I started an etiquette Q&A survey in the beginning of 2017, inviting immigrants to ask questions, and local people to answer them. With the assistance of a few home town fellows, we reached out for more than 10 western friends living in Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., respectively. Coming from all walks of life, these friends made the dialogue a resourceful, rich, and lively one of its kind, with their true opinions and different perspectives. I felt grateful for the two things they had in common: the willingness to help, and thoughtfulness when responding. Equally grateful I felt to the mindful immigrants who asked the questions. Answers would come nowhere without questions in the first place. They were the foundation of this dialogue. I cordially invite everyone to send me questions on western societies, customs, the people and their views, should you have any, to keep the dialogue going.
Feng and Eric helped create this website for our club (www.eawlc.org). I’m very glad that we get to publish the survey on our website by the end of the year, as a holiday gift to our readers:
Running this book club has been the most occupying, and most interesting volunteer work for me. We are a small group, and I’m thinking how to make it better, so more immigrants may come to enjoy the learning opportunities like we have had. Do you have any suggestions for us: activities to make the book club more attractive; books/articles/movies/TV series etc. that you think are very good for immigrants to learn about Western customs, cultures, social norms and mentalities; people you could recommend as our guest speakers to share their experience and knowledge, resources we may go to for a funding to sponsor some paid programs…? Just please give me a shout whenever a brilliant thought strikes you . Thank you so much!!
Throughout the year of 2017, in addition to the etiquette Q&A project, the East and West Learning Club held around thirty book club meetings, including eight special events. Some fun moments to share in here:
- The improv activities facilitated by Nancy Morrison in November: the most interactive event! The fun triggered the idea of bringing in an improv class in the year of 2018. Thanks to Nancy’s commitment, now we are looking forward to a series of 7 monthly classes to stimulate our creativity!
- The face-to-face dialogue with Roy Hu and Mira Nam-Wong in October: The student participants went home excited, truly inspired by the two high school principals! (See The Story of Wednesday Night Dialogue: Roy and Mira)
- When my kids and I visited China this summer, we facilitated two book club meetings among middle school students in two cities with the help of local book stores. The kids there showed great curiosity about cultural differences between China and the Western countries. Their knowledge of what was happening in the world was amazing!
- Our booth was the busiest one in the school-year-end party at Iroquois Junior Public School in June. Kids lined up, and waited for their turns to do a 1-minute presentation, like what we would do at the beginning of our regular book club meetings. I brought two big boxes of jelly sticks and fruit bars as prizes. They were gone quickly!
- The face-to-face dialogue with Marcia Pate and Ian White in May: one of my New Year Resolutions is to translate the article I wrote about this event in Chinese into English. It was packed with true stories about Canadian, Chinese, English, French, Jamaican and Jewish cultures, and their differences! (See The Story of Wednesday Night Dialogue: Ian and Marcia)
- The hiking & picnic in April: the last week-end meeting of the year. Thanks to Iroquois Junior Public School’s support, we obtained TDSB’s permit to use their facility as our meeting venue for free, and changed the meeting time to Wednesday nights starting on April 19. In the year 2018, we will hold our weekly meetings on Thursday nights from February throughout November, except for school breaks. (See The Onset of The East and West Learning Club)
Wish everyone who’s curious and loves to learn could realize some dreams in the year 2018.
Happy Holidays to you all!
* 11月的“与制片人一起表演”：互动性最强、最好玩。触动我明年引进即兴表演课程的想法。因为即兴表演训练非常有挑战性, 对激发创造力，锻炼口头及身体语言的表达能力，增强自信心都很有帮助。我去年在别处参加过几次，又爱又怕，觉得刺激又有趣。嘉宾Nancy，职业演员兼制片人，接受了我的邀请，明年会来作老师，举办7次即兴表演课。俱乐部的小伙伴们表现出极大的兴趣，很快报名就满额了。现在万事俱备，就等着2月8号第一次开课啦！
*10月的“与校长们面对面”：最励志。校长们分享了自己的成长故事，对学习、霸凌、工作、与人交往等方面的问题给出真知灼见，在场的每一位高中生和家长都深受启发。我事后写了一篇报道文章，让没来的人也能分享我们的收获。但现场交流的各种细节和校长们散发出的力量，对听众尤其是孩子们的鼓舞，是无法用语言复述的。当时真的位没来的孩子们感到可惜。(See the story of Wednesday Night Dialogue: Roy and Mira)