Proof reading a manuscript; Terry’s desk, some students, food and daily sights
Two major events occurred in recent days in our life. First, we have been asked by two university department heads to work jointly on the proof reading and editing of a workbook entitled A Practical Course for Pronunciation and Intonation.
Dr. Yang has written the material for use here, and wants us to ‘double check’ it and make certain that the English words and sentences are proper.
Then both Terry and I will go to a recording studio here on campus and read the material for making a CD to be used with the workbook by students in the future. It is 154 pages long; we’re hoping we can do the reading in 6 sessions of 1.5 hours each.
It will be some hard work and likely take longer than we think ‘on the front side,’ but we’re more than willing to do what we can do to move the project forward.
We’ve had our first sessions and it has gone very well…and, of course, Terry is great. Her speech is clear and precise…just what the doctor ordered. My ‘Tennessee slang’ is acceptable, too, it appears.
Second, a local friend (Howard) heard us talking about needing to find someone who could cut our hair. He has a brother just a half-mile away who cuts…he went with us and his brother did a great job…for about $3.07 each, which includes getting it washed in advance.
(I have never had anyone wash my hair…not even Terry…though it looked possible in the movie Phenomenon. I had my first haircut in a barber chair as a university freshman at MTSU; my dad had always cut it up to that point).
The students tell us often how unusual it is to see a husband and wife holding hands and walking ‘arm in arm’ all the time. It’s how we have acted all our life, but it has opened many doors of communication and questions from them. If it encourages the young men and women, then it is great from our standpoint. But we couldn’t stop if we wanted to :).
I won a badminton title as a fifth-grade camper at Harrison Bay in Chattanooga many years ago…and have won a few ping pong matches in my life. My reason for mentioning those two facts? I know those are two favorite sports here and the students look pretty accomplished. I am looking for the slowest, poorest players possible on this campus for my initial endeavor in the sports world.
We now have four weekly Good News times in our apartment…all on Friday-Sunday. We are staying busy but loving it!
Greetings from Terry: I have been quiet with few words this past week, content and going about my business. Mostly because I had a bit of a cold but it is better now.
My desk and chair were delivered and put to use immediately. So nice to have my own space to spread out and prepare my lessons. And I do mean “spread out”. Gary uses a computer, I use paper. Gary works in a straight line, I work in a scattered pattern until all of my notes come together to form a whole. It sounds confusing but it works for me.
Saturday morning we walked with our umbrellas in the light rain through the maze of alley ways to the market to purchase fresh vegetables for the week. Dale and Lisa introduced us to the honest vender whom they buy from. After our outing I took a long, deep nap, must have needed it to catch up and heal. Felt much better when I was finally able to wake up.
We continue to enjoy the friends and relationships we are making here. My students are the best. This week we will begin having the students into our apartment to practice their English as we visit and get to know each other. Maybe we will practice reading some English together. Help us lift that up this week.
Tuesday the 15th — I got to baby sit for Dale and Lisa as my “Thank you” for all they have done for us. So they got to have a night out by themselves. I really enjoyed their two little boys, Seth and Caleb. They let me read to them, play games and watch half of a movie in English and half of a movie in Chinese. They are both fluent in Chinese and English. They are very relaxed and well behaved so it was a very fun evening. There were six for our first day meeting this time.
Monday, 3/21—It rained today but I did not see one earth worm out and about on the sidewalks or streets.
We got our first hair cut in China today and we like it! Yarps are answered. Our fellow teacher took us to his brother’s shop. He did a very professional job. We are pleased.
Dean Catherine and Dr. Yang came to our apartment to ask us if we would proof read their new English Pronunciation and Intonation textbook. They also want to record our voices reading the text on a disc to go with it; such a humbling request. We agreed to do it before they mentioned they would pay us a little for the project. I let him know we do not have full understanding or training in phonetic notation but we would do our best.
Thursday, 3/24 — Today was our first recording session in the recording studio on our campus. It was fun and interesting. We had to be absolutely still and quiet as we read the script; pausing between each page. It went well and we finished the first lesson. Gary’s deep voice came through very well and sounded great. He is the announcer//narrator voice and I am the lesson voice. It will take about two months.
We have scheduled 1.5 hours each Saturday afternoon to have our students over for ‘get to know you’ time, in addition to other Good News studies. We have 13-15 at a time.
You are all in my thoughts. Terry
Chasing after courage “Courage is fear that has said its prayers”
When we truly accept the fact that we are never, ever truly alone, we can respond with courage to the individual events of our life.
Conviction becomes our strength. We become bold in our words and our actions. We grow more immune to the normal despair brought on by pressure presented by peers.
Victor Frankl, the eminent German Jewish doctor, was arrested by the Gestapo during World War II. As he was being interrogated by the Nazi secret police, Frankl was stripped of all his possessions–his clothes, his jewelry, his wedding band. His head was shaved. He was repeatedly taken from his prison cell, placed under bright lights, and questioned for hours. He underwent many savage, senseless tortures. But Frankl realize he had one thing left: “I still had the power to choose my own attitude. Bitterness or forgiveness, to give up or go on.”
In June l955, Winston Churchill, who was then near the end of his life, was asked to give a commencement address at a British University. At this time he was physically infirm; he had to be helped to the podium. Then he held on to the podium for what seemed an interminable amount of time.
He stood with his head down but then finally raised that great leonine head of his, and the voice that years before had called Britain back from the brink of destruction sounded publicly for the last time in history.
“Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.” With that, Churchill turned and went back to his seat. I’m told there was silence, and then, as if one person, the whole audience rose to applaud him, because he was a man whose life and words were together.
Again and again throughout Churchill’s political career, he had known setbacks. Three times, his career apparently was over, he was sent off to oblivion, and yet somehow he had a sense that there was still something left after the worst.
Fear doesn’t want you to make the journey to the mountain. If it can rattle you enough, fear will persuade you to take your eyes off the peaks and settle for a dull existence in the flatlands.
Today our culture is far less likely to raise up heroes than it is to exalt victims, individuals who are overcome by the sting of oppression, injustice, adversity, neglect or misfortune. … Success, as well as failure, is the result of one’s own talent, decisions and actions. Accepting personal responsibility for victory, as well as for defeat, is as liberating and empowering as it is unpopular today. I like these words: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is not effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. “