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Notes to families!

Notes to Families

Written on July 10th and 11th.


Hi Family! I tried to call yesterday, but the connection was bad, so it wouldn’t go through. I will be sure to send post cards and emails once we arrive in Kunming. Today is our last day in the rural homestay before we go hiking for three days in the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which as you can imagine, I am so excited for! I have gotten so much better at Chinese because my family speaks Mandarin. Eddy, you would not survive here: everyone chews so loudly. Katie, one of my friends has a photo of Elizabeth Ledwith from his family! I also realized you won’t be at the tie ceremony this year. boo hoo! Mommy and Daddy, my stomach wasn’t feeling well one day, all I could think about was, “we’ll see how it feels in the morning”, and I did feel better in the morning! Also, can you please check to make sure my summer reading is in fact, Autobiography of a Face, because it is a very odd book. Please email me the answer. I am having so much fun, and I am thinking of you all! Thank you for sending me on this amazing trip. I love you!



Hi Family! So far the trip has been pretty good and fun. We went hiking on a mountain and went on a scavenger hunt in Lijiang. I took lots of good pictures to show you guys when I get back. Today is the last day in the rural homestay and we are going on a 3 day hike tomorrow. My family is really nice and they make really good food, and every afternoon we go on walks with some of the other kids on the trip. Also, the Chinese language lessons are going well and I’m learning a lot. I’m pretty excited for the next half of this trip and the new places that we are going to visit. Make sure you bring me clothes, sneakers, my air pods, and my computer for the trip in LA. Also can you sign me up for drivers ed for when I get back or as soon as possible, thanks. I miss and love all of you and I can’t wait to see you in 2 weeks and a couple days! When I get to Kunming (the next homestay) I’ll probably be able to email you guys so make sure you check your email.

Talk to you soon!




Hello friends and family! So far the trip has been really fun, we have gone on a couple of hikes, toured a temple in the mountains, hiked through many sacred areas, and two days ago we visited Lijiang and participated in a scavenger hunt, where I had the best Asian noodles of my life. Tomorrow, we leave Nanyao to go on a three day hike in Tiger Leaping Gorge. My homestay family made me fried potatoes and rice almost every day, which tasted really good, and thanks to you, mom, I have an incredible spice tolerance and for every meal pour the whole bowl of chili peppers into my food. Over the last week, I’ve learned over 200 new vocab words and how to play majiang. I’m really excited for our upcoming weeks in Kunming City and our three days in the mountains outside of Beijing, because I can buy myself a pair of jeans to wear in the city. Please bring me some new clothes for Orlando because my Dr. Bronner’s is not good for cleaning clothes, and please pack my airpods because by then I will really want to listen to music. I love you all and miss you very much, also tell Puggles I said hi!



Hi family. We’ve been doing a lot of fun stuff like hiking and seeing a temple and doing a scavenger hunt in Lijiang. If the weather is good tomorrow we’ll go on a three-day two-night hiking trip in Tiger Leaping Gorge. I’m wondering what Pine Island trip it will compare to, but I’ll find out tommorrow. I’ve become a (kind of) master at majiang and I really want to buy a majiang set at home and teach you guys how to play. The food is so much better than American Chinese food and much lighter than American food. (Wode shenti hen hao) That means I’m healthy. I cant wait to teach you guys how my family makes dumplings. Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m pretty excited. I don’t think I will call you like at camp if that’s ok. I’ve been learning a lot of Chinese and I think it will really help with next year. I hope I get Guo Laoshi (the funny one) again but I don’t think she teaches 10th grade. I have plenty of photos to show you. Speaking of photos, I used up my 4GB SD card so I bought a 64GB card for 95 Yuan (a bit less than $15.) Also my old red camera broke. Even with new batteries, it dies every time I turn it on after 3 seconds. When I get home maybe we can pick one out together. Also, the chocolate hasn’t melted yet, fyi. I’ll give them the gifts tonight. Anyway, I’m having a good time here and am excited to go to camp and see Reed and Oliver and everyone. Can you text Beth Newbold and tell her I’m going to closing ceremony at camp and tell her Nick should come. Ok bye.



Hi family. I’m alive don’t worry. Um China’s pretty cool. I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends. My host family is nice and makes me a lot of good food every day.  Mom: I miss you a lot and I hope you are doing a lot while I’m away. I am really happy for the pants that you got me and I prolly should have brought more pairs. Um, yeah. I miss you and the dogs a lot and I will be happy to see you when I get home. also thanks for the extra money on my debit card, You should see what happened because I didn’t spend all of it. Dad: Hi. Thanks for not answering my phone call when I called. Just kidding. Um, I hope you’re doing well. I miss you. I’ll see you when i get home. Jack: Hi. I miss you too. I hope you’re making a lot of money with Doordash. Don’t overwork yourself haha. Adela: I miss you too. Say hi to the cats for me.



Hello Mom, Dad, and Little Sister. Because of your unusual petition regarding me NOT missing you guys, I’ll say that I’m not, even though I am AND greatly enjoying this wonderful and fabulous trip 😉 Saying that I’m having fun would be an understatement, I’m having an absolute blast! The other people in group B are extremely nice, and I can sense myself improving by the day (in terms of Mandarin). The opportunities that we have had so far are amazing, from hiking for 4 hours and meditating next to a Yi ethnic minority village, to learning how to make Dongba paper with one of the few literate Dongba experts still alive. My host family is super nice! I help them cook the meals, play soccer with my didi, and play majiang during the afternoons. Lifestyle in Nanyao is a new adventure each day, whether it includes the terms of learning, or social activities. In Chinese class, as previously stated, I feel like I am improving each day, the full immersion in the lives of Nanyao locals helps me infinitely! I’m sad that I’m leaving Nanyao but excited for the Tiger Leaping Gorge hike and urban homestay (and of course the new house 😀 ). Malena, I hope you’re having tons of fun in Japan, enjoy it! Os quiero muchisisimo y espero que os lo esteis pasando igual de bien en la nueva casa!




