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China Comes To Meeeeee

Well, not the whole country, of course. Tsinghua University School of Law. Five of its 1300 kids. These five:

They were here from Beijing last week, Ling is the guy and he roomed with me, the four girls were just down the hall. One of the law-student teams from 19 universities throughout the world, all in den Haag for a practice competition against one another with real-life International Criminal Court judges ranking the teams in order of their understanding of the law and competence in presenting their cases in English. And to think on their feet when the judges asked their questions. Which they did, a lot.

It was their first time out of the country and when they found out I was new to Holland too, they invited me to go sightsee with them. I did more than that, of course; since Ling kept staying up studying way into the night, I helped with English construction and pronunciation [try figuring out how to say Illinois if you are native Chinese] and I also went to their presentations. Each of them asked me things about the USA, Sijie wants to study for her JD at the North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill and Xu's dad is a pro photographer so she had photog questions for me [imagine... expert that I am lol]

This is Cao [prounounced "Tao" as in Tao Te Ching:]

She was really worried about the whole competition since apparently their law profs back at school had pounded on them to do well [in rehearsals for five months, all the universities got the practice case very far ahead] and demanded a full report when they got back tomorrow. I convinced Cao that she was a fourth-year LLB student and not a big international Perry Mason getting paid the big bucks from the Court's 108 member countries, therefore it was okay to make mistakes, because that's how you learn... how can you get any better if you are perfect to begin with? She was very reassured, we talked in my room doorway for more than an hour... if you have any idea how foreigner-shy people from China are, you know how unusual that was. She went on to do so well in front of an American judge, and an Aussie one, that the American went out of her way to compliment Cao on her presentation skills, emotional and dramatic in her summary; she essentially was presenting as a Victim's Advocate attorney.

And here. Here is Liu:

Pronounced Lee. Li is third-year LLB, arm-in-arm snuggly friends with Cao... We walked about four miles sightseeing and it started to rain seriously as we got a few blocks from home. Cao and Ling had his umbrella to huddle under and I had my poncho, Li had a piece of paper to put over her head. So I offered, and she eventually joined me underneath my poncho. Where we could lift the edge and peek out to watch for insane tram engineers, cyclists, and the like. It took awhile for me to adjust my pace to hers [she's only an inch taller than Kiota] but we got back mostly dry behind the ears :) Li said that it hardly rains at all in Beijing, so when it does, she loves to go out in it unprotected. But she agreed that North Sea rains / winds are much different.

I thought it was totally cute that this was her first experience --- in her life --- with high heels, too. We'd left directly from the presentation, where they had to be formally dressed, hers were black boots with heels. Over Dutch cobblestones, indeed. As you can see from the photo.

So. This would never have happened to me in America...

Doing my little bit for International Relations. And their dreams. They want to make a lot of money as professionals, so that one day they can buy one of the big mansions we walked past. I told them that this is exactly what will happen --- and when it does, they should Email me and I will come live in their big house and they can teach me Chinese.

But I'm not sure that I want Li to buy her own poncho.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, Chinese tralsliteration. . . . There's nothing more absurd than that.

Feb. 23rd, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
haha wonder how you say "poncho" in Chinese?

My guess is: you mean TRANSLITERATION ??

Can't comment on absurdity but they came in a somewhat absurd 16th out of 19 colleges. That might not be so bad but their rival university, also in Beijing, came in fourth.

I am glad they did not know that at the time of these photos, or the smiles would be as scarce as the Beijing rain. They also didn't know it at the time they left for Paris, how to ruin a great vacation.

Butbut they did not have to transliterate "Illinois" into Chinese, they had to pronounce it correctly in English. Amusing, considering that the word is some kind of American misspelling of an Indian word meaning something-or-other. Since this comes from the American Upper Midwest, it's not Hopi. I hopi.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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