Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Day 125 - Last Day of Finals!

Day 125 - Last Day of Finals!

I had my last day of finals today.  It is so insightful into the lives of these students to ask them a few questions after they have answered their “planned out answer” to the first.  It also helps me better judge their skills in speaking English when they don’t have a planned answer to a question.  The last student today planned to be the last and asked me to turn off the timer because he had a “lot of questions” he wanted to ask me.  I told him that I had planned to meet my husband at the canteen at twelve, so that gave him an extra seven minutes to talk with me.  His friend stayed in the room also because he wanted to hear the answers I gave to the questions.  He mostly asked questions about life in America and about some of the events I have dealt with here in China.  As I packed up my things to walk to the canteen, my last three students were waiting for the elevator and I caught up with them.  We all slowly walked to the canteen and they were able to ask me more questions.  These students are just so wonderful!

We met Eva at the Teacher Restaurant for lunch.  She came to our apartment and tried to help me print out the final scores for my students, but the system is not accepting final scores as yet, so I can’t print them out until we get back from Harbin. 

The computer chairs we had bought back in October have been falling apart.  One of the wheels on mine has already broken off.  The seat on David’s was tilting to the side and would probably have broken off at any moment.  We talked to the University because really, it is their part of the contract to provide us with the furnishings of this apartment.  They brought the new chairs this morning.  Much better!  They are used, but they do seem to be quality. 

We are leaving for Harbin and the Snow and Ice Festival in the morning, so we did our packing tonight.  Had to make sure we had all the warm clothing we could find to handle the cold we expect to experience up there!

Day 124 – Pie Show Fan

Day 124 – Pie Show Fan

I was able to chat with Seth, Rachel and Caleb this morning and watch Aleeyah play for a while as I talked to Rachel.  Such a good aunt to follow her around with her iphone and capture her movements as she plays!  It was so cute!  Then I had to work on getting grades put into the computer system for the university.

After lunch, we ran some errands and made a trip to Carrefour for groceries.  Then we decided to go to the canteen for some dinner.  When we got back, I organized the kitchen better with some baskets that I had bought today.  There was just so much wasted space and when you don’t have much space to begin with, you need to organize it better, so I did.  There is still some more I could do, but it feels so much better this way.  You may ask what took me four months to do it?  Well, I just thought I could live with it the way it was, but when I think of the next six to seven months, I just thought it would be worth putting out $10 to do it!

As David was checking his email, he had a message from our friend, Sherry, who had helped us the first day that I had my sophomore class.  Her mother happens to watch the cooking program that I did the banana cream pie for.   David had sent a link to the show to Sherry and her mother came in while she was watching the link.  Her mother asked her why she was watching the show and she said that she knew us!  Her mother was so surprised and said that the pie looked so good and she would love to have tasted it.  We will try to get together with them sometime and take a pie to her.  Sometimes the world gets really small… even in China!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Day 123 – Church by Phone and Wrong Way Taxi

Day 123 – Church by Phone and Wrong Way Taxi

We got a taxi to go to Church.  We had a problem with the bridge and the wifi network that we use to Skype our meetings.  It kept kicking us off.  Wayne Clarke had the most amount of minutes on his phone and he and Libby were to be our speakers today, so we used his phone to call in on.  It did quite well and really didn’t use up that much of his paid for minutes.  The Hanlin Hotel has been doing construction above the rooms where we meet and it was pretty loud.  It was interesting though, because when the Clarke’s started their talks, the noise from the construction stopped for that time.  They started up again almost the minute they were done.  We still have to get through the second hour though, and Steve Schauerhamer was giving the lesson during that time and the banging and jack hammering were pretty loud, so Jim Purnell called the desk and asked if they could stop the big noise until 12 when we would be done.  It took about 10 minutes to get the word up to them from the front desk, but they stopped and we were able to finish the meeting in quiet.

Christmas dinner was the theme for our potluck today.  Lots and way too much good food!  And then, they brought out the desserts!! 

Jim Purnell asked me to arrange for the music for the next year, so I was able to get that all set up.  He said that they hadn’t changed the songs in four years, so they thought it was time.  It reminded me of the days when I was planning the music for Church…

We decided to take a taxi home.  The hotel bellboy helped us hail down a taxi and then he told them that we were going to Shandong University.  The taxi man took off and when he didn’t turn where we expected him to and he moved over to the inside lane, David tried to tell him that it was Shandong University on Shanda Nanlu, but he still didn’t seem to get it.  This university has 7 campuses in the city and there are smaller colleges that also have the name Shandong in them, so he was taking us to one of those universities.  I got out my card and David showed it to him.  He seemed very apologetic and turned the car and started going the right way.  He still charged us for taking us in the wrong direction, but at least he took us almost to our door rather than dropping us off at the South Gate. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day 122 - Cute Girl on a Bus

Day 122 – Cute Girl on a Bus

We were able to chat with Ammon and his children for a little while this morning.  So good to hear them all!  They are growing fast.  Then Gilbert was here to pick us up for our elementary class.

Things went well there but when we were done, we just had Gilbert bring us back because Eva had texted that she was on campus and had the information for me to enter my grades and could show me what to do so I could have one of my students help me.  After she came, we went with her to a place called the “Cultural Market” and bought a nice wool scarf and some better pants for the cold weather we are expecting to experience in Harbin next week.  We drove to Eva’s place to drop off her car and then took a taxi to the market. 

When we were done at the market, we decided to take the bus home.  She looked on the chart and found a bus that would get us close to the Old Campus and then we could walk home from there.  We got to a stop that was close to Eva’s home, so she got off there when we assured her that we knew the way home and would recognize where we needed to go.  As we continued on, the bus kept filling up with people.  We even got to the point that the bus was so full that the driver was not stopping to let people on unless there was someone getting off. 

At one point, a grandmother and her cute granddaughter got on.  We had been on early enough that we had seats all this time.  The girl was right in front of me and she kept smiling at me.  I think she was about seven years old.  I said “hello” to her in Chinese.  She said something to me in Chinese.  I decided to try a few of my phrases that I knew on her.  I told her I was from America.  Then I said I was a teacher at Shandong University.  I tried to tell her my name, but the “Z” sound doesn’t work the same in Chinese.  I think she told me her name and then she went off and kept talking to me.  I finally had to just shrug my shoulders.  The little girl and her grandmother were so friendly.  Then, the little girl digs down in the bag her grandmother is carrying and brings out a little stuffed toy animal.  I start “dancing” the toy on my knee and have it “dance” up her arm.  After a minute, she gets back in the bag and pulls out another stuffed toy animal.  We are playing and “dancing” with them.  We are having so much fun!  After a while, we found we were at a stop that we could catch a bus that would take us right to our campus, so we decided to get off.  I was giving back the toy to the little girl, but she pushed it back to me!  It was her gift to me!  So Sweet!  After we got off the bus, we kept waving at her and she waved back at us until the bus drove off and we couldn’t see each other anymore.  I wish I had thought to take a picture of her.  She had her two front teeth missing which added to her cuteness!

