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Marcellus grads travel to China

"During The Silence we spent time at the Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and we saw the Bird's Nest and the Ice Cube (2008 Olympic venues); they are really ready for the Olympics. I noticed they are not used to seeing so many college kids, teenagers at one time. They kept taking pictures of us and following us around a lot. They were staring and fascinated on how pale we were and blonde. Some said we reminded them of the actors from 'American Pie' - that is what they know from American media.

"At restaurants they gave us forks and spoons. We asked for chopsticks; we used them for the whole trip to the best of our ability. Pretty much all of the food was different. At one restaurant they knew we were Americans so they gave us fries. We had a grad student from Hong Kong, she started laughing. Putting fries in the middle of the table was really unusual.

"We went to a park in Guangzhou where old people were doing ballroom dancing. At one concert when we did side-by-side we heard the Chinese orchestra play their traditional instruments. One school, when we got off the bus, had a lion dance for us and drums. That was our welcome. When we played side-by-side with them they had a dragon dance also. I was bouncing up and down all the time; I was so excited. William, the little boy, acted as our spokesman. There would be a Chinese child who would wave; William would wave; we would wave. We called him our Little Ambassador.

"At every school we were welcomed and every school talked about improving relations. Our conductor also gave speeches. She was translated. She said that we could all make the same music idea even though we didn't know each others languages."

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