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“…I have become accustomed to everything. It doesn’t take as much concentration as it did at first.” The Best News? We Have a New Brother and Sister!

03 Apr

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Greetings from Terry: Rejoice, rejoice! We have a new younger Sister in our Family. She is the one that has been going to the discussions in Chinese that are located closer to her campus.

We bought some extra large hangers to air our bedding out on the balcony like the rest of the neighborhood.  Now we are ready when the warm weather arrives.

As I was going to the back gate market last week it dawned on me how nice it was to walk along and not be bothered by sights, sounds and smells. I guess I have become accustomed to everything. It doesn’t take as much concentration as it did at first.

I have finished reading Bumps Are What You Climb On by Warren Wiersbe and the book Gladys Alward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Geoff Benge.

This week the lessons in my text books aren’t that interesting.  It’s just doing what we have to do. I guess that is why they call it work. The students are getting tired also. He will give me some good ideas and I will continue “struggling with all Hi energy, which so powerfully works in me”. I love Him.

My previous lessons have been about Heroes. I named several of my heroes that were unselfish and willing to leave their comfort zone. Another lesson was on Love and Romance. We talked about American Culture’s most famous definition of true love in 1 Cor.13 and examples of how it is action not just feeling. Now it is the week to teach American Culture of the Easter Holiday and I will talk about my favorite hero who acted on His true love for all mankind in being unselfish and willing to leave his comfort zone and die for us. Hope you all enjoy your family gatherings.

And now we have found out we have a new younger brother! He was brought to the discussions recently by one of the other new brothers. It brings such joy.

I received this text from the female student that came to talk when she was feeling down and had a lot of doubts and questions of life. “Dear Terry: I can’t find any words to gratitude you. How appreciate I am! I’ve found myself and my dream again, and I know clearly what I should do now. But I still want to express my thanks to you, on behalf of my inside, for what you’ve done for me. I pray to Jesus Christ by my heart, for your everything! Please take care of yourself well. The Best Wishes for you!“

My female students have discovered cross stitching and enjoy it during their free time. One of them made me a pouch for my cell phone decorated with a cross stitched picture. She did a really good job.

TTFN (Ta Ta For Now) I like Tigger’s enthusiasm – Love, Terry

Gary: We recently completed one of the more miserable days in China since arriving…cold winds and heavy rain most of the day… though 70 degree highs are just around the corner. We had moved our kitchen table back into the main part of the apartment, thinking we could get back to normal, but found that ‘the new normal’ is best for now. Seven days later we put the heater up and had the warmest day of the year.

And I still do not understand why 68 degrees feels so cold when it’s 45 outside and feels just right when it’s 73 outside. Someone send me an email and explain that to me!

We ate at a McDonald’s for the first time… tasted just like those in the USA. I used to drive as a teenager across town in Chattanooga to get McDonald’s French fries…never thought I’d take a bus for some in China one day 🙂 Nice to get the American taste again; helps us not to miss it so much, though I like many other hamburgers and rarely eat at McDonald’s in America..

Our apartment became ‘officially’ home upon our return…I brought from our storage my weather gauges, which have been part of my life since my Dad’s habit of the same. A product of the Navy and a sailboat owner, Dad always seemed to have one in our house and I have, too. It seems to be one degree low  in reporting the temperature and I never understood the barometric pressure aspect of it…but it felt good to put it up on the wall the week after we arrived back in China. I noticed Coast Guard-son Gregory also has one in his house 🙂

We have been hearing the cuckoo birds in our neighborhood…it must be spring.

Because our school is going through an accreditation process, we were told this morning that we need to begin turning in monthly lesson plans, through the end of the semester…needless paperwork has been discovered in China. We have been required to turn in a curriculum plan prior to each semester, but this is new.

I began watching the Ken Burns’ Baseball series this weekend, with the season now about to begin and my fantasy league team fully assembled. I did not have time to watch it last year, since everything was so new to us here and we had other important things that had to take precedent….just catching our breath and working to get through the first few weeks.

For the first time since Eric began the THE Pilgrim League (2001), I was bad enough the year before and the rules changed  for me to finally get the first team pick and THE New York Yankees as my American League team (we choose a team from each league and have six free agents). Since I had the first pick this year, I  also had the last pick (16th) and got the Giants as my National League team, so am pleased to have a solid group…which means I won’t get the Yankees next year because I expect to do much better and will not choose first again….oh, well.