My gift from the little girl on the bus.

We hurried back to campus and picked up David’s guitar and then went to the canteen to meet Stan and Nancy Pace for dinner at the Teacher Restaurant.  We had a nice meal and waited there until John, one of David’s students, met us there to take us to the Chemistry Department’s party.  We were invited to be a part of the program with our singing, and we needed an escort to the place where they were holding the party since we don’t know the buildings names in Chinese. 

Singing at the Chemistry Department Party.
We had lots of praise for our singing and we were given seats of honor (when you are placed on the same table with the head professors, that is a seat of honor) and some snacks and water.  We stayed for most of the performances, but I was starting to fall asleep, so we excused ourselves and left to go home. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Day 121 - Students Bearing Gifts

Day 121 – Students Bearing Gifts

David and I both had finals in our classes today.  I had two boys that were supposed to be in my class all semester, but the college moved them over to another campus so that they couldn’t attend my class and they wanted a final interview with me to see if they can pass.  I interviewed them anyway.  Now I have to find out what the school wants me to do with them. 

In my second class, three of the girls were hanging around until I was done with all the interviews and then they approached me with some gifts.  Thalia and Erin had two cute little keychain dolls, one in black and the other in white and wanted me to remember them by.  Of course, they also wanted a hug.  Then Faith brought out her gift to me.  It was a Chinese knot that is meant to bring me good fortune and happiness in my life.  Both were nice gifts and I know they put a lot of thought into them.

The Chinese knot from Faith.

My girl key chains from Thalia and Erin.

This was a gift to David from one of his students.  Very pretty origami birds.

We planned to go to the Clarke’s this evening and have dinner with them at Pizza Hut, but we had to wait around until David was done with Square dance.  He got a message from the young man that was supposed to be getting the permit to do it and said that he couldn’t get the permit.  Whenever you want to use a room in a building, you have to have a piece of paper with a red star on it that tells everyone that it has been okayed for you to be there doing what you are doing.  They also needed one of the colleges on the campus to sponsor it.  He tried to get his college to sponsor it, but they told him they wouldn’t do it, so he wasn’t able to get the paper with the stamp of the red star.  Well, we decided to leave earlier than we had planned and got to the Clarke’s about 4:30.  We visited for a while and then had a nice dinner at the Pizza Hut.  We stopped by the market that was close by, but didn’t find anything we wanted, so we went back to their apartment and played “Skip-bo.”  It was a fun evening.

These are Seth's children holding the parasols and swords that I sent them for Christmas.  Happy Kids!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day 120 - Post Christmas

Day 120 – Post Christmas

We got on the computer by 7 a.m. so that we could video chat with Kadie and family. David left for classes and I video chatted with Rachel, Caleb, Bethany and Aleeyah.  She had some more antics to watch and that was a lot of fun.  Then it was a video chat with Seth and his family.  They all seemed to be enjoying Christmas and the joy of the season.  We also chatted with Evan for just a short time because the internet was giving us problems.  He is in California visiting with a family for Christmas.

I got some school work done and when David got home, we went for groceries after lunch was done.  It is a cold day with a biting wind, so we didn’t want to be out in it for long.  David went over to the office to see if our package had come in yet.  Kind of sad to not have it for Christmas to open.

After dinner, Eva came over and brought her keyboard that her daughter doesn’t use anymore so that we can play it while we are here.  She also had a lot of pictures from some of our adventures and the video she took of us singing at the Christian Church on Christmas Eve.  Alan also came here for tutoring and we all watch the video of our pie making adventure on TV.  

Day 119 - Christmas Day in China

Day 119 – Christmas Day in China           

Alisa was having a hard time with Christmas being so different for her this year and she called on Facetime and we chatted for the few minutes we had before we needed to leave for classes.  It is as hard for us to be gone from them as it is for them to have us gone.  That’s the way it is…

Interviews this morning went well.  Annie and Carol were the last two for their interviews today, and they had to have hugs and gave me an apple and an orange.  They are just fun kids to be around and associate with.  In the first class, I was just interviewing the last student and I wasn’t paying too much attention to all the people that were coming in, but thinking in the back of my mind, “I guess I need to get out of here because they are going to have another class in here.”  I stood up to get my coat on and pack my things to leave and I hear, “San, er, yi!  Merry Christmas!”  (Translated is, “Three, two, one…)  The class had all gathered in there and planned this to wish me, “Merry Christmas!”  It was very touching!  They are all concerned that we are here in China and our family is in America on one of the most important days for family to be together in our culture.

China celebrates the Spring Festival that will start on January 23 and will last until the Lantern Festival around the middle of February.  This is similar to our Christmas holiday and they hold it as vital to visit family and relatives during this time.  They could not imagine being absent if at all possible during this time.  They do understand when I say that I made a commitment when I decided to teach here that I would not be going home for Christmas.  I have been very touched by their concern for my happiness at this time.

After lunch, we both took naps.  We were late getting to bed last night because we were video chatting with Caleb, Bethany, Rachel and Aleeyah.  They had her open her gifts from us while we were chatting and we got to see her reaction.  She was so cute.  One gift was a new dress and the other was the hand painted parasol that I had sent from China for her.  She immediately started putting it over her head and walking around with it on.  Just so cute to see her and how she loved them both! 

Aleeyah with her new dress and parasol.  Just the cutest!
I had my interviews with the sophomore class this afternoon.  They went well.  One girl gave me a tube of what seems to be very nice hand lotion and I as very touched by her gift.   Cosmetics are expensive here.

