Saturday, September 1, 2012

1 September 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date 1 September 2012

Awoke and got dressed in fancy clothes in honor of the Beijing National Day School's Opening Ceremony – this annual tradition marks the coming together of the school's more than 4,000 students and over 500 faculty and staff members to commence another school year • This year was all the more special because BNDS is celebrating its 60th anniversary since it was nationalized by the new government and named the Beijing October 1st School to recognize the day of the Chinese revolution

What's in a Name and Logo of the Beijing National Day School
The school used be called the Beijing October 1st School, but the name was changed three years ago after much consideration, to the Beijing National Day School as too many people outside of the country were confused by the school's name, and the school aspired for greater international acclaim and recognition. The school's name in Chinese characters had included the Chinese characters for 10 and 1 which also resemble a + and - sign which is why the logo seems to the untrained eye to look like a + and - sign set in an infinity loop made of a circle and a square. The symbolism of this logo, however is actually meant to bring the + and the - together as they represent the ebb and flow of forces in the universe the yin yang if you will. The circle and square also have symbolic meaning as joined in the infinity loop as they represent the window to the mind and the endless pursuit of knowledge.

The Beijing National Day School 2012-13 Opening Ceremony
I was told the ceremony would be like a miniature version of the opening ceremony for the Olympics, and the rumors were only slightly exaggerated. The ceremony began with all of the students lined up by grade and program on the field of the soccer and track stadium. Teachers were positioned just behind each row of their students. The stadium seating, which was all decked out, was packed with parents and dignitaries alike. Six, red Chinese lantern balloons (one of each decade) were floating high above the stadium with banners rolled up below. A welcome greeting and speech was made and flashed upon the school's two-story jumbotron mounted to the side of one of the six story dormitory buildings.  The 中國 / Zhōngguó anthem was played and the 中國 / Zhōngguó flag was raised on the middle of three flag poles located at the south end of the stadium on an elevated dais made of white marble. Loads of dignitaries were introduced including two Chinese 2012 Olympic Gold medalists. A lottery was conducted with numbers flashing on the jumbotron and winners revealed. Then, all of the sudden, the banners beneath each Chinese lantern were unfurled unleashing thousands of air balloons and treats on the crowd of students and teachers below. The messages on the banners were the six basic principles of the school. After much fanfare, but no fireworks, the ceremony concluded and the students were released to their respective buildings for introductory meetings.

students and faculty of the International Department gathered on the 6th floor of the BNDS International Department HQ building in the banquet room for introductions of the faculty • it was a very straightforward affair • the students each possessed a small certificate book rather like a passport with pages for notes and signatures to collect in remembrance of the occasion • I had a lengthily meeting with a colleague regarding our curricular objectives for our various levels of biology being offered this year • I returned home to change into comfy clothes before venturing out into the rain storm to acquire dessert for the evening's pot-luck being held at Kevin's (Physics and Calculus) flat

Is there a Bakery in Beijing?
Well, yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and it is called Wedomé. It is a euro-style bakery less than a block away from Qin Shan Shui. I had previously investigated it and found it to be full of delicious treats, cakes, cookies, and pastries. There are some items that are as unlike anything I've ever seen like bread bearing a large hairdo made of pork fibers and others that put you right at home, like bagels. I purchased two black forest cake log rolls to take to the potluck for a total of 79 CN 元 ($12.57 USD) that would have cost at least $30 in the USA.

Bakers working behind glass window
some sort of little rolls
the cake prep kitchen
the cake case
the cold dessert case
pan left
pan right
the breads
a special kind of bread

I then returned home and worked on my journal and apartment organization – I did all of the dishes and unpacked all of the mini appliances such as the toaster and coffee maker • I got dressed for the party, took my desserts out of the refrigerator, and grabbed two chairs to take to the party • virtually every one of the new people and our support teachers and administrators were in attendance • there was music, great food, and lots of laughs • I headed home around 11:30 pm feeling the urge to get home and to sleep so I could Skype with family in the morning

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