And this could be the year for the Cubs to win it all! I said in December, 2010, when we decided to come to China, “I’ll probably be in China and miss the Cubs winning the World Series” and then realized that IF it would help them to finally break the curse and get there again, I’d gladly do it. Well, now Eric is planning to be in China so it would really be something IF we were both out of the country and that gigantic achievement transpires!!

It has become clear again that just because we do Important Things in another country, what we enjoyed as hobbies and recreation in the USA continues. I have no idea how to repair a lawn mower, or fix a car engine, but I do have a love of sports that began in my early teens. It has sustained me in difficult  times and provided an income for over 14 years of my life when I was a sportswriter either full-time or part-time (began as a senior in high school; had a partial scholarship for four years as sports editor of our college newspaper, which literally put food on my table since I never thought of getting a meal ticket to the cafeteria).

I was in the 99th percentile in the Women’s NCAA tourney going into the finals and was just 4 points from finishing first in the nation with my point total. In our men’s bracket, I picked the eventual champion and three of the Final Four, including both finalists…and did not witness a single game since returning here on February 8.

China News — Qingming Festival (also known as Pure Brightness Festival or Tomb-sweeping Day), which falls on either April 4th or 5th of the gregorian calendar, is one of the Chinese Twenty-four Solar Terms. From that date temperatures begin to rise and rainfall increases, indicating that it is the crucial time for plowing and sowing in the spring. Qingming Festival therefore has a close relationship with agriculture. However, it is not only a seasonal symbol; it is also a festival of paying respect to the dead, a spring outing, and other activities.

It is said that the Qingming Festival was originally held to commemorate a loyal man living in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476 BC), named Jie Zitui. Jie cut a piece of meat from his own leg in order to save his hungry lord who was forced to go into exile when the crown was in jeopardy. The lord came back to his position nineteen years later, and forgot Jie Zitui but later felt ashamed and decided to reward him. However, Jie had blocked himself up in a mountain with his mother.

In order to find Jie, the lord ordered that the mountain should be set on fire. Later Jie was found dead with his mother. In order to commemorate Jie, the lord ordered that the day Jie died was Hanshi (Cold Food) Festival – the day that only cold food could be eaten.

The second year, when the lord went to the mountain to sacrifice to Jie, he found willows revived, so he gave instructions that the day after Hanshi Festival was to be Qingming Festival. Later, the two festivals were combined as one – Qingming Festival.

All in all, the Qingming Festival is an occasion of unique characteristics, integrating sorrowful tears to the dead with the continuous laughter from the spring outing.

Qingming Festival is a time of many different activities, among which the main ones are tomb sweeping, taking a spring outing, and flying kites. Some other lost customs like wearing willow branches on the head and riding on swings have added infinite joy in past days. The festival is a combination of sadness and happiness.

Tomb sweeping is regarded as the most important custom in the Qingming Festival from which the name of Tomb-sweeping day is got. Cleaning the tomb and paying respect to the dead person with offerings are the two important parts of remembering the past relatives. Weeds around the tomb are cleared away and fresh soil is added to show care of the dead. The dead person’s favourite food and wine are taken to sacrifice to them, along with paper resembling money. This is all burned in the hope that the deceased are not lacking food and money. Kowtow before the tablets set up for the dead are made.

Today, with cremation taking over from burying, the custom has been extremely simplified in cities. Only flowers are presented to the dead relatives and revolutionary martyrs. No matter how respect is shown, good prayers for the deceased are expressed.

Not only is it a day for commemorating the dead, is it also a festival for people to enjoy themselves. During March, everything in nature takes on a new look, as trees turn green, flowers blossom, and the sun shines brightly. It is a fine time to go out and to appreciate the beautiful scenes of nature during the festival. This custom can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) and followed by each dynasty later till today. So visitors can be seen everywhere during the month of the festival.

Spring outings not only add joy to life but also promote a healthy body and mind.

Flying kites is an activity favored by many people during the Qingming Festival. Kites are not only flown during the day time but also in the evening. Little lanterns are tied to the kite or to the string that holds the kite. And when the kite is flying in the sky, the lanterns look like twinkling stars that add unique scenery to the sky during the night. What makes flying kites during this festival special is that people cut the string while the kite is in the sky to let it fly free. It is said this brings good luck and that diseases can be eliminated by doing this.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Jingzhou

 

One response to ““…I have become accustomed to everything. It doesn’t take as much concentration as it did at first.” The Best News? We Have a New Brother and Sister!

  1. Mary McKinney

    April 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Hi, Gary and Terry–we still love you, and think of you often. Great news that things are going so well there. I still teach English also in WEI and have lots of China students. Do you know Norris Cline in Knoxville?

    Have a great day,
    Mary

    Like

     

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