Terry to teach book she proofed/recorded this fall. “I am a rich woman. I have many jewels of green, orange, yellow and gold,” speaking of her vegetables from the market

21 Jul

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China company and scenes; TJ with teachers; Together Forever; Charles’ tooth…and a gorgeous sky

We came home from the market recently and Terry made this statement: “I am a rich woman. I have many jewels of green, orange, yellow and gold,” speaking of her green, orange, yellow, and gold vegetables. They are plenteous at this time of the summer, and it’s a good thing, since our “good and cheap” restaurant is closed for the summer. We are also able to get boneless, skinless chicken breasts, so we are doing just fine and lean pork.

One of Terry’s students told me via instant messenger that “all the students want both of you to teach us all the time” when I told him all of her students would be my students in the fall. A kind statement, but may be because our grades are 4-6 points higher than the other teachers, do you think?

Oh-h-h-h, no! Today we discovered a particular brand of ice cream across from the front gate. Had not really looked for them or one needed before….and we did not overdo it…but since most things are not eaten/drunk cold here, it was a treat, especially on a hot summer afternoon.

Terry will not have her official schedule till late August, but she found out today that because one of the teachers has resigned, they want her to teach the Pronunciation/Intonation course, rather than Oral English. She asked for, and received, the old book, since a new one is to come later in the summer…looks OK but will be something new…all freshmen on the West campus, which is what she wants. She will teach Oral English during the spring, using the book she used last semester.

Surprise! The new book Terry will use is the one we recorded for Dr. Yang last February-April! She also did the proof-reading. She had a meeting with Dean Catherine…was given that news…it is being printed and might be two weeks late, but we think it will be ‘worth the  wait.’ (Terry won’t be able to complain about the contents, huh?).

Every young boy has that moment when his ‘baby tooth’ is loose and it’s time to come out. That was the case with Charles (see photo, right). His tooth was barely hanging on…but as his English class proceeded, it was time to work it loose and get it out. Then they all celebrated the event together. Terry is so-o-o good with the guys…she is really enjoying the time with them.

We came to appreciate our students the initial week, and it has only grown as we watch their determination and admire their desire to learn English. To   (continued on page two)

them, it opens the world and many opportunities. And realize that the government is pushing more of its young people to learn the language, to explore the world, to reach for the ‘best they can be’ in this world.

I am thankful daily for those little ‘baby steps’ of President Richard Nixon many year ago to visit this country, to open the doors of communication, etc. The 2008 Beijing Olympics were billed as China’s ‘coming out party’ and I see firsthand that it was exactly that for the its people.

It is an exciting privilege and honor to be here…and amazing to realize that we will have ‘at our feet’ another 300+ new students this fall, adding them to the many others who are already our dear friends.

That number does not include the eight teachers who are regularly part of important discussions…and I am going to offer a pre-marriage series (Together Forever) on weekends in the fall and winter, with several teachers already saying they want to be part of it. We also have two groups of 12 sophomore students planning to be part of them in other sessions…in addition to our regular group of 11 who will be juniors this semester and were part of a weekly group. We like being busy with important things. 🙂

I have begun getting the word out to the 150+ juniors I had last semester to see if they are interested in this, their last year here. (see complete flyer at end of this newsletter).

We found air-conditioners at work on our monthly trek to the larger grocery store….a nice surprise! The RT had it on and the taxi was also cooler for the 27-minute ride home. A trip of some 2 hours…taxi was 36 yuan ($6 USD) for the round-trip.

We saw a construction crew working on the exterior of a five-story concrete building, putting red bricks on the outside with mortar. A six-person crew, two of them older than 55, and three of them were women. They do work side-by-side in many areas.

Greetings from Terry: I miss American libraries! The easy access of information in a system I understand. I know you can look up anything on the internet, but not me. Not the way my brain works.

I like to see and hold the book; to have someone point me in the right direction then leave me alone to discover, but be available for help if necessary.

To me, to be without a library is like being without a dictionary. And believe me, I use my dictionary. (I have to. I can’t spell worth a hoot.) The order of the letters just doesn’t stay in my mind. Remember when you asked your teacher the meaning of a word or how to spell something and she told you to look it up in the dictionary? Well, I was the student who would. I live with a dictionary close by. My dear Gary even bought me a little speller that is battery operated that I can carry with me.

In America, I use the library almost as often. Anytime I have a question (and believe me, I have a lot of questions) of who, what, when, or how, I can go to the library and usually find the answer. The reference people are kind, helpful and “upbraideth not”, which is very important.

My Daddy always told me, ”Never be afraid to ask questions.” As I think of it, that is what 12 year old Jesus was doing at the temple, ”listening to them and asking them questions.” Many times I have been very thankful that Benjamin Franklin used his talents and understanding to start the library system. (At least I think it was Ben) I’m not a detail person. 🙂

Our mandarin lessons are going well, even though learning a new language makes you feel like you‘re walking in the dark. We are making progress.

Yeah! I get to teach freshmen again. They asked me to teach pronunciation from the textbook Gary and I recorded for Dr. Yang. Then in the spring teach Oral English again using the same book as last semester. This is all very good news and I am looking forward to it.

Last night (Wednesday, July 20) we had our first Chinese family over for a meal (see photo below). We had chicken parmesan and all went well. Howard, Zhou Hao, is a thirty five year old English teacher and his wife, Luo Chun Lei, teaches Art. Theory; three year old son, Duo Duo, is so cute. They live one floor up from us. Howard is one of the people that has been very helpful to us in many ways. Even though Luo Chun does not speak English, she understands spoken and written English.