We went to the canteen to join in with the other foreign teachers tonight for a Christmas dinner.  Pace’s, Clarke’s and four of the single men teachers were there.  The rest were all Chinese guests and employees of the Foreign Affairs Office.  We had a nice potluck dinner, sang some songs and had a white elephant gift exchange.  We had a nice time.  The manager of the Teacher Restaurant area that we were dining in came in at one point and gave us all a toast.  He appeared to be drunk.  Later we saw him riding his bike home, or at least pushing it home.   We were talking with the Clarke’s on their way to the bus and Leona, who had been at the party came up and started talking to us.  The manager stopped on his bike and seemed even drunker than when he had stopped in at the party.  We wondered how he could ride the bike in the condition he was in.  I hope he made it home okay…

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Day 118 - Christmas Eve in China

Day 118 – Christmas Eve in China

The day started off well with me doing finals for my classes.  There is just something about these students that brightens your day.  Several wished me, “Merry Christmas” and I was even given some gifts – Chocolate!  Several brought me cards to enjoy with a hand written note.  My second class is a small class of only thirty students and I can do their interviews in just three hours, so I decided to do some fun things with Christmas today.  We did Christmas Bingo and a Christmas Jeopardy game.  I had candy and prizes and it was all fun.

We left for Stan and Nancy Pace’s place at three so we could stop at RT Mart on the way there and pick up something to wrap our White Elephant gifts for the Foreign Teachers’ Christmas Dinner tomorrow.  Then we went on to Pace’s and had supper with them.  We met Eva on the old campus and she gave the Pace’s and us a ride to a bus stop near the Jingsi Lu Christian Church so we could sing there tonight with the BYU teachers.  Traffic was pretty bad, so it took quite a long time.  We were glad that we started as early as we did.

When we arrived at the church, they ushered us to seats in the front.  We were right behind the Government Officials who attend for the first song and then left, they had done their duty.  The rest of the program was nice, all in Chinese, but we had Eva there to help interpret for us when we asked.  When the performers just before us were about half way done, they wanted us to go next to the stage and get ready to go on.  We sang the version of “Away in a Manger” from the Children’s Song book and I think they thought it was nice, but started clapping after we finished the second verse.  Then we sang, “Joy to the World.”  We were pretty “spirited” as we sang it and soon we had the audience clapping along while we sang.  LOTS of pictures were being taken!  It was fun and we had some fun with some of the small children that were around us.  One little girl came back and sat with us for the last song. 

The first choir at the Jingsi Christian Church.

The Children's Choir.  They did a good job and looked like they had fun doing it.

This is us... the Mormon not-Tabernacle Choir.

The fan dance while a song about Christ played.  I didn't recognize the song, but Eva said that it was a song about Christ.  It was a rather pretty song but I don't think the fans had any significance.  At times, they looked like flowers blooming.

When it was over, we all caught buses for home.  The bus that the Pace’s and we were on almost died on the way home.  I just kept praying that it just had to hold together until we all got to our stop.  It did, thank goodness.  Now we will see what Christmas day has in store in China.

Day 117 - Ordinary Day

Day 117 – Ordinary Day

While David was in class, I worked on my last presentation for one class and made certain that I was ready for the next day’s finals.  I didn’t sleep well, so I wanted to go back to bed the whole time, but I stuck with it.  Chatted with Kadie and then chatted with Seth, Carolyn and Rachel.  Jacob could hear that they were talking to me, so he snuck out of bed and came and said a quick “Hi, Grandma!” before he was ushered back to his room.  It was good to visit with them. 

After lunch, we both took naps.  It was hard to want to do anything today.  For dinner, we went to the canteen.  We wanted to go to the teacher restaurant, but it was full, so we went to the 4th floor where they had warm food and got some supper.  Then we came back home and I got the pumpkin roll and some cookies made for the Foreign Teacher’s Christmas Dinner on Wednesday.  It will be the only time all week that I can do this.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Day 116 – Christmas Program

Day 116 – Christmas Program

David and I took a taxi to the Hanlin Hotel for Church.  The driver knew a few words in English and I think he said all of them as we were getting out of the taxi!  We arrived early enough that we could rehearse our songs once before Sacrament Meeting started.

The program was off to a rough start when it sounded like the system wasn’t going to work but it went along well and I thought our songs sounded good.  David, Wayne Clarke and I all read scriptures for it.  For roll call after the meeting, they wanted us to say “Merry Christmas” in as many different languages as we could.  That was funny.  There was quite a variety.  David said it in Navajo since he was the one stating the attendance.  Jim Purnell wanted to do it in Canadian – “Merry Christmas, Aye!”  Dinner was a scrumptious affair with Sue Schauerhamer making scones along with all the other yummy food.  We had to leave a little earlier than we would have liked to because we had to get home for the camera crew to come.

We had a long wait for the bus to get there and then we hurried home as fast as we could.  We met Eva and Alina going to the library before they were going to come to our place.  The camera guy and two of the girls from the program were there already waiting for us.  They had the pie and it was still all in one piece.  I had made a second one with the leftover pie crust dough from Friday in case something happened to the Friday one on the way here.  The TV people were nervous because their English skills are very small and they needed to explain some things to us.  We didn’t have anyone coming there until 3:30, so it was a little awkward during that time.  David’s students, Ashley and Adam were the first here, so we got started with some explanations of what they wanted.  Eva and Alina made it soon after and then at 4 p.m., Sirius Hu made it here and Alan and his mother came also. 

They wanted us to say a few phrases in Chinese at the beginning of the show, but I don’t think I could tell you any of them right now.  Some of it was in English, some in Chinese.  We sang “Jingle Bells” (very popular here in China) and then we did the tasting of the pie.  Everyone said they loved it and we had to have two “takes” of the girl who was tasting the food and declared it “delicious” (a favorite word here in China when you are talking about food) and then gave the spiel about the peanut oil that is a sponsor of the show.  They gave us a four liter bottle of the oil.  I’m not sure how soon we will use it all up, but I don’t think we will have to buy any more oil here!

Our Christmas Party attendees.  Back row: Eva, Adam, Ashley, Sirius, Alan's Mom.  Seated: Alina, me, David and Alan.

Added the TV crew in:  The girl in red was the "official taster."  The girl next to me held the microphone and was more the boss of the crew.  She was the one who tasted the pie and then had to have another piece.  The camera man is holding the camera in the back next to Sirius.

Our new four liter bottle of peanut oil! And our Christmas tree.

They all had a piece of pie and then we cut up the other pie I had made and we only have two small pieces of that left, so I think it was a big hit!  The one TV girl tasted a small piece of the pie while the girl in red was finishing her peanut oil advertisement and exclaimed how she loved the pie and then had to have another piece!  I had also made cookies last night and they were enjoyed by everyone here.  I was able to give the rest away to those that were here so we have no more homemade cookies in the house. 

