My experiences this weekend have exceeded any expectation I could have imagined.
Weifang University celebrated its 60th anniversary on Sunday #60isanimportantnumber, and Drs. Cambiano and Carhart came into town for the occasion. Not only did I have the companionship of the NSU girls and the professors from NSU, I was able to enjoy the attend the celebration and evening concert as one of the honored guests.
The celebration began at 10 AM Sunday morning. The ceremony took place at the ‘playground’ #akathestadium, and the setup was different than any I’d seen- all the students were sitting on their #tiny stools in lines on the field #biggerthanafootballfield, and the speakers and guests were sitting in the stands facing the field. The students all had on polos by section- there were two sections of pink, two of yellow, and two of blue #itlookedawesome. There were more than 30 honored guests and dignitaries at the celebration– representatives of partner universities, politicians, and of course the Party official. Dr. Cambiano gave a speech #hadatranslator and the students loved it #loudestcheer. After several #like20 other speakers, we went to lunch with members of CIBT, Weifang University, and the partner universities.
At lunch, Madison and I ate sea cucumbers #pricklybutnotaste and chatted with the gang.
The evening celebration was a concert. By concert, I don’t mean a show on a football field. I mean BOK size, full light show, complete with fireworks concert. There were 21 acts, all famous #inChina people. There was dancing. There was singing. There was banter #didn’tunderstandbutitwasstillcool. There wasn’t an empty seat #atleast35000peoplethere.
Because it was pretty dang cold outside, Hayley and I went to the bathroom to try and warm up #walkaround. As we were leaving the arena, all the students started waving and yelling ‘HIIII!’ at us #hundredsatonce. That was a sight I won’t soon forget #ofcoursewewavedback. As we were walking by the stage, I def made a peace sign at the singer and he peace signed back. Awesomeness.
The highlight of my evening #intermsofrandomness was when Hayley and I started doing calisthenics in the grass near the bathrooms to warm up, which turned into the two of us having a dance party when a funky song started playing #sweetdancemoveswereawin. We warmed up and went back to the concert #andentertainedeveryonewaitinginline. My favorite act in the concert was a woman who sat at a two-tiered electric keyboard that also had foot pedals and played them all at once. While singing.
I’ve tried to describe the epicness of these events, but I haven’t begun to do them justice. As with most of my experiences in China, the events are just incomparable to anything else I’ve ever witnessed. Once-in-a-lifetime-events, check. SO glad to be here for this celebration!