Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Karina, Elaine's Exchange Student

      On this special day, we met our daughter Elaine's host student, Karina, in Shenzhen.  It has been a very special occasion for us to meet her before Elaine does.  We were so surprised that she and her family only live less than 10 miles north of us.  We met them on July 9th for the first time.  Karina, her parents, and sister came to pick us up at Luohu and took us to "Fusion Japan" for dinner.  Fusion Japan is the largest Japanese Restaurant in Asia.  The food was excellent, the atmosphere was great!  We looked forward to getting to know them.

     Karina speaks excellent English.  She attends the Shenzhen International Boarding School that uses English as their first language.  She's 15 years old and is a vivacious girl.  The school bus takes her to the boarding school which is in the northwest part of town on Sunday afternoon.  She comes home Saturday afternoon.  Since she's been living in a boarding school, I think she'll adjust to the life in the US a lot easier than most other exchange students who have never left home for such a long period of time.

    Karina has an eleven year old sister named Beauty.  She attends a regular public school and is learning English now.  It won't take her long to master the language though.  She takes art and music lessons.  Her dad says the driver takes her to school early in the morning, picks her up after school, then takes her to all the extracurricular activities.  She doesn't come home until 8 or 9 PM each night.  She also has some homework to do once she's home.

    Mr. Wong is a well-educated person.  From what he told us, I think he is a land developer in Shenzhen, but was a government official who has lived in many places in China.  He loves taking his family for road trips and visiting far away places as well.  They have been to so many places in the world.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Wong are very friendly people and seem to be very focused on the education of their two daughters.  They also showed great respect for old people like us.  Needless to say, they were concerned about their daughter going to a place 8000 miles away for 10 months and were very relieved to know us.  They don't speak much English so our conversation was mostly in Chinese.  We were able to answer many of their questions and ease their minds.  They insisted that we get together again before Karina leaves in August.

     Our second meeting was on Wednesday, July 27, our day off.  The Wong's took us to the Shengzhen shore first.  It's right across the sea from Sha-To-Kok near where we live.  It was a beautiful beach, except it was hot.  Even though we left at 8 AM, it got hot very quickly.  We saw a few people fishing.  One of the fellows had just caught a cuttle fish.  It was so beautiful.  Mr. Wong was able to get the guards to let us into their office to rest and had something cold to drink.  Wow, he knows a lot of people.  We were then treated with the Hong Kong style "dim sum", complete with "ru ge" or roast pigeon, a delicatessen in this part of the country.  Luckily there were only 4 pieces on the dish.  Elwin and I shared one.  It tasted like a capon.  We also had at least 10 other dishes.  They were small servings, but all delicious.

The Wong's took us to their apartment-house for a rest.  Mr. Wong had a meeting, so the driver took us out for a ride in the afternoon.  We visited the Children's Museum where youngsters take art, dance, music lessons during the day.  On weekends, they have a 360-degree theater showing 30-minute movies.  There are also concerts and plays going on.  Next to this giant building is a building called the Book City.  On the north side is the Shenzhen City Administration Building.  The roof is shaped like the wing of a big bird, because the city is called 鸿雁, much like a large eagle with long neck.  It's quite beautiful.

     We had Papa John's Pizza for dinner.  We thought we'd treat them, but Mrs. Wong was too fast for us.  Elwin almost fell trying to get to the cashier first.  It's an interesting Chinese custom that everyone wants to pay the bill first.  Elwin has grown to be quite good at it.  He would sneak out during the meal, like he had to go to the bathroom, but instead, he would go over and pay the bill.  People are quite amazed that he was familiar with the Chinese customs, and I am so proud of him for doing that too.

     Karina leaves on August 8 to go to New York for a 4-day orientation for foreign exchange students.  Then she flies to Salt Lake City.  The whole Wiley family are looking forward to her coming.  I understand her room has been ready for a month now.  We hope she has a great experience learning American customs, getting to know the Wiley's and make lots of new friends. 

1 comment:

  1. The Wongs sound like such nice people!

    I love that Dad is usually so good at paying the bill first! He's always very generous.

    Shenzhen sounds like a fun place to visit!