Monday, July 21, 2014

Day 32 with SUSI

By CHIU Lai Yu Bonnie, Hong Kong (SUSI scholar 2014)

I have been travelling in the United States for more than a month now. Every day is meaningful! Every day is enjoyable! I just cannot believe that I am actually counting down the final days of this program. My feelings are very mixed: I really want to stay longer as it’s so fun and inspiring to be here but at the same time, I miss my husband, my kids and things close to me in Hong Kong. There are too many things on my mind that I want to write about and share with my colleagues and friends. I simply do not know where to start. I will perhaps start with what I have achieved and what I will work on after this trip.

Apart from those diversified arranged lectures and visits arranged for us (such assports advertising, CNN global news gathering, the operation of Wired magazine, the Budget newspaper and learning about the Amish culture etc.), we had attended several self-explored and self-guided lectures during this program including but not limited to:

 CORE 101 Introduction To Shopping Communication
(Many of us walked around Chinatown, Little Italy and Fisherman’s Wharf; “handled” discounted items from Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Forever 21, Macy’s etc. in San Franciso. Some of us got a very nice and elegant handbag forUS$8!!!!! Yes, US$8 dollars! I got my favorite Calvin Klein’s tops with 40% off and I was so happy that I almost wanted to cry!!)

FGSS 182 Feminism In Community: Community Engagement In Big Sales At Outlet Malls (at Prime, Maryland)(We will be taking this advanced course later this week in Maryland. I am very excited indeed and some scholars actually went to Wal-Mart to buy an empty suitcase for it!)

 ECON 128 The Nature Of Fine-dining(We dined at the Sun-Dial Upscale Restaurant, a revolving restaurant in Atlanta while appreciating the sunset and the night scenery of Atlanta. I loved my strawberry Gazpacho and grilled salmon! It took the restaurant one whole hour to have a 360 degree panorama turn and we were all busy taking pictures with different views outside of the windows.)

BIO 327 Marine Biology’s Practicum And Participatory Communication(We ate and tried delicious seafood including San Francisco’s famous cioppino, clams, crabs, shrimps and chowder etc with white wine at a restaurant with sea view. It was so yummy that we barely spoke during our lunch there.)

SOC 015 Clubbing, Consumption And Society(Some of us went to a nightclub called Havana to experience club culture, triedLatin dancing and tried tequila shots there in Atlanta. I went to Lenox Square and grabbed 2 half-priced Coach handbags in 10 minutes!!!!)

CULT 282 Symphony And Culture(I went to see “Pixar in Concert” at Davies Symphony Hall in San Franciso. Before the show, I walked around all of the nearby buildings including the Opera House etc. The first show started in San Franciso 2 years ago and after that therehas since been similar shows in 85 different countries worldwide. The beauty of the hall stunned me and the San Francisco Orchestra performed very well.)

MUS 101 Jazz and Anthropology: (Some colleagues went to a pub with livejazz music in downtown San Franciso after their Afghanistani meal).

SPORT 2460 Trekking Science within Google Community: (We walked around Google offices and appreciated the working atmosphere there due to the fact that our bus-driver dropped us off at the wrong place. But I need to thank him for that as it was a very nice walk by which we saw bicycles, cars, road signs etc. which all have “Google” colors or names).

We had taken many other “courses” which of are a similar nature and I was really enjoying myself in all of the “courses” above and I passed them with “distinction”. 

As for the future collaboration, Professor Yusuf  Kalyango and Professor Mary T. Rogus had mentioned to us about the idea of writing a book together. Every one of us contributed some information from our country or city and then they would compile it. I have been working hard on my research topic and hope one day a paper will be published. I have narrowed down the scope of my research paper: either taking a documented approach, i.e. examining on the details of every court case or taking a qualitative and quantitative approach, i.e. send out a questionnaire to a targeted group such as university students or journalists to ask them their concept about the right to be forgotten etc. and then to analyze the results thereafter.

I am very grateful to my research partner, Dr. Kevin Grieves, who has been supervising me even when he is on leave. Sri Lanka scholar Mr. Aruna Lokuliyana and I have been discussing the possibility of writing a research paper together on social media using a comparative approach; I have talked about using “Skype” to give a guest lecture with some of our scholars on editing, gender issues, diplomatic issues etc... I had meetings with many faculty members here at Ohio University to discuss on future collaboration. Special thanks to Dr. Scott Titsworth, Dean, Scripps College of Communication, Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Associate Dean, Scripps College of Communication, Dr. Bob Stewart, Director of Scripps School of Journalism as they had all spent time to see me. I have already connected them and with my relevant colleagues in Hong Kong for further correspondence related to student exchange programs, joint PhD programs, exchange of faculty members via short conferences or teaching, joint publication etc.  Without the great support of Professor Yusuf  Kalyango, Professor Mary T. Rogus, Professor  Bill Reader and Professor Jatin Srivastava, I would not have so many ideas on how to have more collaborative projects in the future. Thus, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank them all

I had been thinking of thanking Mary in person in the last 4 years. It so happened that this foundation is situated at Bay Village, very near to Cleveland. When the SUSI program brought us to visit Cleveland, I met Mary for about 2 hours during our free-time.  Both of us cried during our first meeting (I know it was very strange but I guess only we who have had the condition could understand such empathy) as we shared the same similar terrible experience. I donated some funds to the foundation, interviewed her and have planned to write an article to promote this foundation. I had also offered to translate the whole website in Chinese so that more Chinese-speaking mothers could be helped. I am very appreciative to the fact that an American like Mary can help save lives and change the world by her individual efforts!!! I need to learn from her and I hope all twin babies can survive such an ordeal! Moreover, in this year, the SUSI program had 3 (including me) scholars out of 18 that have twins. We plan to write a book together about twins in different countries and we hope that any money gained from the sales of the books will be sent to charity!!!

One final but important sharing here: SUSI did me a great favor in accomplishing my personal agenda in doing some charitable work for twins in the future. I put my story very precisely: when I carried my twin boys 4 years ago, I had a rare condition called Twin-to-twin-transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). It was very dangerous and I had to do 2 laser operations to save my boys’ lives when they were still inside me. I was so worried about the lives of them and I cried almost every day when bed-resting at the hospital or at home for about 6 months. Accidentally, I found a website: , which is operated by a foundation called Twin to Twin Transfusion Foundation.  The president and founder of the foundation, Mary Slaman, lost one of her twin sons 25 years ago due to this terrible condition and then she set up this foundation to help mothers all over the world. I visited this website to gain all kinds of support every day during my most difficult times. It did not just give me a lot of information about TTTS, more importantly, it encouraged me by reinforcing the message: our kids can make it!!! With the miracle of God’s grace, my boys are healthy, smart and have just turned 3 recently.

Many thanks for enrolling me in this program. I hope when we are approaching the end of this program it would only mean that we will be entering a new era of further collaboration.

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