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Dozens crowd school gate to catch glimpse of Obama

By Zhao Xinying | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-22 08:25

Dozens crowd school gate to catch glimpse of Obama

On an early and bright Friday morning of blue skies, people began gathering outside the Second High School Attached to Beijing Normal University, each wearing excited and anticipatory looks on their faces.

By 9 am, dozens of people had arrived. Among them were university students, the media, Beijing residents and US students currently studying in China.

Ben Carlson, who is from Oklahoma and came to China a month ago to study Mandarin at Beijing Normal University, said he wanted to catch a glimpse of the US first lady.

"I'm here to see Michelle Obama. They told me she's coming," he said with a smile, pointing at the residents who were also standing and waiting outside the school gate.

Carlson said he has never seen Michelle Obama and her daughters in person.

"I can't see them in the US, so I want to see them here in China," he said with his cellphone in hand preparing to take pictures.

Carlson said he currently lives in the apartment building for overseas students at Beijing Normal University, which is located in front of the high school and from where people have a good view of the campus.

"I heard that the first family would visit a high school in Beijing and I saw from my apartment that people were decorating the campus with flowers, which indicate someone important is coming. So I guessed they will come here," he said.

Dozens crowd school gate to catch glimpse of Obama

Xiang Guangmei, a junior at Minzu University of China in Beijing, said she was waiting with her camera for what seemed like an eternity.

Xiang, who is studying art at the university, said she is also interested in international affairs and came to the school to snap a shot of the Chinese first lady and the US first family.

"Who would miss such an opportunity to see the first ladies from both China and the US?" she said.

Xiang appeared patient for the party to arrive, but Carlson was a bundle of nerves.

"My Chinese-language class starts at 10 am and I don't have much time," he said.

Luckily, he didn't have to wait long. Around 9:30 am, cars carrying Michelle Obama, her daughters, Sasha and Malia, her mother Marian Robinson, and the US first lady's staff members arrived. The excitement immediately grew outside the school gate and people held up their cameras or cellphones high in the hopes of getting a shot of Obama.

Carlson then said he saw Michelle Obama through the car window. After snapping a few shots, he left with contentment for his Mandarin classes. It wasn't clear if China's first lady, Peng Liyuan, arrived with Obama.

Most of the people at the gate decided to stay a little while longer until Obama and her entourage departed from the school. About 10:50 am, their cars drove out, inciting an intense array of clicks of cameras and cellphones until the cars drifted out of view.

 Dozens crowd school gate to catch glimpse of Obama

Peng Liyuan (left) shows US first lady Michelle Obama (center) how to hold a writing brush as Obama's mother, Marian Robinson (second from left), watches at a traditional calligraphy class at the Second High School Attached to Beijing Normal University on Friday. AFP Photo

(China Daily 03/22/2014 page6)

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