International Travels & Services

The Touched & the Welcome -Shirley's United States Travel Diary -062 & 252nd Friendly Greeting, May 3, 2010

<img src=" |right]</a> How are you? Are you enjoying your new week? <br><br>When you get this letter, I have been in the US for 5 days.<br><br>I had my traveling from Shenzhen to the United States via Hong Kong. <br><br>I left home at 8:00am April 28, 2010 Chinese time and I reached at my destination at 11.30am April 29 Chinese time (10.30pm April 28 American Time). <br><br>By the good help of some American organizations and individuals, I had two Chinese painting Workshops while an art exhibition in Ozarks Technical Community College April 29; I took part in the Artsfest by Springfield District Arts Council May 1 and May 2. <br><br>I will have an <a data-cke-saved-href= href= target=_blank><b><font color=brown>art exhibition in the Plaster Student Union, Robert W. Room 201,Missouri State University</b></font></a> from May 6 to May 22. During the time, I will have several the other art exhibitions, Chinese painting demonstrations and workshops in some schools, institute, church and somewhere else in Missouri State. <br><br>Then I will have another exhibition in Kentucky State if a Chinese delegation from Ankang of Shanxi Province will be there according to the original plan. <br><br>Maybe you would like to know my feeling right now. It can be summarized by one word: “Touched”.<br><br>First of all, I was touched by my boss, teachers, doctors and friends before my traveling in China. <br><br>April 9, as soon as I got the notice that I will have the luck to have an art exhibition in Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, USA ? the place that has not only educated me, made me get my master degree of MBA, but also, it has helped me to make my long term art dream to be true, with an appreciated heart, I handed in a formal application to my boss and I hoped to be allowed to have the travel. At once, I was permitted. Then my Chinese art teacher Mr. Tao chose 50 paintings from my 504 paintings and sent them to be mounted. My teacher Mr. Rao who is from Shenzhen Personnel Bureau, helped me to fill the table and made an appointment with the American Consulate and I got my visa April 14. <br><br>Then another touched things happened: <br><br><img data-cke-saved-src=" http:="""" new="" uploads="" m336_3.jpg"="" align="right" border="0">-- Can you imagine that my first album of paintings was designed and printed out within 7 days?

I had given up editing and publishing it during the Spring Festival in February for my eyes did not support me. My former colleague and my web site’s technical supporter ? Charlie Zhang made some special software for me to pick up and order my data automatically, then I could complete the edition quickly; in the noon of April 21, I sent my files to Ms. Bao, the manager of a design company in Wuxi, Jiangsu Providence. For ensuring I get this album before my travel, she gave up her travel to Yunnan and continuously working for 72 hours and completed the design job. Then she continued to work with the print company. In the midnight of April 26, my younger brother got and sent the first 20 albums to the Wuxi Airline, one of my colleagues picked up it in Shenzhen Airport next day. At 4:30pm April 27, before my traveling was started for 15.5 hours, I got them.

-- As soon as I got the cherished albums, I called a local post station. At 6:30pm April 27, a young clerk Xiao Di came to my home, he packed the albums and the paintings which were too big to be put into by my suitcases. With so professional skills, he made a beautiful box for me. Except eating a simple supper that I ordered for him by a phone call, he did not accept any tip at all.

--You cannot imagine that I had ordered the ticket for flying to the United States on Wednesday, April 28, my right eyes suddenly bled Monday morning.

When I saw the bright red blood in my eye, I was scared. I called Ms. Min Gong -- the nurse manager who managed 13 departments in Shenzhen Red Cross Hospital, she put down her so much work and led me to see the Director of Ophthalmology at once.

--After a good treatment, I started my traveling and be sent to the Hong Kong International Airport by one of my best friends Dr. Qujuan Zhang and her son Yi Bo.

When I reached in the United States, the blood has disappeared from my eye. I can come to work on my computer sometimes.

Secondly, I was I was touched by the clerks of United Airlines in Hong Kong Airport and on the airplane from Chicago to Springfield, and the passenger next to me.

Since I have to carry 3 piece of luggage that weight about 100 kilograms, I had prepared to be punished. Instead of asking me to hand in the luggage payment by myself, a young clerk rushed here and there three times to pay for me. Then he helped me to send my luggage to be transported by two places. Even though I was punished 4800 HKD, I did not feel uncomfortable for the good service in the Hong Kong Airport.

Since I decided to have this travel, I had been worrying how I should carry the luggage from the international flight to the national flight. I was so lucky that the passenger who was sitting next me was a general manager from a Shenzhen company, who will go to Florida to open his sub-branch. Just like a kind elder, he taught me a lot about American culture, carried my so weight luggage, sent me to the my terminal, then he went to catch his own flight.

--As soon as I boarded my second flight from Chicago to Missouri, I felt the familiar and strong cultural breath that I had felt when I was in the US. People in this airplane were so quiet. Most of them carried their books to read. In the golden light, saw this situation, made me think of the words “Educated” and “Harmonious”. Once more, I found the drinks and the service were different in this airplane. The airline stewardess offered people some mixed drinks according to the different requirements, I felt fresh about this, so that I asked her about it. She answered my questions patiently and she wrote down all of her 11 kinds of drinks in my notebook, and told me which mixed drinks are favorite by the local people.

