Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 218 – Late Nights = Bad Mornings

We were not good people and did not get to bed when we should have last night.  It was hard to get up and get moving as a result.  I was still able to make it to the bus stop and catch the K55 to the Baotuquan Campus where I was able to arrive in plenty of time to for my class.  I think I have found the perfect way to get to that campus and back without all the stress of the hike it is to the 75 bus stop.

My classes went well.  We had a discussion/debate about wearing uniforms in college.  These students wear uniforms from Kindergarten through High School, so for some, the idea of wearing them again in college is just too abhorrent for them.  In the 8 a.m. class, we had some on both sides of the question.  Some thought it would be a step backwards to have to wear them again and others think they wouldn’t mind.  The conversation got rather lively and we had a lot of fun with the discussion.  The 10 a.m. class was ALL on the side of never having to wear uniforms again for school, so we didn’t have much discussion.  I had to work pretty hard to get any answers or discussion out of them.  Boy!  Was I glad when that class ended!  It’s not supposed to be just me up there talking, but getting them to talk too.

I was pretty tired when I got home, so we had lunch and I did a little work while I did Facetime with Alisa and then took a nap when I couldn’t hold my head up anymore.  After my nap, I went back to work and then at four, David left to teach his student how to play football.  He had to leave that early so that he could go talk with his co-teacher, Shifang, about an idea he has and also some things about the new teachers to that are coming to replace us next year.

Eva came over about 5:15 and wanted to show us the pictures of her weekend.  She went to her hometown to see her brother’s new baby and celebrate his 100th day.  It is a pretty big day in the life of a baby and they have some traditions surrounding it.  I made a stew and she had dinner with us.  Now it’s time for bed again. 

Day 217 – Sunday, No Changes

David and I got up early again and spent time on the computer before we left for Church.  The meetings were good and we had another wonderful potluck dinner.  We stayed after and talked for a while and left about 2:30.  Naps and more time on the computer were the afternoon. 

Our virtual Branch was having an “Elder’s Quorum Party” tonight.  We walked over to Stan and Nancy Pace’s so we could listen in with them.  They were having trouble getting in on the Archidin Bridge over Skype, so we called it up on David’s phone and put it on a speaker so we could all hear.  They talked about how to create more unity in our Branch, considering that we don’t meet with them all in person.  It was interesting and I think we had pretty good “attendance.”  We stayed and visited and helped each other on some computer things before we left.

On our walk home, we met up with some of my students.  They had been out having dinner and drinking.  It is amazing how much a little alcohol will loosen them up and they were VERY willing to speak English with me.  They were headed back to the campus, as were we.   We wanted to get home fast and they were pretty slow in their walking, so we soon parted.    It was nice to walk off so much of the potluck dinner we had earlier that day. 

Day 216 – Saturday Classes

David and I both woke up early and since we couldn’t seem to get back to sleep, we got up.  After breakfast, I started working on things for my classes for the next two weeks.  I had some ideas on some PPT’s that I wanted to do, so that took my time.  At eleven, we took a break and went to the street market for some vegetable.  I planned to take Chinese Asparagus (Celtose) for the potluck dinner tomorrow, so we had to find some of that.  We didn’t take too long there because we needed to get back for lunch. 

David had to teach his two classes this afternoon that he will miss when we leave for the Yangtze River Cruise on Friday.  They thought they had a classroom for him to teach in, but the found out about 45 minutes before the class was to start that they couldn’t have the classroom they had planned to be in, so they had to find another classroom in a hurry.  They found one in the teaching building closest to us, so everything was okay.  I stayed here and continued working on lesson plans and quizzes. 

We had a quiet dinner and then watch a movie.  Went to be early because we had been up so early.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 215 – Classes, Lunch and Dinner

Friday’s are always classes for both David and I, so that is where we went this morning .  At least I remembered my USB drives today!  We met Eva at the Teacher Restaurant in the canteen and had lunch with her.  Then she drove us to RT Mart so we could get some groceries.  We walked home from there.

At 5:30, we met Pace’s and Clark’s and Lily at the Teacher Restaurant for dinner.  We are getting pretty proficient at choosing dishes off of the Chinese menu that we had translated.  We have our favorites, but try to choose something new once in a while.  Lily was looking for help on a “newspaper” that she wants to write for the BYU teachers that she met last year and became fast friends with.   After dinner, we came to our place and Nancy and I helped her get the words right and then put in some “filler” for her.

After they all left, I had more work to do and David got bored.  So, he is going to bed.   I’m all done for tonight, now, so I’m going there, too  

Day 214 – Foreign Teacher’s Dinner

David had his one class this morning while I worked on classes and Primary music.  We had planned to meet Eva for lunch at the Teacher Restaurant, but she couldn’t make it, so we just went to the buffet for our lunch.  Then it was back to the apartment for a nap and more work.  David had games with his students at four.

