116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Chinese couple excited about vice president’s Muscatine visit
Chinese couple excited about vice president's Muscatine visit
Feb. 15, 2012 2:32 pm
When Zhu Yunxiang and his wife, Lijuan Cai, of Fairfield, spotted Thomas and Eleanor Dvorchak Wednesday over the lunch hour, they had one earnest request of the former Muscatine residents who were about to see China's vice president, Xi Jinping, for the first time in 27 years.
“If you have time,” Lijuan pleaded, “please say hello for us.”
“Hold that,” Eleanor Dvorchak replied, gesturing toward the couple's Chinese flag, and “you'll be easy to spot.”
The couples, who had never met before, just happened to cross paths when they were in the Muscatine Journal lobby Wednesday.
The Chinese couple, who have lived in the United States for about 20 years, gave the Dvorchaks a line to try out when they were to see Xi later Wednesday afternoon: “Ni hao,” a greeting that literally means, “You good?”
After a little practice, the Dvorchaks had the greeting down just right, the Fairfield couple assured them.
Zhu and Lijuan said they have been involved in cultural exchanges since arriving in this country, continuing the practice in 2000 when they moved to Fairfield from California.
Zhu is a professor of business administration and the vice president of Asian expansion at Maharishi University of Management, and Lijuan is the university's director of Asian student life.
“I believe (Xi's visit) will renew friendly relations with Iowa,” Zhu said. “As a result we might see more business, agricultural and educational exchanges.”
“He has a very busy schedule,” Lijuan said of Xi. “For him to take the time to visit his host families, we're very proud of him being here.”
About 70 Chinese students are studying at the university, Zhu said.
“They would have been here, too, if they weren't in class,” he said, as would the couple's children, Nathaniel Zhu, 14, and Daniel Zhu, 11.
The Fairfield couple said they planned to drive by the Dvorchaks' former Muscatine home and then get as close as they could to Roger and Sarah Lande's home, hoping to catch a glimpse of the man they call “our vice president.”
Even if they don't catch that glimpse, “just to be in the same town,” Zhu said, “is very exciting for us. We feel extremely honored.”