Eva brought David a scarf as a gift (she said that she wants me with her when she picks out a scarf for me).  We had a stocking filled with candy for each of the students and people that were here.  Sirius brought us a chicken and a jar of pickled garlic.  Adam and Ashley brought us a large bag of goodies and hand warmers for our trip to Harbin next week to help us stay warm.  They all had to leave shortly after that but it was such fun to have them all here.  Alina was really nervous in front of the camera, but we got her into it and she did okay.  Her first time on TV… well for almost all of them I think.  Another happy memory made here in China… a Christmas to remember. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Day 115 - Filling Christmas Stockings

Day 115 

We went with Gilbert to our English school.  We had a new boy named Jerry there today and Lily came for the last hour.  Everything went pretty well today.  Helen was snuggling with David while we were going through our lessons and Leon was a cutie.  He came up to me after the break and jabbered something that he thought I should understand and I couldn’t.  I wish I could have responded to him. 

Leon was kicking around the soccer ball and there in the background were David and Gilbert playing "Cat's Cradle!"   
I just thought it was hilarious that the kids were playing and the grandmas were watching the kids and the two grown men are over there playing "Cat's Cradle"!  David was actually showing Gilbert something about how to play it.

After the school was done, Gilbert and Zinia took us shopping at an underground mall that has some good discounts on things.  We needed to get some warmer clothes for when we go to the Harbin Ice Festival in a week and a half.  Last night and how cold we were convinced us we needed something warmer.  We each got a pair of pants and I got some better gloves and some thermal socks.  We hope it is good enough.

Then Gilbert took us to lunch at a “noodle” place that he said was really great.  There were no places to sit, so we were standing there looking around and two couples that were sitting at a table near the door hurried and finished their meal and let us sit.  The one man was shoveling in his rice so fast that we felt bad for making him hurry.  Then he drank his soup just as fast.  We were sitting there watching him eat and I had to make sure that my mouth was shut and not gaping at him.  The food was good, but they had a sauce there that was SO hot that I had barely an 1/8th of a teaspoon in my bowl and my lips were burning by the end of the bowl.  David had to stop and pause every so often to let the burning quell in his mouth.  He had more like a half teaspoon in his. 

Gilbert took us home to drop off our packages of winter things and then he drove us to an RT Mart that we wanted to go to.  We thought we could catch one of the busses that come to our campus near there, so we wanted to go see what it had.  We are having a bunch of people over here to have a “traditional American Christmas” here tomorrow for the additional taping they wanted to do for the show, so we decided to get some more candy and stockings and have them for some of the guests that will be here.

When we were done shopping, we went to the bus stop and soon discovered that the bus we thought would stop there does not stop there.  None of the other routes listed on the board looked familiar to us, so we decided to head north and see what the next bus stop had.  Nothing there, so we continued north.  Finally at the fourth bus stop we found our bus.  These are not small blocks.  Thank goodness we didn’t buy any more that we did and had to pack it all that way! 

When we arrived home, we filled the stockings and ate some candy, mostly trying to see what some of this Chinese candy tasted like.  It didn’t spoil our supper.  After supper, I made another banana cream pie, in case the one from the show doesn’t make it here in one piece, and some cookies to give to some of our guests tomorrow.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Day 114 – Cooking with Zina in China

Day 114 – Cooking with Zina in China

Finals interviews went well today except in the classroom that I have my 10 a.m. class in.  We are cold here, in the ‘teens, and not all of the windows on the buildings will close tightly, so the classroom was COLD!  I kept my coat on the whole time and my feet were frozen by the time I was done.  I came home to get warm and was just barely starting to feel warm when we had to go back out in the cold and catch a taxi to the TV station.  Kadie, Seth and Carolyn all tried to catch me during the time we were home to wish me well. 

We were able to catch a taxi right away and made it to the station by 2:30.  We had to stand outside for about 10 minutes until the people we were supposed to meet got there.  They took us into the studio.  It is a regular cooking show and this was for their Christmas Day special they will be airing on December 25 at 5 p.m. 

We checked to make sure they had all the ingredients and equipment.  The regular cooking lady doesn’t use measuring equipment, at least not what I would be familiar with, so I brought a bowl, my measuring cups and spoons and two pie pans.  In looking through the equipment, they had most of the stuff we needed, but they had to go clean it before we could use it.  On the floor were a bunch of dishes that were dirty and they would sort through to see what we needed and then go wash it somewhere.  They hadn’t bought the right shortening or lard, but they did have enough butter and so I used that instead.  The bananas were missing so they sent someone out to buy bananas and when they got back we were ready to start.  I went through some of the steps that I would be doing with the anchor and then we started filming. 

The studio.  You can't see all the dishes that were just sitting on the floor behind the counter. 
Before we started, they took our picture and wanted us to look like were were doing something.  Fighting over the butter?  

Li Yuan in the red dress was interpreter and an anchor.  The woman in the yellow apron was the cooking anchor and we never heard her name.  That is the final product, banana cream pie in the middle.

The filming crew and production assistants.

They wanted us to talk about some of our Christmas Traditions, so when there was a lull in telling them what I was doing, then David would talk about some of our family’s traditions.  The anchor would interpret for the “audience” and then talk to us in English.  The regular “cooking” anchor might have understood some English, but not enough to want to say anything to us.  They asked me to involve both David and the “cooking anchor” in what I was doing.  I tried to do that as best I could and I think it worked out.  They didn’t realize that after I made the pie, it needed to be refrigerated for three hours so there was a little bit of improvising we had to do at that point.  This kind of cooking is so foreign to them.  They like to eat everything as soon as it is cooked. 

We had told them a little about our classes and that David likes to sing with the guitar in his classes.  We had also told them about our large family and they wanted a picture of them, but the idea came up of having them come to our apartment and film David and I singing with some of the students and they will bring the pie on that day and taste it then.  They can get a picture of our large family from the one we have on the wall. We set up a time for Sunday afternoon for them to come and we will have some people here that can sing and interpret for us. 

When the taping was all done, we went outside and they were going to get a taxi for us.  It was a bad time of day and on the wrong street for trying to catch one.  We stood out there in the cold for over 45 minutes.  Finally, we talked it over with the people from the station that were trying to get the taxi for us and decided that we could get a bus that we thought would take us close to our campus, so we did that.  The traffic was very slow (combine Friday night with rush hour traffic and you have a bad scene here!) 