My dudes wuts poppin!!!!!!!! I’m really really really sorry I haven’t been emailing y’all b/c we haven’t had access and internet cafes are closed to foreigners and there’s other complications basically I don’t know when i’ll be able to. However, I wrote postcards to everyone a few days ago and will be able to mail them when we get to Kunming on the 15th 🙂 until then, we’ll be taking a three day hike in Tiger Leaping Gorge which will probably be the highlight of the trip b/c I can’t wait to hike more!!!!!! I’m taking Chinese classes with three really cool people and we’ve all learned so much! Dad: you’ll be happy to know that I’ve found new motivation to ace my driving test after seeing the way people drive in the city here! I miss u so much and hope west end isn’t too lonely w/out me  Mom: I have a newfound appreciation for everything you do after learning how to run a household here. I never realized how hard it was b/c you make it look so easy and i can’t wait to help you more when I get home. Love u<3 Daphne: I love u so much and miss u every day. The house must be so quiet w/out me and Char, so I’ve asked the birds to be extra loud to compensate  Birds: I hope you’re keeping Daphne up at night. I want you to know that you’ll never be replaced in my heart by the chickens here. I did make a really good chicken friend but he got slaughtered for the Naxi festival  Char: I saved the best for last. If you’re reading this I hope you’re taking a break from studying and if you’re not reading this I hope you’re having fun with friends. Pls listen to extra music for me b/c I can’t. Everyone: I think about y’all every day and we’re going to have so much fun when I get home! I hope everything’s going well at home and I’ll try my best to keep everyone updated  btw: when I get home I’m going to teach you majiang b/c I’ve become kind of a god at it.



Hey guys! I’m sorry for not calling you guys; reception here is really bad and Gmail is blocked. I miss you guys a lot, but I’m having fun here with the group; everyone is really friendly and nice. The village life has been a really eye opening experience so far and really puts a lot of things in perspective. Creo que a ti te gustaria mucho el pueblitio, Mami, me hase recuerdo a lo que me has contado de tu casa en El Salvador. Mi familia aqui son vien amable y saben todo de ustedes. Los amo mucho y pienso en ustedes todos los dias. Que Dios les bendiga y nos vemos pronto.




Hi Mom and Dad! Don’t worry – I am still alive (just don’t have access to email or to call you). It is day nine in Nanyao (the rural village) and we are leaving tomorrow to go hiking in Tiger Leaping Gorge. If it rains too much then we can’t go hiking because there will be mud and rock slides. My homestay family is nice. I have a two year eight month old younger sister who is pretty cute and my mom had a baby boy two days ago! I don’t think I will get to meet him because I don’t think they are coming home from the hospital in Lijiang (which is around 45 minutes drive away) by tomorrow. I have two grandmothers and a grandfather also. They make pretty good food but they try and get you to eat so much. Also the toilet is a hole in the concrete so you can see all the poop from before which is kind of gross and smells really bad. Most of the toilets in China are squatting toilets too but some are nicer than others. We went to Lijiang and walked around two days ago which was very fun to see the city. I haven’t found a snow globe yet which is not good! All of the kids on the trip are very nice and I am having such a great time. I hope everything is good at home and say hi to Bubba for me. Also tell Melissa I say hi and tell Dylan to send me a picture of her dyed hair tomorrow!! Love and miss you so much. – Sammy



Hey family, I miss y’all so much yet iInever want to leave, I’m having so much fun and learning lots of Chinese. even though I am the only one in the group who can’t speak Chinese everyone has been so welcoming and excited to teach me.  On day 2 people were already teaching me things like “I cant speak Chinese”, and, “My name is Dora”. today is the last day here at Nanyao (the rural homestay site). Later we will be leaving to go to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Ummm… I’ve made so many new friends. My host family is really sweet. I have a mum a dad and a grandfather. Kristen said that I also have two sisters but they haven’t come yet and are studying at Kunming University.

Simone – I miss u so bad, please make sure that the dog doesn’t forget about me and that none of my stuff gets lost in the move. I hope you had the best time with Aimee and I love you tell DZ I say hi and I miss her.

Oh yeah and mum as soon as y’all pick me up from the airport we’re going straight to the DMV and then I will drive home. Ummm… I miss y’all, and mom can you check whether or not I’m taking AP macro and email Dragons to have them tell Kristen? Oh and Bubbie when I come back I’m gonna play majiang with you and your British bunch or whoever you play with. Love and miss y’all – Dora



Hey guys, it’s me. China has been dope so far. We just finished our first homestay which was in a really cool Naxi village called Nanyao. It’s a village with an altitude of around 8,000 ft and the views were amazing. My homestay family members were all so hospitable and it was a great experience overall. This trip is going by really quick as we are all halfway done and it feels like its been less than a week here. I am really glad I went on this trip, it is a great eye opening experience and I’m learning a lot. I hope everything is going well at home and I also hope that Connor doesn’t wimp out of sleep away camp. Also Mom, I was wondering if you called to see if my DMV appointment is confirmed or not, because driving is pretty cool and all. Anyways, I love all you guys and I hope everyone is doing great.

-Sean William Lis