ADMIRE: We see their work ethic, positive attitudes, and willingness to work….she looked at me, with a big smile, and said, “you and Terry really like your students…I noticed you said our students.”

21 Apr

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Our students have finally taken their TEM4 exam, which is for sophomore English majors. It has four parts, takes just under three hours, and will not be offered again for one year IF they do not make at least 60 on it. It is a big deal here and they have worked many, many hours.

One Discussion Group has been affected by this crucial test, so we hope some of the students can have more time on the weekends now. They have elective classes on Saturday and Sunday, in addition to regular Monday-Friday classes, so it is often difficult to schedule time with those interested in Important Things. We make the best use of the time given to us.

We so much admire the work ethic, positive attitudes, and willingness to listen and work of both the teachers and students. I was talking with Dean Catherine two weeks ago about the rumor of “our students” moving to the West campus and how we wanted to be where “our students” live. She looked at me, with a big smile, and said, “you and Terry really like your students don’t you? I noticed you said our students.” My reply: “we do like them a lot.” We’ve had numerous discussions lately with other teachers who talk about the time we give in our apartment to the different groups, and the times we treat them to lunch.

Grandsons Brinson and Aiden have begun packing their special things for moving, since their house is to be rented soon, and that means getting their many pounds of Lego’s down to “only 50” for the long trip in late August. They are both big-time Kindle book readers and both have other enjoyable hobbies, so they will do just fine…and, of course, they will be home-schooled here.

Our three children and families spent several weeks in Panama City (see photo right and Brinson ‘catching the sun’ left) , our annual time of the year when we have tried to all spend some time together. Of course, we missed that special occasion, and really missed being there. Skype saved the day, again; we were able to connect for a few minutes.

We’ve introduced Jell-O to the teachers in our weekly Thursday study and they really like it…especially the pudding version…sugar-free, of course. Terry made hot apple pie a few weeks back, which was also very successful…we all especially liked the crust. She puts cinnamon on many things, like her parents, so they have been introduced to a fruit salad with cinnamon, as well. We enjoy our time together so much, and their interest is growing.

Terry has put up new ‘curtains’ in the kitchen… wrapping paper that has “I Love You” printed on it. It allows her to have privacy at night but see the children playing and the sunshine during the day, when she opens them up.

I spent the morning with the Bee Gees on my music player…with Robin Gibbs in a coma and two already gone, I had this group on my mind…have listened to them most of my adult life. Just returned from monthly trip to RT Mart, this time without TJ, since she decided to eat lunch with some students in the West campus canteen. Went to five different stores, found no one who spoke English, and found everything I needed, and even bartered at two places to get a slightly lower price. I could have saved more IF a student had been with me. Ate lunch at McDonald’s (two cheeseburgers, fries and a Coke Zero with ice, which isn’t served in any of the non-American restaurants) and enjoyed every single crumb. 🙂

Keven came by and worked with Terry baking Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies, which he’d purchased on a recent trip to Wuhan. It has become one of those ‘regular appointments’ after a trip to the ‘big city.’

Have watched with interest the Peyton Manning news and his move to the Denver Broncos. I guess many of us will be watching NFL games/news from the West Coast more this fall. Also not surprising that Pat Summitt needed to step aside and Holly Warlick is named the Lady Vols’ coach. I covered track meets during Holly’s senior year at Knox Bearden…she was a state champion in all sprint events and quite an athlete…All-American at UT speaks for itself…and her number was retired when she quit playing at both schools.

When Baylor won the NCAA tournament game against Tennessee and Kim Mulkey knew she had likely ended Summitt’s career, this one-of-a-kind, too-big-to-have-dreamed-come-true career, she could only be humbled. “What do you say after the game?” Mulkey said that night. “You say, ‘I love you.’ ”

Her impact reaches beyond wins and losses. Every Lady Vols player who has completed her eligibility at Tennessee has graduated, and 74 former players, assistants, graduate assistants, team managers and directors of basketball operations are currently among the coaching ranks at every level of basketball.

Tennessee sports fans are fortunate to have such ‘heroes’ as Pat and Peyton!

We incorporated some ideas from an edited version of the movie The Notebook in our discussion of the value of human life and euthanasia, which is unit 7 in our workbook. I want to share some of their ideas, as it relates in “true love” and “loving your spouse until death do you part:”

  • The movie portrayed the girl, Allie, as “too imtimate, and most of my classmates agreed…we would have enjoyed it more if she were not depicted that way.” Of course, I agreed wholeheartedly, and had told them before the movie that I wish I could have taken out the 7-8 ‘bad words.’
  • “If we want others to love us, we must first love others; if we want others to believe us, we must first believe them.”
  • “Devotion to a spouse is more important than achievements and money.”
  • “In a relationship, you must accept all about a person, and not just those things easy to like.”
  • A popular Chinese saying was repeated often…”holding your hand and aging with you.”
  • Several related the love of Noah and Allie in” the movie, in their old age and dealing with dementia, to “the love of Gary and Terry and the envy some feel” as they want to find someone like that in their life.
  • “Gold cannot be pure, and men cannot be perfect.”
  • “Home is where the family is…”
  • One student said she was glad to know that love ‘till death do us part” is still possible, and related her concern derived from watching Desperate Housewives and assuming that was more the model today. I assured her that some do live that way, but many also are married for life. 🙂
  • They use the word “lover” here to describe even a wholesome relationship between a boy and a girl, with no sexual intimacy being discussed…that is just the word they use most often.

In our Friday Discussion group, we had some extended question/answer time this week since some were away for last-minute TEM4 exam preparation. One thing: the electricity on weekends in the dorm is later than 11 pm since they do not have classes the next day…sometimes it is on even as late as 11:40 pm on school nights. We had been told for over a year that it was always off at 11 pm. We also learned that it is left on all night during the hot summer time when classes are held, so the students can use fans, though they do not keep it cool at all! Those in our discussion that night also have heat and AC in their family homes.

I cannot remember if I have mentioned the abundant use of weed-eaters on this campus. While most of the campus is hard surface, there is some grass and several large areas of nice garden-type landscaping. But the weed-eaters…well, they use it for any grass, and that includes the ‘playground,’ which is a football-size grassy area inside an old cinder track, that looks like the one I ran on in 1964-65 in early high school track days.

The playground is now over a foot tall, due to warmer weather and rain, and several men will start early in the day and work for 2-3 days to ‘cut the grass’ with their weed-eaters. Have not seen a lawnmower anywhere in town.

It was April 20 before we were able to wear only one layer for warmth, for me, a short-sleeved shirt.  Very nice and about time….:-)

We had some books brought to us from Ed Mosby on a recent trip to China. Two of our Friday night Discussion students are avid readers. We gave Sapphire the 3-in-1 paperback of Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box, Timepiece, and the Letter). He is one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend him to you. Terry gave Arrow The Blue Window  by Temple Bailey, a book she has enjoyed for many years.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 21, 2012 in Jingzhou


One response to “ADMIRE: We see their work ethic, positive attitudes, and willingness to work….she looked at me, with a big smile, and said, “you and Terry really like your students…I noticed you said our students.”

  1. Jerry Pritchett

    April 22, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Greetings from Spring Hill, Tennessee! Discovered the whereabouts of the Davenports last Friday the 13th. Wondered where you two had gotten off to. Last time we saw you was in Florida when you were at West Broward. The bapistry had leaked that weekend! Think your travels took you to Ohio and California since then. But China! Would never have guessed it in a million years. After reading your past posts from January 2011 to present, it looks like you’re doing well and enjoying your experience. Hope you’re making a difference in the lives of your students.

    Jerry, Judy Pritchett



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