At five, we met some of the other foreign teachers in front of our apartment complex and we went to dinner at a restaurant called, “CafĂ© 56.”  It has pretty good food and at a reasonable price.  We were happy with the meal, but we had to leave at 6:45 so we could make it back to the apartment for David’s tutoring session with Alan.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day 213 – Thousand Flower Park – Part II

We both had classes today.  I got to mine and realized that I had forgotten my USB drive in my computer at home because I was fixing a PPT.  What to do?  I had my other one with me, but it didn’t have any of today’s materials on it.  I put a song on, gave them an assignment that I was going to give later in the class, and RAN back to the apartment (thank heavens we are only 3 minutes away from the building I was teaching in) and then ran back!  It was so embarrassing.  I didn’t have David to rescue me like he did on Tuesday.  I think I need more sleep…

After lunch and a short nap, we decided to go visit a park that is fairly close to us called Thousand Flower Park.  We were there last fall, but most of the flowers were gone at that time and we really wanted to see it with the flowers.  With all the blossoms on campus, we figured there would be some pretty ones in a park that was called, “Thousand Flower Park,” and it didn’t let us down. 
In getting this picture, I was stepping on the grass near it.  That is a no-no in this park.  I wasn't the only one though.  The man that indicated I was on the grass had to shoo several off, only they got yelled at.

The magnolias along with the dogwoods,

We weren't sure what this one was.

We decided to go to the Teacher Restaurant on campus for dinner again.  It is just easier for these days that I have a lot going on.  We had an early dinner and then came back to the apartment so I could get everything ready for the four girls that I tutor.  We had a fun time with the activities I had and I taught them the song, “Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree.”  They seem to be catching on and they can start using the English that they are learning in school and start to apply it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 212 – Water... Water... Water…

These blossoms started to come out on Sunday.  They are at there best right now.

I left for classes and David was going to mop the floors (his usual Tuesday chore), but he found out that there was not water!  They had turned off the water so that they could do some watering on the trees around here.  It really is annoying to not be able to have water in the apartment when you need to do some house work. 

I got into my presentation today and realized that I had not put the Power Point on that I needed for today.  I called David and he came to my rescue and brought it to me on his USB drive.  We did some tongue twister work until he got there.  Thank goodness for a good, loving, sweet and kind husband (there, have I buttered him up enough?)  The rest of the classes went okay.  I had to do a lot of improvising because what I had planned did not take that long.  Had to think fast, but it all worked out to be okay.  Not my greatest lesson though.

After lunch, the water came back on, so we hurried and did dishes and got the floors mopped.  Then I started a load of clothes washing.  It was a nice day today, so I thought I could get two loads of laundry done in one day (we have to hang everything to dry, no clothes dryer machine…).  I kept waiting for the load to finish and finally, after David left at four to go play games with his students; I went to check on it.  It was sitting there not doing anything except humming, but full of water.  I wondered what was wrong with it.  I did what few things I thought might work, but nothing seemed to solve it. 

I called the Office of International Affairs, the people who are supposed to take care of things like this, and Mrs. Chen came up to take a look.  I had taken all the clothes out and put them in the sink.  She pushed the buttons around and was able to get it to empty the water.  Then she tried to turn it on to get it to fill again.  Nothing happened.  She tried to turn on the water in the sink and then we realized that that water was off again, so it would not fill with water.  Mrs. Chen left and had Christina, from the International Affairs Office call me and tell me that the water would come back on about dinner time.  (Sigh, I say again, our mantra, “This is China…”)  It was a good thing to have her come over because the washer is starting to leak from the bottom, and she was able to see that and check it out, so maybe they will either come fix it or get us a new one (I am not holding my breath, though). 
David says this is a red bud tree or bush.  Such a beautiful pink!

I loved the three colors together here.  The white in back are lilacs, then the red buds and the darkest pink in front, David didn't know what it was.  This is by a science building that is close to our apartment.

We decided to go eat in the Teacher Restaurant tonight.  After a nice dinner, we walked around the campus.  There are so many blossoms out right now and the fragrance is so lovely, that it is hard to want to come back inside and grade papers and plan lessons…

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 211 – Chinese Asparagus

I left here early so that I could make sure to get to the bus.  I decided to take bus K55 today.  It is a shorter walk to get there and I think it is also a shorter bus ride.  It winds around town more, but I got to the Baotuquan campus plenty early today, a half hour before class started.  I sat down at an outdoor table to work on some stuff, but soon the mosquitos were attacking, so I went to the classroom and just did some stuff in there.  Problem is there is no place to sit down when I am in the classroom. 