We had made plans to have dinner with Eric, the young man who wants to study at UCLA, so we met them at the North gate of the campus and he took us to a place that serves some good steaks!  He had a girl with him who also wants to be in the same program that Eric wants to, so she came along so they could both practice their English.  Dinner was really nice.  We had Peppered Goose Liver Sauce on filet mignon and really enjoyed it.  It has been a long time since we had steak, so we thoroughly enjoyed this meal and the company.  Both really great kids, so I hope that this practice gives them more confidence when they interview next week for the program. 

If you are interested in seeing the program, the website is www.ijntv.com.  The program airs at 5 p.m. on Christmas day here, so that would be on Christmas Eve afternoon sometime in the US.  

Here's the link:  http://www.ijntv.cn/lm/tclb/playback/2013-12-25/245200.html

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Day 113 - Butterflies and Groceries

Day 113 – Butterflies and Groceries

David went to do finals in his classes and I stayed here and worked to be ready for the next two weeks.  I think I have everything ready with scores and charts and plans.  It is hard to settle down to doing some of these things when your stomach is full of butterflies about what is coming. 

The TV studio got plans straightened out for the taping tomorrow.  I’m not sure how much baking they really do here, but the TV people said they only had an oven and asked what else did they would need to have ready.  The thought came to me that they are probably as nervous about having me come as I am to go there and do this!  They are a very respectful people the invite as special guests, especially when you are a foreign teacher.  I just need to settle down and relax, but I’m having trouble doing that.

We were just deciding to go out and have lunch and then go to the grocery store when Alisa called on Facetime, so we talked with her.  Then we went to Yon Ho for a quick lunch and on to Carrefour for the groceries.  Today was pretty cold and the pollution is pretty bad, so we didn’t want to be out in it for very long.

Alan came for his tutoring session.  It was funny, he told us that when we were there for dinner on Sunday, his Dad chided him afterward for not speaking up more and talking, but my perception was that between David and Alan’s Dad, it was hard to get a word in edgewise for anyone else!  Alan really was kind of over shadowed by them.  I think his Dad was a little excited to have us there also. 

I hope I can sleep tonight…. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Day 112 – Final Exams and Music

Day 112 – Final Exams and Music

Today was the first day of final exams for David and me.  We are to do a five minute interview with each student to test their English speaking skills.  I got behind after the first few students and decided I had to cut down the time that I was spending to leave a little time to record scores and get ready for the next one.  Trying to fit 46, 47, 48, 49 and 54 students into 4 two hour time slots is a real challenge.  Some of the students are coming two at a time so I can get it all done in the time allotted for it.  I can tell there has been improvement in the majority of the students, so I must have done something right.

After lunch, we did a chat with Seth and Carolyn.  I quickly tried to bake a batch of cookies to take to my afternoon class, but I didn’t get started in time and just barely made it in time for the sophomore class.  I showed them the stuff for Christmas.  The sound wasn’t playing at first, so I just showed them the video of the house with the Christmas lights that seem to dance to music.  It wasn’t quite as fun, but then I was starting to move on to the Power Point that I had on Christmas when a technician for the computers came in (at the request of one of my students) and fixed the problem.  I might have been able to do it myself except all the controls are in Chinese and I haven’t learned to read it yet…  Then I showed them the video and they all thought it was so cool that they begged me to play it again, so I did!  Last class with them and it was fun!  After the break, I started in on the final exams for this class. 

Part of the interview time, I allow them to ask me a question and I always hope it is one that can be answered in one minute, because that is all the time that is left.  One boy asked me a rather long question about freedom and equality.  He explained that with freedom, the rich seem to get richer and the poor seem to get poorer.   I think he was trying to make a case for communism, and that wasn’t going to fly with me, so I explained that the way to make it work was to have a moral people.  If people are moral and think of others, then freedom works and brings everyone up because the rich person will be thinking of the poor and how to give them dignity and also give those help.  If you force the rich person to just give something to the poor person, you are only causing resentment for taking what you have and not receiving anything in return.  I stressed that it is based on people being moral to have it work and gave examples of ancient civilizations that lost their superiority because of their loss of morals.  And… I did it all in less than two minutes!  He seemed to understand. 

Another girl asked me about one of the possible questions that I had on the list of questions.  They were to look over the list and try to think of something they could say ahead of time so that when they were in the interview, they would have a command of some words that would hopefully come easier to them.  One of the questions was, “What would you talk about on a date?”  These students are new to the dating scene because they are forbidden to date in high school, so dating is a big thing to them.  This girl had not been on a date yet and because she is shy, wanted to know what I would talk about on a date.  Well, it has been a FEW years since I was in the dating scene, so I had to scramble on this to come up with an answer quickly, but I felt like she went away with something that would give her more confidence when the time comes for her to have her first date.  She was so cute!

After the finals, I hurried home and grabbed some of the cookies and David and I left to go to Kathy Gao’s home.  We had a dumpling dinner and then got to play the piano and sang some Christmas songs and also played the guitar and sang.  They all seemed to enjoy it.  We had a cold time standing around waiting for the bus to get home.  Ji’nan is getting colder.  We had a skiff of snow last night.

Day 111 – New Slippers

Day 111 – New Slippers

My classes went well this morning.  These students are great!  David stayed home and mopped the floors and did his work.

After lunch, Wayne and Libby Clarke came by for a home teaching visit and then we went to the market where Eva took us to last week and I bought my sweaters.  Libby is looking for some for her and since they found some in my size, I figured they would have some for her size.  She bought one nice looking sweater and some shoes similar to the ones I bought.  David bought some slippers similar to mine to keep his toes toasty warm as the days get colder.  We bought a few other things and then the Clarke’s went to the Pace’s to home teach them and we went on home to do more work and be ready for classes tomorrow.  Our oral interviews for the finals start then.  I hope I’m ready.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Day 110 – In Search of a Church and Finding a… Cooking Show?

David went off to classes while I worked here.  There is a lot to do to get ready for finals as I will be starting them on Wednesday. 

After lunch, David and I went in search of the church building where the BYU teachers will be singing some Christmas carols on Christmas Eve.  We were told that if we took bus #1 and rode it to a certain point, that we would be able to see the steeple and find the correct church.  We will be singing at the Chinese Christian church (one of the three official churches sanctioned by the Chinese government) and since we have never been there, we decided we better try to find it in the daylight, so we would know where to go that evening. 

We got on the right bus and then tried to follow where the bus was going on the map that we had.  It took a few unexpected turns but we got off at what we thought was the correct stop and then after rechecking the map, we headed south.  We got to the road that it was supposed to be on, but we couldn’t see any steeple.  We decided to walk just a little way down the direction that we thought we should and within a few hundred feet, we saw the steeple with the BIG red cross on it.  We stopped and took a picture and checked the door to look in, but it was locked so we went back to the street.  Glad that we had found it.

