It has been a frustrating several weeks as I have tried to solve my problems with the server that allows me to write this blog. Today, I hope I have solved it. Actually, I gave up trying to solve the old problems and just re-registered for the site. Hopefully, when I get back home I will still be able to access everything.
Life has continued to be so busy as the school year is quickly winding down. We had the whole last 6 weeks planned and I had a good handle on what was going to happen as we finished up the year. Unfortunately, our plans did not take into consideration the unexpected – an earthquake in southwest China.
I did not feel the earthquake but a number of my friends felt it and many more were evacuated from the tall buildings down in the CBD (Central Business District). The epicenter was almost 1,000 miles away from us but it was felt here. The emotional aftermath of this event has been devastating to witness. Though of us who are from western countries are used to watching events unfold for us on live television but never before have the Chinese people had this opportunity and it has hit everyone hard. Our Chinese teachers in our school are visibly shaken and still are unable to talk about the tragedy without tears. This has pierced the Chinese soul and they are bleeding.
Yesterday was the first day of a three day national time of mourning. All our events were cancelled and it was very quiet at school as everyone just went around their business. We had a memorial service at 2:15 in the quad with all of our students and our flags were lowered to half mast. At exactly, 2:28 all of China came to a standstill as we observed three minutes of remembrance. I don’t want to call it three minutes of silence as it was anything but silent. The sirens roared, the buses, cars, motorcycles all blew their horns, the train whistles went, all of the cranes around Beijing set off their signals, the air raid shelter sirens sounded. It was a cacophony of noise. A Chinese friend said it was a way to show that China was wailing for it’s dead and lost.
The National Flag of China situated in Tianammen Square has never been at half mast except for the passing of a powerful figure. It was so moving to watch it slowly pulled up yesterday morning, to the top and then slowly pulled part way down. There was the flag flying and in the background was the Forbidden City with Chairman Mao’s picture. It was an incredible moment. In over 5,000 years the flag has never been lowered for the common man until yesterday. It truly is an amazing time to be living in China.