FROM CHINA WITH LOVE
A short while back my
wife and I hosted four exchange students from China. The purpose
of the hosting program is to allow foreign students to become
acquainted with American customs and American way of life. Our
purpose in participating in the program was to enrich the experiences
of the students while in the United States rather than having them spend
most of their time on campus entirely among themselves. Most of those in
academia will tell you that China always sends its best students to
participate in exchange programs. Our four students were not an
exception to this practice, however, what we didn't expect was that our
four students would be among the nicest persons we have ever met.
All four students were delightful in every way - friendly to a fault,
helpful in every way possible, and bubbling over with enthusiasm for
every event that we proposed as a joint venture
While the students we hosted were very happy with the program and
the experiences we provided, my wife and I feel that we were the ones
that gained the most from our interaction with these four wonderful
young people. We would be very happy to call any one of them or all four
of them our own. They are terrific good-will ambassadors for
their country as well as bringing honor to their families back home. If a
university near you has such a program we strongly suggest that you
volunteer to become a host family.
Below and on the other two pages are a few samples of the many hundreds
of photos from the various events we participated in with our four
THE CAST OF CHARACTERS
YU WANG. Yu
is currently completing a Ph.D. in engineering. He has a great
sense of humor and always had our group in stitches with
laughter. He was not only very helpful to us in
carrying out the various activities we had planned, he also assisted
the other students in any way he could. His parents are very
fortunate to have such a son. Despite his infectious humor, Yu is
a serious, mature person that other students look up to and we consider
to be fully adult in every way.
UPDATE: Yu is continuing his Ph.D. program but now has a full
load of teaching also. Because he is occupied almost all the time
his new nickname is "Mr. Busy."
UPDATE II: We can't call him "Mr. Busy" anymore, we must call him
Dr. Yu! He has finished his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and
is now employed by a company in California.
JIALE LYU. Jiale
is about to complete an undergraduate degree in computer science.
Our nickname for Jiale is 'Braveheart'. It is a nickname well
suited for her for because she is absolutely without fear. She
was always willing to try anything among our activities, even those
that the rest of us approached with trepidation. Jiale has no
brothers or sisters and her grandparents and mother are no longer with
us, leaving only her father as her family. She is very quiet when you
first meet her, but when you get to know her well you are envious of
her father for having such a fine daughter.
In addition to being both beautiful and courageous, Jiale has a sweet
and loving personality. Following are excerpts from letters
Jiale sent to us after returning to China - I really appreciate
that we know each other. You and granny have taught me a
lot. Like how to love people, always think of others. You
impressed me a lot by your braveness, your love and respect for each
other, your generosity, your kindness, your energetic and active
hearts. Every time we left your house, you and granny stood there
and said goodbye to us. That moved me a lot. That reminds me of my
grandpa every time I left for school. When we left you, I tried so hard
not to let my tears drop down. Wherever I go, you are always my
dearest grandparents in the world. I will try my best to come back to
visit you. You are my motivation for going forward. - You guys always
appear in my dreams. Sometimes I feel like I have known you for years,
but it's just three months. I feel like we just had dinner in your
house yesterday, but three months have already passed away. I miss you
and granny so much-no less than how I miss my grandfather when he left
me. - When I look at the photos we took together, those happy memories
come back to my mind, which makes me feel that I am still in them.
After I realize that it's all over, I feel disappointed and start
missing everything and everyone there. And I miss granny and gpa the
most. If time can be back, I will treasure every second when being with
you. - I really miss the days we spent together, miss the beautiful
garden, miss granny's delicious food, miss you and granny most!
Although I can't be with you, I will always think of you. You live in
my heart. When you miss me, just think that your granddaughter is
missing you on the other side of the world at the same time.
UPDATE: Jiale has competed her degree in computer science and
beat out others for a position with a company in China due to her
excellent English skills.
UDATE II: Jiale has been accepted at a very prestigious university in Boston, one of the
very best in the U.S. They tell you on their web page not to
apply unless you are a straight A student, and even then you only have
only a 50% chance of being accepted. Congratulations Jiale!
UPDATE III: Jiale has begun work on her master's degree in
Boston, and as you can see from her last photo, this once cute little
girl has grown up to be a stunningly beautiful young lady.
SIYI ZHANG. Siyi
is just now completing an undergraduate degree in biology. Like
Yu, she has a great sense of humor with laughter ready to come forth
from that beautiful smile at any moment. Because of that, she
quickly earned the nickname Good-humor girl. Her English
proficiency is top-notch, which was a good thing for us because she is
a super conversationalist. My wife and I talked with her for
hours about a wide variety of subjects and always came away impressed
by this very remarkable young lady. Since returning home, her
emails have been just as entertaining and delightful as her in-person conversations.
