We all have innocent but distressed faces,
grasping sunlight, we gaze into the remote distance of the future,
while we lightly grew up day after day, with the years passing,
can we still sing our hearts’ desires?
Dan Kriebel was invited by Helen, one of his high school students, to her class’ graduation party, held at Qingdao Number 15 Middle School; both Paul and I joined Dan on the trip. Helen wants to go to Tianjin Medical School, and is waiting to hear back the results of her application. She plans to go to the US in the future to get a masters; she has an uncle in Sacramento who is a physician, and did the same thing. Helen’s uncle picked us up in his Honda Accord, and took us west to Helen’s school, and we joined her class’ celebration together. The room was decorated with balloons and metallic streamers, and they decorated the blackboard with the poem written above, with “Youth Forever!” centered on the board. They entertained each other with songs (from mp3s played on the classroom computer), and played some party games together — one of their last times together as a class, a bittersweet celebration as they all part for whatever the future brings to Class #8 of Qingdao Number 15 Middle School. The picture above is Dan and Paul singing the theme song to “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to Class #8; last summer, when I was with Semester-At-Sea students for a dinner with Shanghai Jiaotong University students, the “Fresh Prince” song was also the only song that everyone could sing together. The picture below is Dan playing the “recognize your friend blindfolded” game — he walked to each guy standing in front of him, and by feeling the person’s face and hair, would try to correctly identify Paul. He got it right!