Thirdly, I was so touched after I came into the US.

As soon as I reached the airport of Springfield, I saw Mrs. Hing Wah and her husband Mr. Jerry Hatch from art department of Missouri State University. After waiting for me for 2 hours since my airplane was later, both of them picked me up and took me to my host family's house -- Ms. Hing Wah had not only connected and arranged many things for my travel and art activities in the US, but also, it was she who had written letters and made telephone calls to find a good host family for me. Then, the next morning, both of them took me to Ozarks Technical Community College. After helping me hang my paintings, she drove her husband to his class, then she came back to help me with my painting workshops at OTC again…

Maybe you would like to ask how I am living in the US these days. My answer is that I am lucky enough to have my host family ? a former female Fine Arts Instructor at Duruy University.

Can you imagine? She had not only arranged for me a very comfortable room in her house, prepared every wonderful breakfast and sometimes dinner for me in person, but also, she has helped me with English language, from the word Cereal, which we have for breakfast to the names of flowers in her garden. Just a word “underneath”, and “beneath”, she explained the meaning for about 20 minutes of the both words. Once and once, she taught me to know one word or to correct my pronunciation with so much patience, therefore, every time, I made a record when we talked and to remember the cherished lessons and my luck in the US.

Except the daily help, the thing that most touched me is that she keeps offering me the housing free and she did never accept any money for my living in her house.

To be honest, in the first night I reached in the US, when I was lying on the comfortable bed, saw the money that she had returned me, thought her bright white hair, recalled how she ordered my bed before I went to sleep, I thought of my had been dead mother, tears could not help flowing on my face.

Yes, just like she said that “I will be your mother” -- I did think that I have met a kindest foreign mother here, in Springfield, Missouri, USA. I am thinking that I will also do my best to treat her as a Chinese daughter...

At the same time, I have gotten so much help from the Springfield District Art Council, the sponsor of my first art exhibition in the US in 2009.
The Executive Director, Ms. Leah Hamilton Jenkinssuggested that I have an non commercial booth in the Art Fest.
The Education Coordinator -- Ms. Stephanie Cramer arranged every thing for me in person, so that I had an opportunity to take part in the biggest art festival in the Springfield area with about 140 artists together. I was able to show Chinese art works as the only Chinese painting artist among 30,000 people who came to the Festival.

During the Arts Fest, I was touched so much by my American ? Chinese International Finance Professor, Dr. Chang and his friend Dr. Zheng who is the Director of the Mathematics Department of Missouri State University who have offered so much help when they are so busy in the last weeks of the University term. They took me to the Art Fest in the weekend mornings and picked me up in the evenings. Dr. Chang not only helped me design the poster of my art exhibition, helped my art working from driving, carrying and hanging up paintings, but also he looked after my lunch, water, connect Internet and so on. Everything is considerate and everything is perfect.

I was also deeply appreciated by the local American people’s warmth to the Chinese paintings and understanding. Every time, after I have made an explanation of a Chinese painting or sang a Chinese poem about the painting, I received a lot of applause. Each time I started a demonstration, children, young people and even adults wanted to learn from me. In the short two days, I demonstrated for 14 groups of people and more than 40 people have tried their first Chinese paintings. About 70 people left their emails or telephones in my notebooks and I exchanged a lot of business cards with the local artists.

Also, I have been invited to have an art display in two the other organizations, too.

Because of my tight schedule and eyes problem, I have not worked online for a while, there were few people to know I have come to the United States. However, I was still fortunate enough to meet my Finance Professor Dr. Ragan of Missouri State University and many other friends at the Arts Fest, especially Pat Hickey who has helped me in many ways, included to make an appointment with some local doctor for me...

After I came to the US, I have also got much help from my schoolmate Mr. Frank Zhou, my tutor Mr. Gong Xiaoou and many the other friends in the US.

Sponsored by the Plaster Student Union of Missouri State University,
18 piece of my art works have been hung up in the new art gallery of Plaster of Student Union of Missouri State University by the Director of Art Gallery -- Ms. Robin Lowe and Dr. Chang in person.

--Since this letter is too long already, I will tell you something about this exhibition in the other letter.

You are welcome to my art exhibition and Painting Exhibition and Demonstrations at PSU Gallery I will be very happy to meet you with a big smile.

I am just a learner on art of painting, music and English, to work on the web site in my free time. I would really like to do a few things with what I have learned to make this little web site to be an Electronic Bridge of Culture Exchange, Chinese Language Learning & Friendship making. To help the others while to improve myself.

I would like to appreciate your understanding, directions, supports and hope to get your friendly direction and help.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you are welcome to write to or, or to publish your opinions in the forum.

Shirley Yiping Zhang
Tue., May 3, 2010

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