12 December 2016

Off Topic — Ya Lun & Xi Lun

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I have passions beyond fiber arts. I have a lifelong passion for giant pandas. I'm fortunate to live in the very best city in the whole United States when it comes to pandas. When I moved here more than twenty years ago (yes, before the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games), there were zero pandas in Atlanta. At that time, the only panda in the United States was the geriatric Hsing-Hsing at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Lun Lun and Yang Yang arrived here in Atlanta in the fall of 1999. I have been a fan ever since. For me, there are few places in the world better than the panda exhibit at ZooAtlanta.

Today, I just wanted to blog a happy shout out to ZooAtlanta and Chendgu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. When I think of the International Space Station, I think of the collaboration between the United States and Russia. When I think of ZooAtlanta's giant panda program, I think of the collaboration between the United States and China. In both cases, difficult, remarkable, and wonderful things have been achieved by working together. These collaborations give me hope that working together is possible no matter what happens.

Today, ZooAtlanta's second pair of twins — cubs #6 and #7 — received their names.

ZooAtlanta President & CEO, Raymond King, announcing panda cub names.

Congratulations, Ya Lun & Xi Lun!

And congratulations to the care staff at ZooAtlanta and their colleagues from Chengdu Research Base. Lun Lun has had five successful pregnancies and seven cubs. I like to think Lun Lun's beautiful face and Yang Yang's playful temperament will always be represented in the giant panda gene pool.

For those of you keeping score:
2006: Mei Lan
2008: Xi Lan
2010: Po
2013: Mei Lun & Mei Huan
2016: Ya Lun & Xi Lun

I do hope the Chinese will please remember that, whether you like him or not, our president-elect is not terribly strong even at American etiquette. Forgiveness might sometimes be needed. And I hope our new administration will please remember that etiquette is an important element of Chinese culture. Politeness sometimes matters. Many people regard the relationship between China and the United States as the most important international relationship today. I am glad the town I call home is doing a little bit to make this a friendship.

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