Way back in October, when the leaves were still on the trees and it wasn’t -6F outside, my parents came to visit. Their visit coincided with China’s national holiday, so most of the time I was on break and was able to tour around Beijing, Shanghai, and Harbin with them. (Check out my photos of Beijing and Shanghai, my photos of Harbin, and my mom’s photos here).
I only had one class while they were in Harbin visiting – a section of Newspaper Reading for Junior English majors and this section just happens to be 25 girls. I had them write up questions and interview my parents. Here’s some snippets of student reflections after interviewing:
“At the first sight of the special guests, I was amazed by the atmosphere around them. What an elegant lady and what a handsome and tall sir.”
“The two special guests are Sarah’s parents. They are both very kind Americans. And the most impressive thing was that the father was very, very tall. As soon as he came into the classroom everybody in the room just cried out: “Wow, how tall he his.”
“The special guests impress me very much. I like them very much. They are humorous. Father is well-read, he is reading Sun Zi. Mother likes gardening. She has a big flower garden and a vegetable garden. She also admires Obama. She said she surfs the Internet to see what he is doing everyday. That’s fantastic and interesting.”
“When I talked to them I found that they were very kind and friendly. I knew that they like China and think China has a long history. And 1.3 million Chinese people impressed them very much because they went to Shanghai fro the Expo and found that there were so many people.”
Some commented on the difference between American families and Chinese families, like D:
“American parents do not expect their children too much. They leave them more personal space and freedom. They would be happy if their children choose what they want.
“American children/kids are the same as Chinese children. For example, little Sarah played with the toys, such as mummy bear, father bear and the baby bear. That is the same game. It is called Guo Jiajia or Play house.”
“First, they are very friendly. They are very amiable parents, I think. Through this short interview, I find that your family is not like what I saw on the American movie. In the movie, they are very open. Whereas I think your family is traditional and it is not very different from Chinese.”
The students were really so thankful to have you visit their class, mom and dad!
“They are very kindly and warmly to answer any of our questions. They love their daughter very much. Their impression on China is very good, they both said China is very great country with a long history.”
“Their way of answering question is very unique, they didn’t avoid any question. They answered each question clearly and specifically. The stories they recalled about their daughter did in her childhood were very interesting.”
…Thankfully none of the stories were too embarrasing!
And one student, Y, wrote a book:
“As Sarah’s parents coming into the classroom we were shocked. “How tall Mr. Brown is!” Everyone murmured. After a brief introduction, the class began the “asking-answering” activity.
“From the interview – I knew that Sarah’s parents cares about Sarah very much. They will never push Sarah to do anything if she doesn’t want to. Also they showed their no-worry feelings for their daughter working in China because it is very safe here. As to whether they could accept a Chinese son-in-law, they say they would respect Sarah’s choice. (Haha. In a class of 25 girls… it’s not surprising that they’d ask about this!)
“It was very exciting to have foreign guests although sometimes we couldn’t express ourselves clearly and we didn’t know what exactly was appropriate. But we were thankful for having Sarah’s parents in our class. We liked them as much as we like Sarah.”