Saturday, September 27, 2008
I'm continuously thankful for modern communication technology. I can talk to friends and family on the other side of the world (or the next country over) for free or nearly free!
Thanks to a tip from Victoria, I just discovered talkster.com which is a great way to make free long-distance or international calls . . . unless your family lives in Coatesville, IN which is the black hole of all telecommunications.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Kate, Dave, me and the whole Rice family are going to go spend a week in the northern Vietnamese town of Sapa. We got our passports back from Kunming yesterday with the Vietnamese visa stamped in it. Katie, Dave, and I are going to take a bus to the China-Vietnam border which is about 4 hours from Mengzi (Brian's driving his family there in a jeep) and then the hotel comes and picks us up to take us to Sapa which is about an hour from the border. While we're in Sapa, we might get to see some of the Vietnamese students that study at HHU and going home for the Oct. 1 holiday.
Excited about getting to visit a new country!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
To You--My Missing Lover
When I am first time to meet you.
I can't help myself to missing you at the night.
All the happiness feeling come from you,
My heart always with the joy and delight.
For your smile give me much warm.
Like a cup of tea in the winter.
There is no more unharmony and no more harm.
Just so much sweet emotion occupy my heart when it entered.
Thanks to the God let us meet in here.
Unforgottable for your back shadow fades away.
I can't find that in anywhere.
The sweet memory take me in my dream always.
To you, my missing lover, I will waiting for you in my life.
Loving you in this life if only I'm alive.
We all went home on Autumn Day.
It was a short happy journey.
In my heart, my hometown is never far away.
My love and soul always live in my lovely small country.
It was bright moon to lighten the way home.
I missed my family for Autumn's sake.
I enjoyed the days I followed my mum.
I loved we all set round to eat mooncake.
Peanuts, delicious food and sweets.
Let us eat so much.
Leaving wonderful memory to us.
It was great happiness for each.
How wonderful Autumn Festival!
It was my short and unforgettable travel!
I had four or five other sonnets that I thought were quite good considering it's being written in a second language. One of my the student's sonnet was "Shall I Compare Thee to a Red Apple" and although some of lines got a little confusing, I thought her last two lines were cute.
Happiness, unhappiness of all my life. And, if God blesses,
I would like to be you Mrs.
When I was reading the students' sonnets, a few of them seemed to be a little too good and some of them were obviously not the students' own work. I started checking and found that the students had turned in two Shakespeare sonnets, two poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one poem by a man named Samuel Daniel, and two poems from a Chinese "let-us-do-your-homework-for-you" site. How my ESL students think they can get away with turning in a Shakespeare sonnet and claiming it as their own, I'm not sure. They're going to get a little lecture in class this week.
Friday, September 19, 2008
On the highway going from my university into town, they're building . . . The Colosseum. Why? . . . I have no idea. I guess it's some sort of large amphitheater. Seems a rather odd thing to be building in the small town of Mengzi. I might start getting worried if I hear anything about lions arriving in Mengzi.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
These three little toddlers (two boys and a girl) became my buddies since I was feeding them cake. They were a little too small to handle their own piece of cake but were happy to just get bites from me. The little guy in the stroller was happy to just watch. He's a little too young for cake.
Esther and Grace got birthday cake too! Yum!
This little girl is almost 4 years old and is actually on her way to Kunming today to meet her adopted parents who are from Spain.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
While Katie and I were preparing for the class, we discussed the idea of having the students attempt to write a sonnet as their homework. To help the students not be so overwhelmed at the idea, Katie had the great idea of us writing our own sonnet, dedicated to Mid-Autumn Festival which is this Monday. Mid-Autumn Festival is a Chinese holiday where families get together, eat a big meal, and (supposedly) gaze up at the full moon while eating mooncakes. Mooncakes are fig-newton-esque "cakes" which can have a variety of fillings inside--fruit jelly, eggs, meat, red bean paste, nuts. After years in China, I've come to the conclusion that mooncakes, while a nice idea, are similar to fruitcake at Christmas time. I just don't like mooncakes and although Chinese people buy them in bulk for the holiday, a lot of them don't really like them all that much either. So anyways, in honor of mooncakes and to give our students a somewhat ridiculous example, here is "Mid-Autumn Sonnet."
Shall I compare thee to a round mooncake?
Thou art just as longed for and desired in fall.
I loathe the taste, yet I eat them for your sake.
My love is as big as the moon yet the cake be small.
Sometimes mooncakes are sweet and taste of strawberry,
This flavor so right, like us, arranged by fate.