Classes went well and I was able get to get home earlier than usual on Monday.  I think I will try to take K55 from now on.  It makes me more relaxed.

While we were eating lunch, we chatted with Rachel over Facetime.  It was good to visit with her.  We miss her as much as she misses us.  She’s trying to make some decisions on her future, so she needed someone to bounce ideas off of. 

We just worked on lessons and preparing things for this week the rest of the day, except at four, David had a square dance session with his students.  He had twelve students come today and they all had a fun time.

I cooked Chinese asparagus for the first time today.  We have had it at some of the meals that we have eaten here in China and we really like it.  We’re going to see about getting seeds to plant it in our garden when we get home.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Day 210 – Church, Dinner, Home

We had a good meeting at Church today.  We took a taxi to get there.  It just makes the morning more relaxed than trying to hike to the bus station and catch the bus.  We also get to sit around a little longer here in case one of the kids wants to chat with us.

Dinner was of course very good and once again, too much food, but all of it was wonderful.  We were able to sit and enjoy ourselves afterward and talk.  The walk home was nice because the weather was so beautiful today.  When we got to the campus, we walked around through all the trees and bushes that were in bloom and enjoyed the fragrance.

This evening has just been here at home getting recharged for the coming week.  Ahhh, Sunday!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Day 209 – Ji’nan Intangible Cultural Show

After breakfast this morning, we had planned to video chat with Kadie, but things didn’t quite work out.  David had been invited by one of his students to go see a cultural show in one of the student buildings, so we decided to go to that.  We thought we would just do a quick look through and then head back to the apartment and see if we could still talk to Kadie.  What we thought to do did not happen.  Once we were there, the news people started taking pictures and videos, the girl that invited David and two of his former students were there and they followed us around to each exhibit and explained what they were and also with the artists who were there with their displays, could explain what they were doing with their crafts.

The first booth was silk embroidery and she had some beautiful works.  You had to look really close to see that it was embroidered!  So beautiful!  The next was the paper cutting that the Chinese are famous for.  The next booth had eggs that had been painted and carved!  They were amazing!
These are eggs that have been painted on and others have been carved on.  How do you carve on an egg? 
These eggs are carved on and then have lights put in them.
 We went to the next booth, where the artist had crafted miniature carts from ancient dynasties.  He had put a lot of detail into them and used ancient techniques to build them.  These were also great to look at and learn about from the artist.
This is a miniature of the wedding cart that a bridegroom would take his new bride to his home with.  The cart is more of a wheelbarrow with the blankets and linens for the new home on one side and some household goods on the other.  The bride would sit on the side with the basket, her feet over the edge dangling and her arm holding on to the middle part with the groom pushing the cart.  Cute!

This was a miniature cart for the "regular" people to ride in.  Also a peddler's cart.  All of the techniques used to make this were what they would have done anciently, only here in miniature.

This is the "BMW" model for the rich people.  The sides were ventilated to keep it cool inside while the people rode in it.
 The next man had paper flowers that had been “accordion” cut and when you fold them, they become flowers and when you “pop” them a certain way, the flowers change!  It was so fun to watch!  The next booth was a dough molding booth.  They made very intricate and complicated figurines of historical Chinese figures and also modern day figures.  We talked to him for quite some time (through our interpreters) about what he did.
These are figurines made with a flour dough.  The rose in the foreground was just made today.

This man is one who does the dough figurines.  He has made them for many famous people over the last 56 years that he has been doing this.  He teaches students from all over the world.  He was fun to "talk to" through our interpreters.
 Then we had probably the most amazing craft demonstrated to us!  It was miniature carvings done on jade.  You had to use a magnifying glass to see the writing that had been carved on these.  He told us that the blade that he used to make the smallest carvings was thinner than a strand of hair.
This was the best picture I could get of this, but it is the miniature writing.  Inside the red box, there is a small sliver of jade that he has written on.  It is barely larger than a thick hair strand.

This is a tiny tea set that he has written inscriptions on.  His hand got in the way just as I was taking the picture.

Another teeny, tiny tea set.
 There was also a booth that they were doing wood burning and made some wonderful pictures with it.  Then there was the clay figures that they use doing the Autumn Festival that are supposed to bring you luck.
This is the wood burning pictures.  The bird to the side was so finely done and you could touch it and feel the ridges that helped to make it the colorful bird that you see.

These are clay figures that they give each other during the Autumn Festival.
 There was a man that did wood burning on gourds and also cut them out in intricate patterns.  The last booth was a woman that demonstrated the figures that they make for Spring Festival.  These had been shellacked and baked, but for Spring Festival, they will give these as gifts and cook them up.  Such a fun tradition.
This man used the wood burning to put the picture on this gourd.

