran through my head. However, I learned a great deal from them and about them.
In their fashionable westernized clothing, which they now wear in their daily lives (there was just something funny at first about seeing them in Sean John attire), we were able to talk openly about their lives, customs and the way they view Americans.
They all had Ipod clones and were familiar with current American music pop stars.
They spoke extraordinary English (had been studying it since early grammar school) and could communicate extremely well with me, even understanding most American sarcasm and cliches.
They love Americans and had never been taught anything negative or critical about us or our government.
Mao is past history. He’s a few lines in their new textbooks and rarely mentioned otherwise. The new and improved Communist China concentrates on a modern, industrialized society…
Eliot’s former student Maia Lazar blogs: "A piglet was saved from the railroad tracks in England and is now being bottlefed every two hours and will make someone a great pet. Unfortunately for the piglet’s mother, she will end up being someone’s dinner which is very tragic. She literally gave birth to him en route to the slaughterhouse. Had it not been for her timing, the piglet would have been part of the bacon. And this is one of the many reasons why I can’t eat pork."