The Christian Church that we were in search of in Jingsi Lu.

We decided to take a different bus back and see if we could find a shorter route to walk to it, since one of the sisters has a hard time walking very far for very long.  We took bus K59 back to where we were in familiar territory, but we decided we better get off then so that we knew what bus we could take back home.  It would have been fun to explore some of these bus routes more, but we had to get back for guess what….?   MORE WORK!!

I was busy trying to get supper made when David receives a telephone call from our friend, Jane, who works in the English Broadcasting office.  There is a popular cooking show here on Ji’nan TV and they want someone who knows how to bake to come on the show and make pies.  They want ME to do that!!!  They wanted to do the taping on Wednesday, but that is my heavy day with classes (6 hours of teaching), so they decided to do it on Thursday, my day off of classes.  I sent them a list of supplies that I need for making a pumpkin, banana cream and lemon pie.  My stomach is a little fluttery right now!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Day 109 - Dumplings and English Corner

Day 109 

We got a taxi to go to Church.  It just seems nicer that way.  Also, the air quality was really bad, so we had our masks on and it just may be better to stay out of it when it’s that bad.

Alan's Mom and I making the shells for the dumplings.
Church went well.  I didn’t realize until late of Friday that it was the week for Relief Society in our group meeting and that the men would be meeting.  I also thought that we would be using a second line and having Relief Society as a Branch, but they are not set up for that.  So, instead of getting someone else to do the lesson on such short notice, I got one put together and gave it.  We had a good meeting.   Potluck dinner was a potato bar and I made pumpkin roll for dessert.  It was all too good. 
David filling the dumpling while I am making them.  Alan and his mom supervising.
Alan and David playing their guitars.

We got home at 3:30 and at 4, Alan came and picked us up to walk with us back to his home.  They live in the teacher complex just south of campus.  Because Alan’s Dad is a Dean on campus, they have a really nice apartment, and it is one of the newer buildings.  We helped make dumplings and had a very yummy meal.  We brought over some of the pumpkin roll as a gift and they had some gifts for us.  One was a ceramic of a pomegranate.  The pomegranate is a symbol of a large family.  You have a lot of seeds in it and they are all held together in the skin.  A rather beautiful thought. 
Singing together.

The other gift was from Alan’s mother to me.  It was a beautiful silk scarf with peony flowers on one side and a warm red lining on the other.  It really touched my heart that she would give me something so beautiful.  They were so thrilled with having us there.  We also sang songs because David had his guitar with him.  Alan’s Mom knew the words to “Country Roads” as we sang it, so did she.  We also did some other songs.  It’s in the plans to do this again.

My beautiful scarf from Alan's mom and the pomegranate ceramic from his father. 

David, Stan and I singing at the English Corner.
At 6:45, Alan and his Mom drove us to the “Old Campus” where we met John, one of David’s students, the Pace’s and a girl student in the Law program who runs an “English Corner” on that campus for the Law students.  They took us to the building where we did some singing and then they broke us up into groups and we answered questions they had.  The group surrounding me was curious about how to raise seven children and also wanted to know about our courtship and what makes a good marriage.  They ALL love a good love story!  Then at 8:50, David and I had to hurry to catch the last campus bus back to our campus so we didn’t have to walk all the way or take the city bus.  What a wonderful Sunday! 

Students at the English Corner clapping to the music.

The rest of the English Corner group.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Day 108 - Chinese Christmas Party

Day 108 – Chinese Christmas Party

Gilbert was here to pick us up at 8:45 for our Saturday School.  We did the usual review of words and then started on some other words.  At the break, we played outside throwing the ball around.  Little Leon, who joined us last week (he is only 4, but his parents are friends with Gilbert and they want to get their son started early) was excited to come this week and he warmed up to us quickly.  He loved throwing and catching the ball.

The second hour, we decided to do Christmas words and then showed a Power Point that has a short video of Silent Night attached to it with Karen Carpenter singing and lots of images of the story of Christ’s birth attached to it.  I hope that the Chinese officials do not consider this preaching or proselytizing.  Gilbert was the one who wanted us to cover Christmas and what better way to cover Christmas than to have two American teachers do it!  The children were doing really well with the words and the pictures, but then they started to get a little tired.  When Silent Night started playing, I was watching the pictures thinking, “I hope this doesn’t get us in trouble.”  At the end, I looked over at little Susan and she has tears streaming down her face that she is trying to wipe away.  David said that during the video, she had her hands pressed together as if she were praying.  When the video was done, it was time for the kids to leave and when they were all gone Gilbert told us a little more about Susan.

Susan’s grandmother was very sick when she was about 3 years old.  She went every day with her mother to take care of the grandmother and didn’t have a lot of opportunity to play with other children.  Susan was put in the adult world and she doesn’t seem to fit in with the younger children well.  Gilbert told us that Susan, at the age of 7, has already read the Bible in Chinese!  He thinks that her grandmother was Christian, and the mother is devout Buddhist.  Susan seems to feel these things spiritually and is very interested in all the Bible stories.  It was just an interesting side note to this girl with tears over a song that she could probably only understand less than a fourth of the words, but feels the Spirit through the pictures and knowing the stories of Jesus. 

After that, David and I spent a half hour on learning more Chinese.  We did talk a little about the story in the Bible of Noah and how many ancient cultures seem to have a story of huge flood and the eight people that were saved in the flood.  The Chinese character for boat is the shape of a boat and the symbol for eight and the symbol for mouth (also meaning people).   Brent told us this was also the character for family, but Gilbert didn’t say anything about that.

Leon’s dad is going to be working in the US in about a year and wants to work on his English.  He was very excited to meet us and invited us to lunch with them.  I have a feeling that we will be having lunch with them a lot because he is very anxious to improve his English so he can go and not have to have an interpreter.  Lunch was very tasty and as we sat and talked, Leon was allowed to play some games on a cell phone.  At first, he was taking pictures of all of us.  Pretty soon, he was over at David’s knee, showing him the game and even taking David’s finger and using it to play his game!  See the video!  So cute!  I think we just adopted another grandchild!