UPDATE: Siyi has completed her degree in biology and is now
pursuing a master's degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Case
Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio. As Yu says, "She
has a powerful brain."
UPDATE II: Siyi has completed her master's degree and has applied
for positions in her career field at a number of institutions.
She is awaiting results from a number of organizations before making an employment choice.
UPDATE III: Siyi has accepted a position at Johns Hopkins, the
number one rated employer in her career field. The best will be
working for the best!
UPDATE IV: Siyi's career continues to skyrocket upward. Due
to her outstanding work record and very impressive resume, she has now
been employed by a very prestigious company. You've not heard the last of this amazing
UPDATE V: Her new company has given her a significant raise in pay and several bonuses. Good going
UPDATE VI - The Visit. In July of 2023, Siyi's parents made a
one-month visit to America. Siyi acted as a tour guide, driving
her parents to New York, the Statue of Liberty and many other places,
including a three-day visit with Granny and Gpa in Ohio.
Her parents were pleasantly surprised to find that the little girl that
they hadn't seen in many years had grown up to be a competent,
take-charge young lady that can capably handle any task that comes her
way. She made all flight arrangements for her family and provided
written guidance to assist them along the way. No
professional tour guide could have done better. While with
us, we introduced her parents to common American treats, apple pie and
cherry pie, desserts they don't have in China (Come on China, you can
go to the moon, so let's get with pie for dessert!).
Unfortunately, her parents aren't eligible for retirement yet, so had
to return to China and immediately commence working as did Siyi.
We hope we can see them again not too far in the future.
We first sponsred Siyi in 2016.
Since that time she has become a beloved member of our family and has
visited us many times over the years. To see more photos of Siyi click here.
MENGQIAO YE. Mengqiao
is a music major. Mengqiao was very shy when we first met
her, but when we got to know her better we found that she has a very
sweet personality and is a very enjoyable young lady to have as a
friend. She also has a good sense of humor, is very smart, kind,
and has a pleasing personality. She always has a smile on her
face and is friendly with everyone she meets. After she became
better acquainted with us her shyness disappeared and she participated
fully in all our activities including ziplining, golf, bullet-making,
SU and RODGER CARTER. Also known as Granny and Gpa.
In October of 2016 we had our first dinner with our students. It
included a tour of our tree house pirate ship. To see photos of
the pirate ship under construction go to our front page and click on
the Jolly Roger photo.
Captain's Quarters and Remains of Black Bart the Pirate (His ghost still haunts the ship)
Siyi, Jiale, Mengqiao and Yu ascend the ship's ladder to the upper deck
They made it back to shore safely
The EnterTRAINment Junction is located in west Chester Ohio north of
Cincinnati. Billed as the the world's only railroad-themed
family entertainment center, EnterTRAINment Junction offers an indoor
train display of 25,000 square feet with more than two miles of track
and 90 operating model trains depicting every era of American
Granny, Siyi, an unidentified clown, and Jiale
Towns and cities are constructed in extraordinary detail
Each era throughout our country's history is depicted
Golfing in China is very expensive and few young people ever get to do
at least on a regular basis. My wife and I do golf regularly
and we have a friend who is a golf instructor. As with
all our proposed activities, our four exchange students did not
hesitate to say yes when asked. We were able to schedule golfing
three different occasions along with many other events during the times
students were available on weekends.
Yu, Siyi and Jiale with professional golfing instructor Ron Hardwick of the Miami Valley Golf Academy
Air Force Museum Day
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located a few
miles east of Dayton, Ohio on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It
contains many hundreds of aircraft from the early days of flying up
through the current era as well as space exhibitions and many items
related to flying and space technology. Admission is free.
Simulator. It rolls and turns upside down while you try to shoot
down enemy planes. Jiale was the only one of us with the courage
to try it. According to the operator, the average score of enemy
planes shot down is three. Jiale scored ten enemy planes shot
Located in Columbus, Ohio, COSI (the Center of Science and Industry) is
a science center serving more than 30 million visitors since 1964.
Parents Magazine recently named COSI the #1 Science Center for Families
in the country. COSI brings science to life with more than 300
interactive exhibits throughout discovery-based and themed exhibition
areas, which include: Ocean, Space, Gadgets, Life, little kidspace,
WOSU@COSI, Progress, and Big Science Park. The exhibition areas provide
experiences for all age levels to creatively combine science facts and
learning through play.
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