Our 2017, a Gift and an Invitation

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:

Social Etiquette Dialogue (Questions 1-10)

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!

 

今年初,曾向大家征集在日常生活中产生的关于礼仪、习俗、人际关系处理等方面的疑问,然后请西人朋友作答,帮助我们知己知彼,更容易做到入乡随俗。在几位朋友的协助下,来自美国、英国、澳大利亚和加拿大的十几位西方朋友分别给出了自己的答案。他们的性别、年龄、背景、职业、个性各不相同,答案也就不尽相同,我们得以多方位地了解西方人的思维方式及习俗,很有意思。但他们至少有两点是相通的:对帮助移民融入社会的热忱,以及回答问题时的真诚态度。这里还要特别感谢提问的朋友们。有问题,才会有答案。他们是这场对话的基石。我也诚挚地邀请大家继续提问,让这种对话继续下去。

Feng和Eric帮学东西俱乐部建了一个网站(www.eawlc.org)。虽然简陋了点,但基本架构都有,主页、活动内容、心得等都可以放在上面与大家分享。值2017年末,把这篇西方日常生活礼仪习俗答疑贴出来,当作一个节日礼物:

Social Etiquette Dialogue (Questions 1-10)

组织这个免费的学习俱乐部,是我迄今投入精力最多、也最有趣的志愿者工作。我们是一个小小的草根俱乐部,希望能坚持下去,有所发展。我在想怎么能把它办得更好?亲爱的们,请来给我出出主意吧!这个以学习西方礼仪及交流技巧、深入了解东西方文化、促进与西人思想沟通为主旨的读书俱乐部,你觉得选取哪些内容、活动和形式会更吸引国人来参加?有什么书、文章、电影等资料可以推荐吗?能不能介绍几个有见识、有热心的西人朋友来俱乐部做嘉宾?知道哪些组织或公司也许可以资助我们,以便我们引进一些有价值的付费项目吗?抱拳致谢先!

顺手总结一下:学东西俱乐部2017年组织了约30次读书会,包括8场特别活动。这里分享几个。

* 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)

*夏天回国探亲,在当地书店的支持下,大儿子和我一起在安庆、合肥分别主持了一场读书会,与几十位中学生一起讨论中西方文化和习俗的异同。孩子们知识面广泛,对外部世界充满好奇和思考,非常可爱。

*6月的学年末派对,由给我们提供读书聚会场所的公立小学举办。学东西俱乐部的摊位成了最热闹的地方。孩子们排队来作一分钟即席发言,一如我们日常读书聚会时会做的练习,以锻炼即席演讲能力。我带去一两百个果冻棒和水果片作奖品,最后几乎都发完了,可见孩子们对表达自己和吃零食都有很大的热情 :)。

*5月的“周三对话”中,嘉宾Ian和Marcia分享了最多的文化差异体验。中国、加拿大、牙买加、英语系、法语系、犹太系文化背景下人们行为的差异和调和,听来十分有趣。(见 《“周三对话”之白忆安与裴马沙》

*4月的公园远足、野餐聚会:是读书会最后一次的周末聚会。其后因为得到公立小学的支持,我们有了固定的聚会场所,聚会时间也改成每周三晚上。2018年聚会将是在每周四晚上。(见 《学东西俱乐部的启航》

希望每个喜欢学习、对生活充满好奇的人都能在2018年实现一些梦想。

大家新年快乐!

(Author: Yang)

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