These are the gourds that were carved.  Such wonderful work!

These are the "noodles" that they will make and cook up for Spring Festival.  It looked like such a fun idea.

This one was made for a birthday.  The phoenix is on one side and the dragon is on the other.
 Then we went in to see a performance on the Guqin (goo-cheen), an ancient instrument that is similar to a zither.  They had some in the back of the room and David wanted to try and play it, so they let him.  They also let me try.  My teacher said I was a natural at it, as I picked up a beginning technique quite easily.  David had the master teacher come over and teach him a little bit.
Playing a bamboo flute and the guqin.

David trying to learn the guqin.
 Then we went in to see a shadow puppet play.  This was really fun to see and also to see how they work the puppets.

Part of the shadow puppet show.

More of the shadow puppet show.

Behind the scenes of the shadow puppet show.

The master trying to show David how to play.

These are the girls that invited us and did the interpreting for us.

It was finally time to go home, but not until after a newspaper reporter got an interview with David.  (They are rarely interested in interviewing me; the wife is more or less in the background here.)

After lunch, we had to go to the outdoor market and get some vegetables and I took those home so that I could get some work done and David went to the grocery store by himself to that he could get the rest of the supplies we had needed. 
The magnolia blossoms were just to wonderful to pass up without a pictures.  They plant a white and a pink next to each other and it is so beautiful to see.

At six p.m., Gilbert came to pick us up and take us to a restaurant for dinner.  We had Leo Ping there, along with Gilbert's his wife, Lulu, and Zinnia, who had worked with us at the elementary class we did last year.  We had a wonderful dinner and really enjoyed the company.   Lulu’s due date for their child was today, but she was still with us.  We are calling this our 15 ½ grandchild!  They have been an important part of our Chinese family here.  It will be hard to leave some of these people behind!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Day 208 – Dinner and Games

My classes went well today, we had fun.  David’s classes are just okay.  He doesn’t seem to have the same caliber of students that he had last semester, so it is harder to pull things out of them.

Wayne Clarke came over after lunch to do home teaching.  We had a good visit.  Then we worked on class stuff until four.

At 4:30, we took the bus over to the Clarke’s place.  We were meeting there with Pace’s so we could go out for dinner and then go back to Clarke’s and play some games.  Dinner was good and Wayne also bought us some DQ Blizzards after we ate.  Yes, they have DQ here.  It’s not close to us, so we haven’t been there before, but it was a fun evening.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 207 – We Have Lunch Credits!

David had one class to teach this morning and I stayed here and got some work done.  I also got to talk to Seth and Alisa.  All this long distance stuff to get things done is really hard, especially on those on the other end that have to do it all for us.

We met Eva at the Teacher Restaurant in the canteen and had lunch.  That’s how we found out we had lunch credits.  We paid for the lunch.  It was a good time to visit and get some questions answered.  Then Eva came over here afterward while David re-typed his letter to the dean, asking for a date of class change so we can go on the Yangtze River trip.  She took it to the dean for him. 

Then we worked this afternoon, I got my Primary Music video done for Sunday then class stuff.  David had a game day with his students from four to five p.m.  After dinner, Alan came over for his tutoring.  He was extremely tired because they were doing some heavy testing at the school and all he wanted to do was sit down and rest,   

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 206 – Wednesday – Must Work… But Want to Play…

My classes went very well today.  My first class always likes to tell me the things they want me to repeat and to do again because they had so much fun doing it.  They liked both of the games that I had last week and would love for me to do them again.  I now have a list of six things they want me to do again.  I love it!  David’s classes were good also, but his Wednesday classes are smaller than mine are and he can do more things in less time.

After lunch, David met Stan Pace at the bus stop so they could go home teaching this afternoon.  I stayed here and worked on things to do with the four girls that I tutor on Wednesday and also things for my class. I’m trying to get a couple of lessons ahead for when we have the break and go on another trip. 

The girls came at seven, and we did the games that I had prepared.  One of the girls already seems to grasp some of the words quite well.  She seems to have more vocabulary and she can recall it faster than the others.  We sang song and played the game and then I read them a story and explain things in the pictures.  The one mother who contacted me to do this, stays and helps interpret when there are things that are just too hard to explain without some of the their own language background.

David was asked to edit two more papers for the University.  Sometimes the words they want to use from a translator just don’t come out with the meaning that they really want to convey and it is hard to read their minds though just reading a paper.

Day 205 – Bo and Amanda

I had fun teaching my classes today while David stayed home and cleaned house.  He met me at the building I was in after my class and we walked home together and then had lunch.

