I have been in Beijing nearly a week and the experience has had a profound effect on me. I have felt cherished from the moment I got off the plane and was met by two BNU postgraduate students who have cared and looked after me all week. They gave me significant amounts of their time generously and with kindness and did not seek anything in return other than a little friendly companionship. I am so touched by their lesson of graceful service and I hope I can do something for them one day.
I came to teach but because of a public holiday the time I could spend teaching was more limited than expected but the two sessions I did were some of the most enjoyable I have ever done. I felt like a teacher again and it made me realise how much I miss teaching and interacting with young people who are keen to learn.
As for my own learning I learnt many things many of them relational and cultural that I will take with me when I fly out tommorrow. I saw many interesting and awesome sights like the Ming Tombs, Summer Palace and Birds Nest Olympic stadium, not to mention the wild mountains and waterfalls of Yanche. But the thing I value the most is friendship. I also thought freshly about things I have thought about many times before and gained some new understandings that I will cherish. That is what teaching does it forces you to think about stuff with which you are familiar and particularly when I try to represent ideas in pictures, as I 'indwell' in my own learning ecology, new understandings emerge, its mainly an incremental process with very occasional jumps usually as ideas are reassembled, connected and synthesised in a different way - the mini-c creativity. It seems to me 'cherish your life' is a great metaphor for paying attention to our own lifewide development in all its intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual glory and whenever I see of hear that word I will think of my friend Professor Hong and of climbing the wild mountains of life. Oh yes I also rediscovered what it felt like to be a geologist again thanks to our walk in the wild mountains - the geology was stunning and I was reminded of the fantastic stories that are in the rocks if we can only read them - thanks to many years of trudging the wilds of Saudi Arabia, UK and elsewhere I have taught myself to read the stories in the wild mountains of China - there must be a lesson there for my lifewide learning as well!