September 2016 Branch Meeting

September 9 (Friday), 10 AM “Living and Working in China”  Wendell Harwell, Norris Center, Northcross Mall; Contact: Marina Rivers

The September 9th AAUW Austin Branch Meeting was premier in every way!  It was the first meeting of member year 2016-17, and Co-President Marina Rivers’ husband, CPA Wendell Harwell presented a stellar, captivating portrait of Living in China from a savvy American point of view.  The PowerPoint presentation moved briskly along to Harwell’s confident and organized talk of living in Shanghai and traveling extensively in the rest of China.  His photos compared the way Americans in Shanghai were able to live vis å vis the way ordinary Chinese citizens live.  He had nothing but high regard for the daily challenges met by the Chinese to create a life for themselves, a livelihood, and provide the best possible education for their one child.  An interesting side note on the changing one-child law in China was the realization of the burden of family responsibilities on that single grown child to  house, feed, and clothe the older generations who, by custom, continue to live with the young.  Therefore, in a new marriage, a couple would provide for both sets of parents, plus their parents.  The societal mistake has been made plain.  Another eye-opener for the audience was the extreme challenge of gaining access to higher education vs making iPhones or planting rice if one failed.  The Chinese child plays no sports or pursues other interests other than study study study.  The competition is fierce.  He finished with the reminder that people all over the world want the same basic things.  Our governments might differ, but people all want peace, security, to provide for their children, and to live a good life free of fear.

The Harwells especially loved learning about the culture and language from brilliant Chinese tutors they hired, travel, their spacious apartment, and the FOOD.  They are real foodies who love to adventure dine and never became ill from the food they chose until they visited a Chinese KFC.  The program was enlightening and highly entertaining.  The 54 members and multiple guests in attendance loved the presentation and the very nice lunch of chicken breast with caper sauce, au gratin potatoes, salad, seasonal veggies, and mini-dessert choices.  Membership VP Elaine Penn welcomed new member Suellen Myers to our branch and recognized seven other NEW members in attendance: Roberta Coffin, Brenda Hahne, Sylvia Huntsman, Lana Kempff, Jennifer Swenson, and sisters Jan and Pam Watson.  Co-President Marsha Endahl Kramer introduced our three brand new Honorary members who were in attendance:  Myrtle Bell, Anita Knight, and Mary Ellen Scribner. Longtime Honoraries Jerry Cassidy and Nancy Myers were also introduced.  Sunshine chair Larie Amsler gave a touching tribute to the passing of Honorary member Dr. Janice May, who died in recent months.