At times quarrels make our sweet love contrary,
Bringing to mind cakes of meat, egg and date.
Each year we sit and gaze at the moon so round.
Telling the story of Chang’e* on this day,
We hope that by her lover she can be found,
But if mooncakes abound they’ll be thrown away.
And so my dear if we must ever needs part,
Know that always the moon(cake) stands for my heart.**
*Chang’e is the beautiful women in the mid-autumn myth. She takes her husband's medicine which is supposed to let him live forever. But when she does, she flies to the moon and her lover is only able to see her when the moon is full at the Mid-autumn day.
**Reference to well-known Chinese song “Yue Liang Daibiao Wo de Xin (The Moon Stands for my Heart)”
Although we took a bit of poetic license with the iambic pentameter, the rhyme pattern does match that of English Sonnets which is (literary trivia questions of the day) ababcdcdefefgg. If my students come up with any good sonnets, I'll try to post them.
So far, I've received 15 mooncakes-- 4 Giant sized, 9 medium, and 2 small. I have no idea what to do with them. Hopefully I can find a way to pass them on to people who like them more than I do.
I do love getting cards and mail from friends back home. Here's my address (subtle hint, huh?) in case anyone else wants to send a card all the way around the world :-)
中国 云南省 蒙自县东郊
红河学院 对外合作与交流处 661100
Yunnan Province, Mengzi City
Hong He University
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
While in the summer ,i watched the BOG a lot ,and Phepis is an impressing person,he is quite young and not bad-looking,he broke 7 world record in swimming in water cube.and one of Bush’sdaughter wants to have a relationship with him.I think he is very successful and he is a real Amercan,because of his casualty.
Because of his casualty? I'm not exactly sure what she was going for. But I do enjoy keeping in touch with my old students.
Monday, September 8, 2008
My surprise class that I learned about at 10:00 last night went rather well. The kids were shocked to see me and clapped for me when I came in (nothing like a boisterous round of applause to boost your self esteem). I might have been the first foreigner that some of them had ever talked to and I was definitely the first foreign teacher for most of them. Their English level wasn't great since most of them come from smaller towns in Yunnan. But, they were eager to try and once they calmed down and got over their nerves, then we could communicate just fine. I . . . did . . . speak . . . very . . . slowly (and for those of you who know me, you know what a challenge that can be for me) and had to use some Chinese, but I came away from the class feeling like it will be a good group of students to teach.
This week is Shakespeare in British Literature--excerpts from Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day . . . ")--the analysis of which I will be reading up on and and dredging out of my memory from my sophomore year in college when I took Brit. Lit. Yeah for the internet! How would I prepare for this class without online research? Hark! Annon! Dost thou thinkest mine students canst hither understand such language? Oh how thou dost jest!
I think I bought all the Coke Light at the little drink shop outside the front gate of campus. The older couple who run that shop think I drink a lot of Coke. They should meet my dad. Please restock so I don't have to trek into town for Coke and then lug it all the way back home!
I still don't know my schedule for tomorrow or the rest of the week. I think I'm free tomorrow but it's only 8:00 p.m. so the school still has at least two, maybe three, more hours to call me tonight. I think I have a class Wednesday morning but that could change. My mantra this week . . . I can be flexible . . . I can be flexible . . . I can be flexible.
We have guests here from America. Mike, Mark, and Brett from a fellowship in Colorado that the Rices are associated with. We got to listen to Mike's teaching from the Word yesterday which was a special treat.
Oh . . . I added a new photo to my Olympic Experience post which reiterates how excited Chinese people were about the Olympics.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Thankfully it was dead! Esther, Grace, and I poked it with the broom several times to make sure and showed it to Victoria. Esther thought she was brave enough to sweep it up but in the end I had to sweep the rhino beetle up and throw it over the side of the balcony. Hope I never see one of these things inside my house!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Will post more when I get back.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Scenery on the road to Shui Tian
With Xiao Yang and her two daughters, Yi Li Ya and Yi Li Sa
Helping the Yangs shuck corn which will be bundled and hung to dry. Eventually it will be feed for their pigs and cows.
Xiao Yang's father brings in another load of corn on his back.
Yi Li Ya and Yi Li Sa got to spend the day with their grandparents.We also helped pull peanuts off the dried bushes after they'd been picked, my first time to see how peanuts are grown.
All through out the village, star anise was laid out to dry. It made the whole village smell like licorice.
Me with one of the older women in the village. They're all so tiny . . . I felt huge standing next to any of them.