We had a very pleasant time. They are both loving parents and it is good to see the three of them interact. Until recently her mother lived with them and took care of Duo Duo while they both taught. After classes ended she moved away to help care for a relative who is terminally ill with cancer. — Love, Terry

Steps in building self-esteem

There are so many things we can do to leave behind the ‘thinking traps’ we set for ourselves in regard to self-esteem. We have the ability to analyze and correct our mind and thoughts. Here are some basic steps in building self-esteem:

1. Discover thinking mistakes that contribute to your low self-esteem. Look at your history, write down statements about yourself, keep a daily journal.

2. Challenge the validity of each self-statement: dispute, challenge, contradict, and reverbalize them one at a time. One idea that is often effective is to try and prove you are worthless. You will learn that worth has little link with competency.

3. Learn how these misconceptions originated and see that they are inaccurate, unrealistic, and distorted.

4. Write a new list of correct beliefs on a card and read the list daily…they become your new self-talk.

5. Role-play situations in which you have felt inferior in the past. Learn to perform tasks which you normally avoid.

6. Practice these new behaviors during the next week, perform needed tasks you previously avoided because of feelings of inferiority, and then properly assess the outcome. Do not be prejudiced against yourself because of improper assessment of outcomes.

We need to set realistic goals and press on to the High Calling: …one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…”

We need to be fair to self: If you would forgive others by doing what you have done, forgive yourself. Don’t be prejudiced against yourself. It’s not fair!

Learn “stop thinking.” Label negative, unproductive thoughts as garbage! And substitute positive thoughts for negative thoughts.

Self-esteem is an experience. It is a particular way of experiencing the self. It is a good deal than a mere feeling. It involves emotional, evaluative, and cognitive components.

It also entails certain action dispositions: to move toward life rather than away from it; to move toward consciousness rather than away from it; to treat facts with respect rather than denial; to operate self-responsibly rather than the opposite.

Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in the efficacy of our mind, in our ability to think.

By extension, it is confidence in our ability to learn, to make appropriate choices and decisions, and respond effectively to change.

It is also the experience that success, achievement, fulfillment-happiness-are right and natural for us.

Some might ask: doesn’t a focus on self-esteem encourage excessive and inappropriate self-absorption?
Rationally, one does not focus on self-esteem per se; one focuses on the practices that support and nurture self-esteem-such as the practice of living consciously, of self-acceptance, of self-responsibility, of self-assertiveness of purposefulness, and of integrity.

Self-esteem demands a high reality-orientation; it is grounded in a reverent respect for facts and truth.

Excessive and inappropriate self-absorption is symptomatic of poor self-esteem, not high self-esteem.

If there is something we are confident about, we do not obsess about it-we get on with living.

We believe we are here for a reason: to reach out to the 18-23 year old university students in Jingzhou, sowing seeds of knowledge and understanding wherever possible. We know it will not return  to us void. We have the opportunity to teach the future leaders of China, and to be ‘stretched’ ourselves in the process. Your thoughts and support are deeply appreciated!  — Gary and Terry

Some interesting news from China:  For decades China was an isolated nation due to the suppression and oppression by foreigners in various forms. It had severe turmoil and civil wars to reach towards the sunny light. The sunny light called ‘reform and opening-up’ initiated in 1978 opened China’s doors to the outside world.

It was just a matter of a few years before China’s economy flourished to gain the momentum of global growth. Today, China stands tall and competes with global players. The numbers of rich in China has superseded the numbers in many developing nations. The modern infrastructure encapsulates its march toward a modern lifestyle; and the rising social standard in cities mesmerizes those who visit China. Yet, the common Chinese find it amusing to see the presence of foreigners.

A sight of a foreigner amuses even a Chinese kid, who will be seen shouting “laowai”, even if this sounds annoying to some. A walking foreigner in many places of China is still strange for many ordinary Chinese. Everything about the foreigner becomes important sting from what one wears to what one carries. Probably to adapt the styles or to make a bit of fun, a foreigner in China is still a strange creature.

With the spread and popularity of Chinese language, many foreigners can now speak good Chinese. In fact, it is a must for the survival of foreigners in China. However, a simple “nihao” uttered from the mouth of a foreigner in proper sound and tone, and any ordinary Chinese will have an immediate reaction “your Chinese is very good.”

In case, one really speaks good Chinese, then one has to be ready to face the later part – which country do you belong to? How come your Chinese is so good? What are you doing in China?

If one passes in this general aptitude test, then a range of personal questions follow – are you married; if married, how many kids; if unmarried, why don’t you find a Chinese girl or a Chinese boy, I can help introduce; what is your age etc.. Are Chinese talkative? Yes, for the sake of understanding the life of a foreigner, almost all Chinese are talkative.

China posted a fiscal surplus of 1.25 trillion yuan ($193.3 billion) in the first half of the year as steady economic growth and rising prices lifted government revenues, the Ministry of Finance said. The surplus, equal to about 6.1 percent of China’s gross domestic product from January to June, is well above Beijing’s target for a full-year fiscal deficit of 2 percent of GDP.

That said, Beijing normally accumulates a fiscal surplus in the first three quarters of a year before accelerating spending at year-end to pull the annual budget into the red. National fiscal revenues in June rose 28 percent from a year ago to 1.01 trillion yuan, compared with May’s 34 percent increase and April’s 27 percent gain.

The economy grew 9.5 percent in the second quarter, beating expectations and easing concerns over a hard landing amid tight monetary policies targeting high inflation. The growth rate was higher than the 9.3 percent predicted by many economists. Other indicators also point to a soft landing for the economy.

Gross domestic product rose 9.7% in the first quarter and 9.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. The figure for the first half of this year stood at 9.6 percent.

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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Jingzhou


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