As we were going into the restaurant for lunch, we stopped to look at the pond that was covered with ice and looked so pretty.  Two children, about 11 years-old, were throwing ice on the pond and they came running over to us when they saw us.  The girl’s name was, Jean and she had come to the first class, but her skills are better than what we were doing, so she dropped out.  The boy’s name was Eric and they both came to say, “Hi.”  The kept coming around us while we were at the restaurant and we talked a little.  Gilbert invited them to the Christmas party that was going to happen that evening.

When we got back home, I made pumpkin roll and got caught up on email.  I wasn’t able to check one account for two days and I had over 200 emails in it!  It was easy to erase about ¾ of them because it’s the email I use for when I purchase online and they were almost all ads. 

Gilbert was back here at 5:30 to pick us up and take us to the Christmas Party that Susan’s mother had planned.  They were so happy to have us there!  We were the honored guests and they sat us down with the children to eat.  I had to make a little speech to begin and they all sat waiting patiently for me to take the first bite!  I wasn’t sure why no one was eating, but with cute little Helen looking at me expectantly, I thought, “I better pick up something and eat it!”  Susan had given me a little tart that is so yummy and I am going to learn how to make someday!  They had forgotten to give me a plate or chopsticks or a spoon, so I just picked up the tart and started eating it because that was all I had.  Then the kids dug in!  They saw I wasn’t eating much and started giving me more things, another tart and some cookies.  Susan made sure that I had a strawberry (one of the words we have taught them and she said it as she gave it to me!)  Then someone got me a plate and a spoon and before I knew it, my plate was FULL with all the little things the children were putting on my plate for me!  I didn’t have to reach for a thing.  Then a grandmother came in with one of our favorite foods, “yam with strings” and she put some on my plate and then she brought some fried tofu and fried sea grass and fried lotus root.  After I politely ate those, she came back with some more.  This time, I left some of it on my plate… they won’t give you more if you do that. 

The children gathered around the table waiting for us so they can eat.

Jean is in the pink coat and Eric is the black coat next to her.

Steven is getting up to grab some food.  Susan is next to him and then Lily.

Getting ready for the show.  Carol is in the red dress seated.  The girl with her hand raised in the red and while sweater is Susan.

Susan and Lily were our emcees for the night.

The cameras were flashing the whole time.  The parents were so proud that the American teachers had come to the party for their children.  As soon as most of the children were done eating and moving away from the table, they cleared the table, moved the food to another room and mopped the floor.  I felt like we were at a Relief Society gathering!  David said he thought it was the PTA! 

With the floor clean, they had a little talent show.  Helen, Susan, Eric and Jean all played for us.  Then they did a “Gangman Style” dance.  Then it was time for us to go so we could get more things done to be ready for Sunday, so Gilbert took us home.  It has been a fun and fascinating day for us.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Day 107 – Fast Paced Day

Day 107 – Fast Paced Day

David and I both had our classes today.  It all went well.  I have been taking pictures of my classes and afterward they all want to take a picture with me.  It all takes time.  One boy wanted me to help him do a video for his girlfriend’s birthday, and he had to wait until almost everyone in the class was gone before he could do it.  I just wished her a happy birthday and said what a sweet thing it was that he was doing for her. 

We had a fast lunch and at 1:30, three students from the “English Broadcasting Station” came over to do an interview with us.  One of the students is from my Friday 10 a.m. class.  She was so happy to be here!  They talked with us and asked questions and then took pictures for about 40 minutes.  We had to end it earlier than they wanted it to end because we had made arrangements to meet my friend, Jin Li (Lily).  She was going to show us where a baking store was that is a little closer to us than the other one we went to with Clarke’s a few weeks ago. 

We rode the bus that came within 5 minutes of us getting to the stop, a bit of a miracle since we have waited 15 minutes or more sometimes for that bus.  We walked as fast as we could to meet Lily and then had to walk a bit more to the bakery store.  It turned out to be part of the chain store that we had gone to with Clarke’s so we were able to use our preferred customer card that we had gotten that time.  Then Lily had to take us to a second hand clothes store where she had picked out some clothes that she thought we would like and that were our size.  Not that we were looking for anything, but she was so excited about it.  We looked through the clothes and then bought a couple of shirts and a pair of pants. 

David had to get home right away because he was going to do square dancing with his students at 4 and I needed to get groceries, so he hurried home and I went to Carrefour to get the groceries.  It was kind of nice to be able to just shop and look at things instead of the hurry, hurry, hurry kind of shopping that David prefers.  I did buy a little too much and the bags were on the heavy side, but I made it home okay.  Upon arriving at the door, I realized that I hadn’t gotten my keys out of my school bag and put in my purse before I left, so I didn’t have a way to get in.  I was sure that David would be home any minute, so I sat at the window to wait. 

I decided to check my phone while I was waiting.  It has a bad habit of just randomly shutting off anytime it wants, so I have to keep checking to see if it is on.  Well, it was off, again.  I had just gotten it turned all the way on when David called.  Jane had been to observe the square dancing with a couple of students from the English Broadcasting Station that she is in charge of, and invited us to dinner.  I told him my sad tale of not having my keys, so he hurried home, let me in the door and we hurried off to the canteen for dinner.

The two students who had gone to take pictures and observe the square dancing were eating dinner with us.  They were shy, as most students are around English speakers, but we had a nice dinner and tried to bring them out in the conversation more.  We tried a few new dishes from the Teacher Restaurant and they were good, except a little strong on the raw onions.  I figured it was good for keeping a cold away… I hope.

It has been a busy, running day from morning to night, so now I say, “Good Night!”

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day 106 - To Market, To Market...

I spent the majority of the day on school work after having a video chat with Caleb, Bethany and Aleeyah this morning.  David and I did meet Eva and Jane at the Teacher Restaurant for lunch and talked over a lot of things.  Then David showed them the place where he can now do square dancing with his students out of the wind and the cold.  They didn’t know the place existed before he showed them.  The students know all those kinds of places though…

Eva finished with her meeting early and wanted to know if we would like to go to a market place here in Ji’nan that we could get some clothes and household things.  We had gone to this place with Wayne and Libby Clarke before, but we were still new to China then and the “bargaining” way, so we didn’t get much then.  However, today we bought a fair amount. 

First, we decided to get David a rolling carry-on bag because his other one gets really heavy when you have to do a lot of standing around.  We were able to get what we thought was a good price on one, but Eva thought we should have held out for a better price.  I was on a phone call at the time, so I wasn’t in on the price bid and when I came back, David told me the price and I thought it sounded pretty good, so I said yes.  Oh well. 