We had to make a quick trip to Carrefour to get some groceries.  The bus we wanted to take there was really a long time coming, but the one for the way home was just at the right time.  We didn’t have to wait for it. 

David had a square dance activity for his classes and there was a fairly good turnout.  Word gets around and students from last semester’s classes want to be a part of it all again, too.

We waited for a phone call from Wang Bo to say that he was coming to get us and when we got that call, we hurried to meet him at the South Gate.  He and Amanda (his fiancĂ©) wanted to cook a meal for us and Bo also wanted to play guitars with David.  We had a good meal and fun talking.  Bo wanted to get into politics and wants David to watch House of Card, so that he can discuss it with him the next time we get together.  It was kind of late when we got home and the internet was down, so we just went to bed.
We found this shirt in Carrefour.  Reminded us of Lehi... the mascot of Lehi High. 

It seems like every time we walk around on the campus, there is some other tree in blossom.  

These were close to one of the buildings that I teach in.  The fragrance is so wonderful, too!

Another beautiful shot of some blossoms.

This magnolia tree has been ready to blossom for a few days and today it came out in full bloom!

A close-up of the magnolia blossoms.

Day 204 – Tired Monday

I left 10 minutes earlier today in hopes that I would be able to be at my class at least on time today.  I made it with 15 minutes to spare.  It gave me plenty of time to get everything set up and ready to go.  I guess that is what I need to do every Monday so that I can be there on time.  Classes went well.  As I was packing up to go to the second class that is in a different building, Gwendolee, who was at Church with us yesterday, came in.  He was a little surprised to see me, but we talked for a little bit.  He’s a nice kid.

I caught the bus home and David came to meet me.  We almost missed each other.  I had gone into the little market that is close by that bus stop and he passed by on his bike shortly after.  As I started walking home, I decided I better check and see if he had texted me, and sure enough, he had.  I had to retrace my steps for a little bit because he was there at the bus stop. 

We had a quick lunch and I took a nap because I was about dead on my feet.  It is pretty stressful to me to have to worry about catching the bus and getting to that class when it is so far away.  Then I am four hours on my feet (there is no place to sit down in the classroom for teachers) and then the long bus ride home that I can’t nap on there. 

We worked on stuff for our classes this afternoon.  David had his first game day with his students and quite a few came.  Even some from last semester were there.  They had fun.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Day 203 – Warm Sunday

We had Church at the Hanlin hotel today.  We are adjusting to the smaller group, except Lulu and her friend, Gwendolee (a boy), were there, too.  This is the second time that Gwendolee has come.  I’m not sure if he comes for the food after, or if he likes being with us or just Lulu, but we are glad to have them all there.  Dinner after was really good and we stayed and had a nice visit until 4 p.m., when the Purnell’s had to leave for English Corner.

After we got home, we just did email and Facebook.  Today has been such a nice day, that we decided to not spend it all inside.  We went for a walk to the “Little Wood” and six of my students were having a meeting there, so they called to me and we talked for a little while.  They are all so shy about speaking much English and if I talk to fast, they have confused looks on their faces, so I repeat it slower and with smaller words.  I worry that I’m not doing enough for them in class to help them understand.  It was a nice night for an evening walk.

Spring has sprung in Ji'nan!  These beautiful blossoms are both on the same tree.  The dark read and the white are really pretty and the smell is just so wonderful to walk by!

This is what it looks like when you walk in the south gate of the campus.  The aroma is so worth walking a few extra steps to be in the middle of all this!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Day 202 – Cinnamon Rolls

We did a video chat with Caleb and Aleeyah this morning.  She was so cute… until it was time to go to bed for her.  We worked the rest of the morning on lessons and school.  David finally got class lists for his classes, so he was busy putting those in order in his records.

After lunch, we went to check out the stores in a building that we had seen last night and wanted to see what was there.  The whole level was blocked off last night, so we couldn’t see it then.  It was ALL technology.  We then took the bus over to the Park 66 mall, so I could get some vitamins that I was running low on at Ole, a store that carries a lot of “western” products.  I had seen them there on a recent trip, so I knew where to go.  Then we made a trip to the bakery store to get more whole wheat flour and came home.

 I decided I was going to make rolls for our potluck dinner tomorrow after Church and you just HAVE to have a warm one (or two) when they come out of the oven.  David thought he was in heaven.  I didn’t tell him that I was making some cinnamon rolls with a little of the dough that was left over until they were all frosted and ready to eat.  Now he doesn’t want to leave them alone!  I am making him save the rest for breakfast tomorrow, so he thinks he is being tortured. (he-he)  His biggest comment was, "You just don't get these in China!"  (Unless you make them your self.)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 201 – Pi Day

Our classes went well today.  I had lots of fun with mine, but David says he gets a little bored by doing the same lesson seven times in a row.  I guess I do, too, sometimes but I have had an exciting lesson for them this week and I have been excited to present it to them, so it has been fun for me.

