My niece, Jessica, emailed me from Beijing, China today. How proud her parents must be of her. She is in her freshman year at Georgetown University, the president/ceo of her own non-profit organization http://www.oneworldyouthproject.org , and has addressed the United Nations... WOW!
The following are a couple of paragraphs from that email:
"This is something I will never forget... Yesterday afternoon we sat with nine other women around a large wooden table. All of us had a small cup of warm, sweet-smelling tea cradled in our hands. Light shone through the window blinds, creating strips of sunshine across the table, our faces, our hands. It was silent except for our hushed voices (I feel like I speak softer in China) and the frequent interspersing of our laughter. Jill Slutzker and I had just finished 3 days of workshops with the sophomore class of Yuxin High School in Beijing (paired with a sister-school in Maryland for One World Youth Project). Ms. Xing Shuqin, the sophomore teacher, had assembled all of the English teachers and us together to talk about teaching techniques, youth leadership, and learning a second language. It was a truly fascinating conversation. It seemed appropriate that on International Women's Day (a well recognized holiday in China) eleven women of varying ages should be gathered together discovering commonalities and analyzing differences in the most important tool in empowering women... in empowering anyone... education".
"For only knowing one word of Chinese, I have felt surprisingly understood the past few days. There is so much underlining unity that exists between people. So much can be said by eye contact, hand gestures -even by the tiny twitches of your lips when you speak. And, so much can be communicated through expectations. For instance, I might consider 'if I were Ms. Jiangying what might I be thinking now'? What might I say next? Ms. Jiangying could consider the same questions of me. And thus far, it seems, we are often correct in our assumptions. Sense of humor is also a big part of it. Whoever said, "We all laugh in the same language" (even if now an overused favorite of Hallmark!) was correct. I feel like Americans and Chinese have more in common than they might think. I feel like we communicate similarly. And, it seems this is a very good thing -since the future of our nations are becoming more and more entwined".
Isn't she an impressive young woman? Imagine if the gay/straight communities were to share this same passion for living... If a 20 year old woman can do this in China, what can we accomplish today?
Words as food for thought. Please visit my niece's website and do what you can do!