In the shade of Project Pengyou’s courtyard, a large crowd stood captivated as the American national anthem was sung a cappella. Despite different backgrounds and languages present, they were all here for a shared celebration of the Fourth of July, American Independence Day.
Over a hundred Pengyous in Beijing came for all-you-can-eat barbecue, cold drinks and good company. The yearly tradition at the Project Pengyou courtyard has become an occasion for people to partake of classic American backyard barbecue food like potato salad, corn on the cob, cupcakes, and brownies made by our very own team.
Following tradition, we once again fired up the grill to serve freshly made hamburgers and hotdogs – another classic barbecue staple. (Grilling in the heat of the Beijing summer is hot work, so shout out to our two interns, Loren and Justin, who served as grill-masters for the evening!) Whether it’s hamburgers or 串儿 (“chuanr”, or grilled meat kebabs), the smell of the grill in Beijing is nostalgic, and there’s something special about the personal touch of a home-cooked meal! One guest said that the food, the live-singing of the Star Spangled Banner, and the good company made him feel a bit emotional and that he as well as several other participants couldn’t help but join in!
As the evening went on, we cooled down with dairy-free frozen yogurt and popsicles. Our courtyard was full of lively conversation as a diverse group of students and professionals chatted and enjoyed great food and music. We’re happy to see the familiar faces of several of our Chapter leaders from American University, St. Lawrence University, and Grinnell College as well. We also got to know many new Pengyous and their stories.
Check out a few of our favorite moments from the night below:
We’d like to thank Jing Sing A Capella again for their wonderful performance of the “Star Spangled Banner”, Christiana Zhu, founder of YeYo dairy-free coconut yogurt for providing us with a delicious frozen treat, and our friend Sophie Wright (Project Pengyou Leadership Fellow 2014) for volunteering her time to help us set up as well as during the event! Finally, a big thank you to all of the guests who joined us in the courtyard to share one of our favorite traditions – cultural exchange between American and Chinese pengyous.
You can find more photos from our event here, and stay tuned for a video recap of the festivities!