We worked in the afternoon until Stan and Nancy Pace came over.  They needed to get ink cartridges for their printer, and we live close to the place where you get them.  We got the cartridges and then went to the Pizza Hut in that area and had a nice dinner. 

Eva had given us some movie tickets to give to Stan and Nancy, so we looked around to find the movie theater after dinner.  David and I walk by that area a lot, but we had never noticed the movie theater.  With the construction of the road almost finished, a lot of new places have just opened up, but we hadn’t seen anything that looked like a movie theater to us.  David had asked one of his students if he knew where it was, and the student found it on the map so we could know where it was.  Well, it wasn’t that easy to find.  We looked in doors and scanned the whole area for a few minutes.

 In the winter, they put heavy, dark green, canvas panels over the open doorways to keep some of the cold out, but it hides whatever is inside.  So, David went in one of these panels, and there were some movie posters for The Hobbit and Robocop.  I think we found the theater!  We went in the doors and there we see one closed up place that sells technology items and an elevator.  We figure that we need to go up the elevator, but where from there? 

A group of young people came in and Stan decided to ask if any of them spoke English.  One young man answered, “Yes,” so we asked if this was where the movie theater was.  He said it was and just as the doors were closing on the elevator, he also said, “Fifth floor.”  Now we know where to go!

We walked a different way home to do some more exploring, and when we got back to our apartment, we celebrated “Pi Day” with some chocolate pie that I had made earlier today.  We sat and talked for a long time.  That was an enjoyable evening! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 200 – Work, Primary, Shopping.

David had his class this morning and came home with one of his students from last term that had become kind of a co-teacher in football.  If David couldn’t be there for the games that were set up, “Sirius” would be there to lead the game.  David was showing him some pictures of our travels during the school break.

I worked on getting the Primary Music recorded in video and the words put on the video.  It didn't take near as much time as last week.  I must be getting better!  I was able to send it to DropBox and now I hope it comes through.  It was almost too easy this week, so I am waiting for the other shoe to drop!

We worked here until 2 p.m. when Eva came over.  She brought over the copies of the newspaper that had the article in about our trip to plant the trees in China.  It has some pictures also.  We talked for a while and then she drove us to the Hongjialou Campus where she was teaching this afternoon.  We needed to get some groceries at RT Mart, but we decided to visit Stan and Nancy Pace first.  We were so enjoying our visit there, that we almost didn’t get our grocery shopping done before it was time to meet back up with Eva so she could drive us home.

We hurried to RT Mart and grabbed the groceries we needed and then sped over to the campus gate where we had planned to meet Eva.  We made it with about three minutes to catch our breath before she came.

After dinner, Alan Ding came over for his tutoring session.  David wanted him to do a reader’s theater with us to help in his English practice.  He was shy about it because the Chinese don’t like to do these dramatic readings, something about they should always be studious or something.  Alan did well and we are going to practice it again and hopefully present it to his parents in the next week or two.  He found out he has been accepted to a Catholic Private school in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  He is pretty excited about it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day 199 – New Tutees

David and I both had classes this morning.  Mine went well and the students all love the games we played.  David’s went well also, so it was a good teaching day.

We met Wu Jun, the woman that David edited the magazine article for, at the Teacher Restaurant in the canteen.  She bought us lunch and we visited for some time.  She plans to meet us again and take us places.  She wants David to drive her car because she and her husband are new drivers and they are nervous about driving in China (she’s nervous???  I would be scared to death!!!)  She has added his name to the article that is to be published and then presented at a conference in Australia. 

We worked on school things this afternoon and then David had a meeting with his class monitors at 4 p.m.  He taught them to play Uno and Krypto.  They seemed to have fun with it.

At seven p.m., I had four girls and their mothers come for me to start tutoring them.  One is eight and the other three are ten and eleven-years-old.  The eight-year-old’s mother is taking her to Great Britain this summer and she wants her to be able to talk well enough that she isn’t lost in school and will be able to talk with others.  The other three just want to talk English better, or at least, their parents want them to.  They all seem like bright girls.  They can read English, but they don’t know what all that they can read means.   We sang a song and I taught them some basic phonics.  We read a story and talked about ways to greet and say good-bye.  The eight-year-old’s mother stayed so that she could help interpret and make the girls feel more at home.  I wish I had brought some of my books from home now!  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 198 – Power Out!

