I am very grateful for many things: 392 students who are willing to let me teach them for 90-minutes per week in eight classes Tuesday-Friday; a group of teachers (7) and two groups of students (we had 30 one night) who care about Important Things, and some Family (5-10) who are a joy to know and special Friends when we gather around The Supper.
We discovered a display that sells good, lean portions of pork in the back-gate market…and after Terry cooked it in the crock-pot, it was simply the best! Wow! It was such a surprise and so-o-o convenient!
It seems like we are tired much of the time right now, but we have time to rest before the next day’s events. We are eating the same 5-8 things weekly…and loving it…and thus are maintaining the healthiest lifestyle we’ve ever had. We might grow tired of those same things, but, for now, it is very-y-y good.
I have discovered something again about the time to read here in China: because there is no television to watch or children to take care of, and it’s too cold to even go to parts of our own apartment, much less go outside, we have time every day to cuddle up under two layers of clothes or get under four layers of cover on the bed…and read for a while.
While we were on our ‘road trip during April-December, 2010, and here in 2011, I have enjoyed the opportunity to read many, many books…I am very-y-y-y grateful for the time and our Kindles daily 🙂
(Terry says “me too” to most of the above…she cooks and washes and take care of me, so she has less time, though I help her in every way possible. She teases me that sometimes she needs to work alone so she can get it done faster, but also so she can get warm again on these cold days when half of our apartment is around 58 degrees in the morning hours, even with a floor heater running full-speed ahead 🙂
We are handling the cold by taking one day at a time, and with classroom temps around 40 degrees, it will be nice to see some warmer weather in a few more days.
Two of our Sunday Assembly Family are expecting in July. We know their travel will lighten as those due dates grow closer, and we will miss their joyful dispositions and great interest and questions!
We have a new deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Office, and are waiting to see if it changes anything about our tasks here. It seemed like a sudden event…and this is the office that is ‘in charge’ of the foreign teachers. Change is never simple here, but it also seems to occur quickly, with little or no warning…we will keep you in touch. I know we have already waited over five days for a response to a question and it usually comes within minutes, so it might also have involved the staff, as well.
We received a long email that informed us that a Japanese foreign teacher had a break-in at his apartment, and received a long email warning with advise from Dean Catherine about what we should do to insure more safety (of course, we were already doing most of what they suggested).
China Daily News: Let’s include South China in heating, says adviser — The heating program in northern China should be expanded to include the south, a political adviser said, Nanfang Daily reported.
Winters in recent years have been particularly cold in southern provinces such as Guangdong and Guizhou, where winters are usually mild compared to the north. Coupled with the humidity, it feels even colder in the south than the north, said the adviser, Zhang Xiaomei. Currently, the heating program is limited to areas north of the Qinling Mountain-Huaihe River line.
BEIJING – China has made the first annual reduction in its holdings of US Treasury bonds in a decade. Experts are viewing the move as a sign that the country is accelerating the move away from dollar assets in search of more diversified investment channels.
According to the latest monthly figures from the US Treasury Department, China’s holdings of US Treasury bonds dropped for a fifth consecutive month in Dec to $1.15 trillion.
The number was an update of a figure released in February, after the US department adjusted its method of collecting data on foreign holdings of US government bonds, a move aimed at obtaining more information about the use of proxies buying and holding US securities.
As a result, China’s June holdings of US Treasury securities have been amended to $1.31 trillion instead of $1.17 trillion. The figure at the end of 2011 was $51 billion higher than the previous calculation.
According to the revised data, China cut its holdings of US debt by $8.2 billion in 2011 compared with the previous year. It was the first time that the country had reduced its yearly holdings since 2001.
BEIJING – China’s defense spending will see a double-digit increase again in 2012, as strong economic growth continues to fuel rapid military expansion, the country’s legislature spokesman said Sunday. Li Zhaoxing said defense spending would increase by 11.2 percent over actual spending last year to hit 670.2 billion yuan ($106.4 billion) in 2012, an increase of about 67 billion yuan.
China’s official defense spending is the largest in the world after the United States, but actual spending, according to foreign defense experts, may be 50 percent higher, as China excludes outlays for its nuclear missile force and other programs.
Li, speaking at a news conference a day before the opening of the annual session of the National People’s Congress, said China’s military spending was small as a percentage of gross domestic product compared to other countries, especially the United States.
“China is committed to the path of peaceful development and follows a national defense policy that is defensive in nature,” Li said. “You see, China has 1.3 billion people, a large territory and long coastline, but our defense spending is relatively low compared with other major countries.”
Last year’s military spending amounted to 1.28 percent of China’s economy, Li said. By contrast, the ratio stood at 4.8 percent for the U.S. in 2010, according to the World Bank.