We were mainly in search of clothes so we got some better gloves for me, a better winter coat than the one I had brought with me, three sweaters and a pair of warm boots.  They only had them in men’s sizes because women’s sizes only go up to a 40 here and I need a 44 for my big feet.  I couldn’t get the cute pair that I first found, but what I got looks good enough and not that masculine.  I basically paid $15 US for them.  They are like UGGs.  I felt pretty good about the purchases.  David just doesn’t like to spend any money, so he was grumbling about it until I reminded him that 100 RMB was only about $17 US.  He stopped grumbling…

We ate a quick supper before Alan arrived at 7 p.m. for his tutoring.  Then at 8 p.m. a student who had contacted me in my class on Tuesday came over and we talked.  Eric wants to go to UCLA in a pre-PHd program next summer and they have accepted his application and he is now worried about the face-to-face interview he will have with the directors of that program.  We talked about things he could do to improve his English on his own and he also wanted to know if it was okay to come to my class and sit in.  I told Eric that it would be okay, the problem being, I start final exam interviews after next Tuesday.  We may have him over for a few things, but we will see how that goes. 

David was given a Chinese painting by several of his students today after class.  He will be starting finals also, so they gave it to him today.  When he showed it to Eva and Jane at lunch, they were quite impressed with the value of the painting.  Can’t wait to take it home and have it framed!  It’s beautiful!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 105 - Happy Birthday to ME!

Day 105 – Happy Birthday to ME!

David and I both had classes today.  Mine went really well.  These students are so great to work with.  I had a video of a house that has their Christmas lights timed to the music of “Amazing Grace” and they loved it. 

Got to chat with Seth, Carolyn and Rachel for a little while after my class.  Then I took a little nap and got ready for my afternoon class.  They had performed their reader’s theaters today and did a great job on them.  Some were better understood than others, but they all did a great job.  They don’t just to reader's theater; they also have to act it out some.  So fun!  After the reader’s theaters, I gave them the banana bread that I had baked on Monday.  Word does get out among the students on this campus about things like this because there were little comments like, “This is a good as I heard it was,” and, “I’ve been waiting for a taste of banana bread!”  They did enjoy it and it was all gone in the space of less than 5 minutes.  

After class, David was waiting for me and we walked back to the apartment as fast as we could then caught a taxi at the south gate and went to Jenny’s Restaurant for my birthday dinner.  Stan and Nancy Pace and Wayne and Libby Clarke were there along with Eva, who helped set it all up.  Jenny’s prides themselves on serving American style foods and I think Eva wants to know what we think of the dishes, if they are “authentic” American foods.  How do you say that enchiladas, Lasagna and curry dishes are “authentic American?”  Some of the dishes were better than others, but the service was so slow.  Half the table had their food and then the rest came about 20 minutes later.  A good thing they don’t tip in China, because they wouldn’t have gotten one. 

Eva had bought a cake and brought it.  The Clarke’s gave me a little book and some sugared peanuts that I like.  The Pace’s gave me a bag of Dove’s chocolates.  Eva gave me a warm hat that I will be able to wear when we go to the Harbin Ice Festival on New Year’s Day.  I’ll post pictures of the hat then.  The restaurant played the birthday song and they all sang.  Eva did a great job in setting this up.  I had a lot of fun.  The restaurant has a policy that if you have a large group (more than three people); they would arrange a ride home for you.  With Eva along with us, they took the Pace’s and us in an van and she arranged for him to drive us right up to the gate outside of our building.  Then he drove the Pace’s to their campus.  It was a nice way to celebrate, the only better way would have been to have the family here, and that’s not possible right now.
Here is the cake Eva had made for me!  It looks like a lot of frosting on it, but it was light and fluffy, more like whipped cream. 
The croup to celebrate my birthday.

This is the box that the cake came in.  They believe in beautiful wrapping here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 104 – Homemaking Night

Day 104 – Homemaking Night

I had my two classes to teach this morning.  Both went quite well.  When I got to the room for the second class, the projector wouldn’t work.  It has always been a difficult one to get working and I guess it just gave up the ghost (there’s an idiom to use in my next class…).  My class monitor went to the technology person for the building and they just told us to switch to another room.  We found one on the same floor that was available, but we had to kick all the kids out of it that were in there to study when we did so.  They probably just went to our old room because they didn’t need the projector for studying. 

After lunch, we decided that the only time we would have in the next few days to go to the grocery store was going to be this afternoon.  Milk was going to be a necessity in by tomorrow anyway.  We also wanted to ride the bus to the Carrefour store and see where it let us off.  We caught bus 70 on the south side of campus and rode it for two stops and it let us off right in front of the store!  Yay!!  We got what we needed and wandered the store for a little bit so that we could familiarize ourselves with what they had and where things were.  When we were ready to go back, we used the skywalk to get to the other side of the street and waited for the bus.

As we were waiting, Lily (Jin Li) came riding by on her bike.  She was the one who helped us find the good haircut lady the other day.  Lily lives in that area and knows where a baking store is that might have some of the things that we want and it would be closer than the one that Clarke’s took us to if they do.  We didn’t have time to go with her right then, but now we know the area to go look and if she can’t take us, we will go explore! 

David had a few of his class monitors come over that weren’t able to come last week and gave them each a memento from Lehi for their help.  We had a quick supper and headed out for bus 16 so that we could get to the Hanlin Hotel by 6.  We got off the bus just a few minutes before and we went to Sue and Steve Schauerhammer’s apartment.  Nancy Pace and I were going to visit teach her and show her how to set up and run a blog.  She had wanted to do that so that seemed the best way to do it. 

At 6:30, we went to the Purnell’s apartment and had our “Homemaking Night.”  Several of the Sisters wanted to know how Wendy did such a great job with her rolls that was always gorge ourselves on at Sunday Potluck, so she agreed to show us her tricks.  We all had a great time and ate too much, again!   We also celebrated Jim Purnell’s birthday.  The men sat around and talked and ate, while we women learned and had a great time also.  Kathy Gao came with Hansen and he liked all the food and she took extensive film of the whole process.  When it was her turn to learn some of the methods, either Sue or I took over the camera.  This was a fun evening and we hated to leave when we did, but we had to catch the last bus for the night back or take a taxi.  The bus is cheaper and we were able to get THE last one for the night. 

Wendy, Sue, Kathy and Nancy watching the dough being made. 
Steve, Jim (the birthday boy) and Wayne partaking of the goodies.

Kathy leaning to knead the dough.

Wendy making the cinnamon rolls.

Hansen reading over Stan's shoulder.

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