A huge windstorm came up last night and left us without power.  It came on for a little bit close to morning, but when I got up to get my shower, there was no light in the bathroom and hence, no hot water.  We wondered what to do for breakfast and I was wondering if there was electricity elsewhere on the campus.  I started getting ready without the shower.  David wondered if the circuit breaker had been bumped off when the power came back on in a surge, but that wasn’t it.  Just as I was deciding what to do for my classes if there wasn’t any electricity in the classroom, the power came back on.  Still no shower because it would have been at least a half hour before there would have been enough hot water to shower with. 

I was a little unsure about my lesson plans today.  I had tried to plan, but nothing felt right and I didn’t have time to come up with what I really wanted to do, so I was rather “flying by the seat of my pants” today.  I had prepared a Boys vs Girls game, where they see a picture and the first one who comes up with the name of the picture gets a point.  That took the first hour.  Then I showed the movie Kites and had them talk about memories they have of grandparents or loved ones.  There were some tears.  It all turned out pretty well.

My second class on Tuesday’s is only 30 students and I always seem to get things done faster with that group, so I had to come up with something more for them.  I had read the plans for another game that I decided to try.  I had them get into teams of six students (normally I put them in groups, but I decided to try this method today).  They had to pick a name for their team (that was harder than I thought it would be; it’s not in the realm of things they are used to doing).  Then I gave them a letter of the alphabet and they had to come up with a sentence, as a team, that had as many words starting with that letter as they could.  The sentence needed to make sense.  It was hilarious!  These kids can get very competitive.  The team that had the second shortest sentence was the one that won!  So much fun!

I had a lot of work to do this afternoon and David was feeling sorry for me, so he took a lot of papers and corrected them for me, so I could enter scores.  He doesn’t have as much to do this semester because he can repeat all of his lesson plans from last semester and his classes are smaller (30-35 compared to 30 to 51 for me) and I have to make up new lesson plans for all my freshman classes.

David mopped the floors this morning and then he hopped on one of the buses that we wanted to see where it went to and rode it to the end and back.  It looks like a bus we will use in the future when we want to go to Da Ming Lake.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 197 – Late Again…

I tried to leave early enough to catch bus 75 over to the Baotuquan Campus and I was able to catch a bus as soon as I got to the stop, but the traffic this morning was worse than last week and I was fifteen minutes late for my first class.  I texted the class monitor and told him so they wouldn’t worry.  As soon as I got to class and started to get things out of my bag to set up, I realized that I had forgotten my jump drive at home in the computer!  I was able to create what I need to on the board for the information on the individual presentations that they need to make, but my lesson plan was gone.  Fortunately, I had other things on my other USB that I could use for the class.  I had a headache.

I met with the three students who want to do a self-study with me to try and pass the class.  They didn’t pass last year, so they are trying to pass this year, but their class schedules to not allow them to attend class, so their advisor told them to try and set up a self-study class with me and then try to pass the final exam at the end of the semester.  I don’t know how well it will work, but they are willing to try.

I caught the bus for home after a twenty minute wait.  David met me at the bus station and we bought some fruits and then went to get our hair cut at the gal that we have learned to trust.  After we got home, we both took naps and then had work to do. 

We walked to the canteen and had supper there on the 4th floor.  We didn’t know if we had meals on our cards yet, so we just went there and paid for it.  Then it was back to the apartment so I could get my lesson plans ready for tomorrow.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day 196 – New Branch President

We took a taxi to get to Church.  They released our Branch President, Pres. Ed Britton, and called a new President.  The new President is Pres. Shaner.  We will get to know him more in the future, but we are pleased the Pres. Britton and his wife can now get on with their new life in Canada.  The Arcadin Bridge was having trouble today and we had to reconnect several times.  It gets a little frustrating at times.

Dinner was yummy and then after we had everything cleared and put away; we all sat down and watched the movie, Ephriam’s Rescue.  Even though David and I had seen if before, the rest of them hadn’t, so we stayed to watch it with them.  Such an uplifting movie!  I think we were all missing the Schauerhamer’s today and just wanted to hang around together a little more today.  We mentioned them several times and hope they arrive in Utah safely today (well tomorrow…)

We took the bus home and then got on the computer.  Rachel called because she was having a health issue in the middle of the night and she was glad that I was awake so I could give her some help.  

Day 195 – Planting a Tree in China!

We had to leave pretty early this morning, at least for a Saturday, and we got a taxi to take us to the newspaper office.  We met Eva and Pam Carter there so we could ride the bus down with a lot of parents and children to the Minority Cultural Village south of Jinan about an hour.  They had made a special day trip for “Women’s Day” (in case you didn’t know, some in the world celebrate what is called that on March 8) and they were going to the Minority Village to plant trees there.

