Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
We discovered a new community on that dark track. There were all kinds of workouts being performed...some I'd never seen before! The young college guys would sprint around the track for a few laps. Satisfied with their run they'd go to the pull up bars in the center and start doing really fast sit ups. The young college girls, arm in arm, talked rapidly as they walked around the track or leaning lazily on the bars in the center talking on their cell phones. Older couples walked around the track backwards swinging their arms in huge motions across their bodies and then out again. One woman walked the entire track several times with her arms raised above her head the whole time. There were little children racing each other in the center being watched carefully by their grandmothers. And of course there was an army training for the new college students taking up all of the lanes on one part of the track. (In China all the college students must have army training their freshman or sophomore year.)
As you can imagine all these different activities made a regular run on the track quite an obstacle course! We plan to be regulars on this track and make some friends along the way.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Sylar, A student of mine, grew up in Hangzhou and knows a lot about the city. For months we've been talking about climbing the hills next to west lake and today we had an opportunity to do so! Sylar, Butterfly, Kerri, and another friend came with Kyle & I!
We experienced a completely different side of Hangzhou, one we'd never seen before. We left the hustle and bustle of the city streets and started the climb. Stairs of course. Like our Huang Shan Christmas but not near as strenuous. Once we climbed to the summit we sat on rocks and looked at the city below. It was an awesome feeling to find a place of retreat from crowded buses, busy streets and over populated sidewalks. Today we found our favorite place in Hangzhou.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
About a week ago I found out I didn't get the job. The ideas & plans we'd thought about for so long came crashing down & left us wondering "ok, that didn't work out. What next?". We had a meeting with our family here & talked about longterm & short term goals. No real decisions have been "set in stone" yet. But most of us are thinking "what next". Please think about us while we all try to listen to him about what's next.
Monday, March 8, 2010
It was raining hard at this point and I had my bag over my shoulder and braced my umbrella against the wind with both hands. I arrived to the fourth floor of the office building, walked down the hall and was greeted by a smiling face. Our Happy Woman's Day gift turned out to be boxes of Welch's grape juice! Each box had four glass bottles and they were heavy. I got two boxes because she asked if I could take Kyle's too. Walking down the hallway with this heavy load I didn't know how I was going to juggle these boxes and an umbrella at the same time.
A few ideas were flying through my head: I could have held both boxes with two hands and just trudged through the rain with no umbrella - but I would have been soaked for my next class. I also thought maybe I could hide them somewhere in a building and come get them after class - this was risky too because I could miss the bus home...
The elevator door opened and it had only one occupant. One of my students from this morning's class! She noticed I was struggling and took one of the boxes out of my hands and said, "I will help you go where you need to go." She walked all the way across campus in the rain carrying my box of juice!
The very moment I wondered how I was going to make it I was sent a gift.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Recently I learned from my students that they DON'T speak English to each other outside of class. This is their biggest struggle in learning English (they don't live in an English-friendly environment). Understanding this made me determined to create an English-friendly environment for each of my students.
I gave each student the challenge to speak English to five people throughout the week about what we talked about in our class. If all 60 of my kids from two classes talk to five of their friends, that's 300 people having English conversations about good things outside of class. Once they'd talked to five people they had to email me the names and responses of those people. Accountability.
I've had several emails already and it's been really neat reading my student's opinions on good things and speaking English outside of class.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Many of you know we’ve been traveling for about six weeks in south east asia. There are too many stories, experiences and pictures to share in just one blog so I’ve chosen a few pictures to show you and tell you about and that will just have to do. Feel free to email me with questions or comments :o) They are always welcome and encouraging.
We started our travels in Hanoi, Vietnam. This is a picture of the whole gang at a very beautiful outside café. We were all enjoying the warmer weather and excited to start our travels!
Hanoi is “famours” for the avid use of mopeds. They use them for everything…we even saw a man and woman riding down the street with a twin mattress in between them! I didn’t get a picture of that but I thought this one was interesting…Chickens stuffed in a cage on the back.
Mui Ne is a very special place in all of our hearts. The people are very laid back and funny. It’s a small beach town in South Vietnam. Kyle and Kevin took Kite boarding lessons and the rest of us tried our balance in surfing! We enjoyed our beach time there.
From Mui Ne we went to Saigon…we don’t have many pictures from there because it was just a stop over for a few days before we headed to Cambodia!
The first city we enjoyed in Cambodia was Phenom Phen. We were blessed to spend time with family who took care of us very well!
After Siem Reap we went to Bangkok, Thailand and spent time with friends like us. We had so much fun with the people there!
From Bangkok we went to Beijing, China for a winter break orientation where we got pumped up for this semester. We did make some time for fun and tourism too! We saw the great wall, Tiananmen square, the forbidden city and the Olympic buildings! We found a ski resort a few hours outside of Beijing and we went Snowboarding for a few days.
This has been an incredible trip but we're ready to get back to work! Tomorrow we start teaching and continue to live with purpose. We're really excited about this semester and hope all of you think of us here in China.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
This semester is OV for me! I gave my last final today at 10:30, my how the time has flown! This semester has been absolutely incredible. What started out as a group of unfamiliar, nervous, chinese faces turned into a beautifully confident bunch of friends!
I remember on the first day of class the students slinked awkwardly into their seats looking at me wide-eyed and nervous. I was nervous too because I had never had to teach such shy people...American kids are the complete opposite - you have to teach them to not say everything they're thinking! I found out from a few of the bolder ones that many of them had never even talked to a foreigner before! From then on I understood and tried to make the classroom a friendly environment by building confidence every chance I could. I don't know when it happened but they transformed somewhere in the middle and the last half of class was spent joking during breaks and a lot of them came early to speak to me a little more.
I'm excited about next semester because unlike Kyle and the rest of the undergraduate teachers I get to keep my students! So we're going to have fun learning right off the bat with no need to go through that awkward time again!
I'm really excited about this incredibly long break! We plan to travel south-east asia (vietnam, cambodia & thailand) encouraging family along the way. I'm pumped and will be writing more about it as it happens!
(picture is a prezzie from one of my students named bunny, she got me a bunny so i'd remember her lol)