Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dumb Dialogue

Generally, the textbook for my freshman 2+2 class is practical and helpful. This week the chapter was on asking for and offering help. We practiced sentences like, "Would you be so kind to . . ." and "Let me know if there is anything that I can do." Ok, that's fine. Then after the example sentences there was a dialogue. Now, I can think of dozens of situations to make a dialogue about asking for and offering help: an old person crossing the street, a salesperson in a clothes store, a fellow classmate needing help with homework. No . . . here's the dialogue for the "Asking For and Offering Help" chapter.

A: (sees B crying) Are you O.K.?
B: No, I'm not O.K.?!
A: What's wrong? Is there anything I can do for you?
B: Not unless you can bring my cat back to life.
A: On no! What happened?
B: Well, I was playing with Ziggy outside in the rain. So I decided to dry him off. But instead of using a towel I used a microwave. I can barely talk about it.
A: Tell me what happened.
B: He blew up!
A: Oh dear! That's horrible! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
B: How about cleaning my microwave?
A: Not a chance.

!?!?!?!? What??!! Seriously, I'm supposed to teach this to the students??!! We did say it in class but the whole time I was thinking this is the craziest, most ridiculous bizarre dialogue ever. Who in the world wrote this? Why in the world would they write something like this??? And, let's think if this is practical or not. I sure hope none of my students ever find themselves in this situation needing to use this dialogue as an example.

Meng Zi Orphanage

Last year, when Katie and I visited the Rices, we were able to spend some time at the orphanage in Meng Zi. When we got to the Rices house this year, we were excited to be able to go back to the orphanage. Several of the babies and toddlers that we played with last year have been adopted and Victoria has been able to be in touch with the adoptive parents. It's so amazing to see how the lives of those orphans were revolutionized by adoption. From a run-down, poor orphanage in southern China to a comfortable life in America with closets full of clothes and shoes and loving parents. I think this is such a wonderful picture of what our true Father does for us. Lots of the children we played with last year are still there and they seem to have quite a few more babies there now than they did when we were there before. Brian and Victoria told us that their family planned to go to the orphanage on Friday and help decorate a Christmas tree for the kids. Brian's mom had sent boxes of hand-made toys and ornaments for us to pass out and use at the orphanage. What a fun and rewarding experience.

Victoria and the orphanage director hang ornaments on the tree.

Helping one of the girls hang up an ornament.

Katie helping a little boy. This boy is blind so we had to help him "see" the tree and ornaments by feeling them.

Yeah for a Christmas tree!

This tiny little baby is only a few weeks old. When she arrived at the orphanage she had red splotches on her face which is probably why she was abandoned. The splotches have since cleared up.
Esther holding the tiny baby.
My hand next to the baby's tiny feet and legs.
I loved this chubby little baby! I think she was a girl but not actually sure!
This little girl was abandoned as a baby then put in foster care then abandoned by her foster parents. She's three years old and bit naughty but so cute!
Colin, a Canadian student studying Chinese at the university Brian teaches at, giving a hand-made toy to one of the babies.Last year, Katie and I were at the orphanage when the Rices helped this girl get a wheel chair. It was neat to see her a year later out and about being pushed by one of the nursing home residents that are at the same location as the orphanage.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner!

Playing games before dinner. Me, Caleb, and Mr. Xing attempt Scrabble. Mr. Xing could use his dictionary. He came up with some funny words.

Chinese checkers.

Time to eat. Most of the Chinese guests were "adventurous" and willing to try the strange food.

Enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.

Me, Katie, and Victoria.
Li Ma, Xiao Yang, and their two girls.
All the girls together. I guess we forget to get a picture of all the guys.Singing songs and Christmas carols in English and Chinese after dinner.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner!

Helping Mama Victoria get ready for Thanksgiving.

Katie and Victoria wrestle with the bird trying to get it ready for the oven.

25+ lb. turkey = 8 1/2 hours in oven. Smelled so good all day! Good thing the Rices have that great oven which is very, very rare in China.
Don't drop the turkey!That's not how you fix a turkey!
Brian carves the bird.
So much good food. Appetizers, bread, and drinks.
Everything you could wish for and more for Thanksgiving dinner.
Dessert! Apple pie, Cranberry Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pies, Brownies, Cheesecake, and Carrot Cake. All in China!

Just the food alone gave me so much to be thankful for! Mostly, I was thankful to be with Family. The Rices are my China family and all the people they invited to come share Thanksgiving dinner were Family too. Such a great time. Reminds me of dinners at my Grandma Gaugler's house. Noisy, hectic, people everywhere, tons of good food, family, friends. More post and pictures to come . . . so much to blog about!

Back Home at the Rices for Thanksgiving!

Although Katie and I technically only got Thanksgiving Day off, we did some work to rearrange and make up our classes so that we could go back to Meng Zi to see Brian and Victoria Rice and their family for Thanksgiving. Katie and I have spent every China Thanksgiving with the Rices and after a year it was just time to see them again. It was a short trip--we left Wednesday morning and were back Sunday afternoon--but so so good to see them! Here's a few fun photos of us all together first, then I'll post pictures from Thanksgiving dinner.
Getting to see Esther again and meet Grace for the first time! So sweet an so cute!

Helping Mama Victoria in her kitchen

Rachel and her friend Liu Xing
Esther and their Kitty, Xiao Feng (Little Wind)

When we got to their house, Brian and Caleb were out in some surrounding villages. They got home Thursday late morning. I love it that Brian rents those Chinese vans and drives them all over! It's not every waiguoren that's willing or able to drive in China!

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Xanga Deserter

So after four years of blogging on Xanga, I'm fed up. After China blocked Xanga, I thought I'd be ok because I was able to use a proxy server. The proxy server works and lets me access my blog, but uploading pictures and especially videos is pain-stakingly slow. And now, the proxy server is moody and I have to restart my computer every time I want to have it on. So, the frustration has now outweighed the fondness I have for my Xanga blog which I've used for four years. I'm moving on and (hopefully) moving up and using Blogger. Blogger is still blocked in China, but I can log in and post to it without a problem and I can post to Blogger via email which is a nice feature, especially when I'm traveling and can't use a proxy server.

Another better feature about Blogger is that anyone can comment on my blog! I love to know who's reading my posts and to get feedback on what I write. Feel free to leave me a comment. Plus, it'll help me know that I haven't lost all of my blog follows by switching.

Thanksgiving Post coming soon . . .