After we got on the bus, the leader announced that the children on this bus (they had three buses going) were the extra lucky ones because on this bus were three university teachers from America riding with them.  They told all the children to tell us, “Hello” and most of them did.  On the bus, they gave us each a card that we could put a “wish” on and then we were to tie it to our trees after they were planted. 

The "wishes" that David and I put on our cards that we attached to our trees.
Once we got to the village, we had to have a big group picture on the steps leading into the entrance.  Then we made the long walk up the mountain to where they were going to plant the trees.  It was a long climb up lots and lots and lots of stairs!  Then, when the stairs ended, we had to walk up the hill, almost to the top of the longest tubing run on the mountain.   However, we had to first pick up a shovel and a pick (hi, ho, hi, ho, it’s off to work we go…), get a bucket and put water in it, and then walk the rest of the way to the top.
The group that came on our buses.  Can you spot us?

When we arrived at the top, they directed us to where they were planting the trees.  David started to dig the first hole and the handle on the shovel broke!  It wasn’t a good handle to start with.  He then used the pick until someone who had finished with their shovel offered theirs to him.  Someone had dug a hole and wanted me to come plant my tree there, so I did.  David planted his and then dug the hole for Eva’s tree.  Pam was determined to dig the hole for hers and she almost did, but the Chinese people just hate to see their precious visitors doing any work, so someone came over and helped her finish it.  Then we tied our “wishes” to the trees.  We had a reporter from the paper come over to interview the three of us.  Eva translated.  They will get us a copy of it when it comes out.  He mostly wanted to know why we wanted to be a part of this activity today.  WHAT’S NOT COOL ABOUT GETTING TO PLANT A TREE IN CHINA AND LEAVE A LEGACY THERE???  Anyway, we also talked about how trees were so important and that we all loved trees.

David planting his tree.

Eva planting her tree.

Putting my "wishes" on my tree.

The shovel that David broke...

Pam Carter talking to the reporter.

A woman wanted to have her daughter's picture taken with us.  There was a lot of that going on... pictures with random people that wanted them.  Eva brought me a hat.

This is from the top where we climbed to so we could plant our trees.

David working with the pick after he broke the shovel.

Putting my tree in the hole that this lady dug for me.

With the tree planting and the interview done, we had to get back down the hill, and I mentioned that the easiest way to get down would be to roll down the hill.  David decided to try.  I was going to get a picture of it, but he started down the hill before I got the camera on and so I have NO picture of the event.  You just have to take my word for it that he rolled part way down the hill!

We went to the restaurant for lunch, but they were really busy and the food came really slow.  There were three young men (about 13-14 years old) next to us.  One of the boys was watching for us to turn his way and when he did, he asked us where we were from.  We told him and then he pointed to one of the other boys (an anglo) and said he was from Canada.  The Canadian boy is here for a month on a student exchange.  The other two Chinese boys have been on student exchanges to England and Australia.  They wanted to practice their English, so I talked with the one boy for a few more minutes until our food came.  It was nice that they wanted to talk to us.

We were supposed to be done by one so that we could go watch a show.  We almost didn’t make it.  The show was about the wedding traditions in one of the minority peoples (Wa minority, I think), and part of it was about a singing contest that the men have to go through in order for the women to pick their husbands. 
Part of the singing competition to win the husband.

A traditional boat for the Wa minority.

Then we passed by a place where they were doing a zip line.  Pam decided she was going to do it (we would have, but we didn’t bring enough money and it was cash only) so we watched Pam get harnessed up and have fun doing that. 

We went to another minority show where they were doing some traditional dances, so we watched the rest of that show.  Then we went on over to the Mongolian minority area where we saw them do a battle reenactment.  This was even better than the one we had seen in Shenzhen last January.  It was thoroughly enjoyable!
The Mongolian battle performance.

The Japanese invasion "underground" play.

Next, we made our way to the place where they did a play about an “underground” battle that took place during the war with Japan.  A village used trickery and stealth to fight and they were able to help defeat the Japanese.  They made the Japanese in the play look like incompetent buffoons and it was all in Chinese, so we didn’t enjoy it as much, but also it was starting to get really cold as a wind had come up and the temperature was dropping.  We made our way back to the bus and took a short nap on the way back. 

We had made plans earlier in the week to go to an acrobatic show put on by the Ji’nan acrobatic company, so we bought a bit of supper on the way to catch the bus to meet the rest of them at the theater.  It was a good show, but we didn’t feel like it was as good as the one we had seen in Beijing last November.  David and I had to catch a taxi home because we were too tired and cold from our activities of the day to want to walk in the cold wind anymore tonight.  It has been a good day!
One of the acrobatic acts.  Those girls are all bent over in half!

The stacking chairs act.  Pretty scary!

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