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We have been blessed to be able to sow much seed during the spring semester…summer break begins

02 Jun

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This will be the last blog for the spring semester. We will stay in China for the summer. Our plans: to welcome Eric, Wendy, Brinson, and Aiden to Shiyan, in late August where they will begin teaching…they will be just five hours northeast of Jingzhou, the closest we have lived to each other in a long time. We will also teach a full load in the fall to fulfill our contract through the end of December.

We will make decisions about 2013 as it approaches, but much will again depend on what He wants us to do…and if we are again able to raise sufficient financial support to take care of our stateside expenses. I am open to considering a teaching job in America, but know it will take a special situation for elders to consider someone who will be 62 years old and has been out of the country for the past two years….we will leave it to God.

We learned only a few days ago that Terry’s sister, Adona, and Mike (and Louise) are moving from Danville, California to Colorado Springs this September. We look forward to seeing snow there during our winter visit January-thru-February….and will also get to see Ward (her brother) and Beth.

Thank you for your prayers/support.

As I walk to class each morning around 7:45 a,m.,  hundreds of students are walking to-and-from the food stands on campus with their bowl of noodles or rise. I thought the other day “how do they do it, staying healthy in spite of eating the same thing day after day.” I laughed out loud when I realized I also eat the same things day by day:

  • For breakfast: I like variety so I mix cereals to get a good taste: Cheerios, Rice Krispies, and Raisin Bran with granola.
  • For lunch: dried lima beans or pinto beans with cole slaw, cornbread, and cheddar or hot pepper cheese for lunch…. also chicken vegetable soup, or chicken or pork with plenty of BBQ sauce every week
  • For supper: peanut butter/jelly, pimento cheese, or BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with chips or pretzels for supper (I’m getting hungry just thinking about all this food).

I am still at 175 pounds and a 32” waist and my three-month blood levels are in the 6.2 range, so “Gary’s Chinese diet” continues working 🙂

Terry eats the same 4-7 vegetables for lunch and dinner after eating oatmeal with fruit or raisins for breakfast. We also eat a good supply of fruit daily.

We are thankful we are finding most of these things locally.  With Sophia’s help, we are finding TJ’s vitamins and supplements in the school clinic for good prices, which also will keep us from using our ‘weight and space’ to get them back here from America.

We had cooler weather as we wind down the semester…it was in the low 60’s on May 23, with a high of only 71. It felt more like November than late May! We know it won’t last long, so are very grateful to God for this gift!

Several students competed in speech competition (all sophomores) and did very, very well. The ones I felt were first and second actually won those positions…found my scores were 3-4 points higher than the average winning marks. I gave a high of 95 to the winner (average was 93) and my low was 89 (her average 87). I appreciated some of their kind remarks directed to their teachers, especially one who said “all our teachers are disciplined, talented, energetic, and treat us just like their children.” 🙂

One of our junior students, who is the president of the student union, has been part of our weekly discussions for three semesters. He told TJ last week that  he had ‘fallen in love’ and was pretty excited to share this fact. I met her a few days later, and he just smiled at the event. I know how it feels to find ‘the love of your life’ as a junior in college 🙂

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, our three children and families had our annual family reunion in Florida, and it has caused me to miss my family a lot. We had a short moment recently to think about the joy we would have when we saw them while on break, and immediately realized that our break is January-February and not June-August. Oh, well.

Greetings from Terry:Yesterday, after class, Keven came over to use our oven to bake brownies from an American box mix he had bought in Wuhan. Later the same day, Kelly, the newlywed came over and I helped her make her first cake. We used a yellow cake recipe Gary found on line; no box mix.  After halving the recipe so it could fit into our little pan for our little oven I was surprised it turned out OK. At least it was edible. Hugo, her husband, came by as we were taking it out of the oven. He had had to work late and was disappointed he had missed the process of putting it together.

From what we understand from our students they do not learn to cook at home as young people. Their parents do everything for them (mothers and grandmothers mostly) saying the child’s responsibility is to study and get the highest grades possible. Then when they marry their mother/mother-in-law help them out for a while. When they have a baby their mother comes and helps out. Many, not all, young mothers leave their new baby with their mother for her to raise it while they go back to work. Even if they must work in another city they leave their baby with their mother. I am so thankful I was blessed to be able to raise and nurture my own children. I cherish the experience.

This year we have been blessed with more transitional weather than I remember having last year. Today we have a beautiful blue sky with white fluffy clouds and clean smelling air, such a joy. I also got to Skype with my Mother and sister which is a pleasure.

The giant cottonwood trees are beginning to shed their white fluff on the West campus. We went shopping at the student’s marketing booths set up near the front gate. I bought a couple of bracelets and a shy plant that immediately closes its leaves when you touch them. I hope I can keep it alive.

Tu Wenwen is an art or marketing student who is a regular visitor in one of my classes. She observes just to improve her spoken English. This week she presented me with nine artificial pink lilies she had made by herself. They are just beautiful. She said it was her first attempt at making them. They are made with delicate pink netting over silver wire with green plastic centers. I covered a plastic bottle for a vase and put them in the living room.

The local farmers have cut the yellow flowers to press for safflower oil. Now they are in the process of clearing their fields of the remaining green plants. Pulling, collecting and discarding the remaining plants is to time and energy consuming so they just burn it off. This produces a thick smoke that makes the local  air quality very poor. It is the age old question of time and money or health. During these days we opt to stay in our apartment.

I finished reading The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Henry Ketcham. It was well written. The way he explained why and how things were happening at that time makes it very interesting. I think I will be able to remember more of it now.

Thursday, after listening to and grading fifty-four speeches in my two classes, we went to the Chinese English Speech Competition that afternoon where Gary was one of the judges. They did the Chinese speeches first, which we could not understand. I counted twenty three words I recognized. Then the English speeches presented by our students. They were so very good. We were proud and thankful for them. We were there from 2:00 to 6:15. By the time we got home my brain was soooo tired of concentrating that I had a head ache and went to bed early.

Friday night twelve came for Movie Night in our apartment. We showed Finding Nemo. We all really enjoyed it. I think only one had seen it before.

Twelve people came for Sunday morning meeting on May 27. It was great. We always look forward to our time together. Everyone is getting comfortable sharing their requests and needs. It is really good fellowship. — Love, Terry

When we began work in Jingzhou, we had to visit the local police station and register to work, showing our passport and work permit. Apparently the standards have not been followed in Beijing, and there is now ‘a 100-day crackdown’ to to combat what’s become known as the “three illegals”. This refers to foreigners who have entered illegally, overstayed their visa or been employed without obtaining a work permit.

Citizens of the ROK, the US, Canada, Russia and Japan were the top five nationalities involved in “three illegal” cases in 2011, according to the exit-entry administration of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

More than 20,000 “three illegal” foreigners were dealt with nationwide last year.

We will be visiting Beijing August 13-17 to attend a retreat, to be held in one of the hotels, sponsored by InterMission.

InterMission host us for four nights as a time to get together with others working in a cross cultural setting. The cost is free…we pay our own transportation to the school and pay for the meals we will be eating out.  We plan to take the Z-12 train up there and an airplane home. The Z-12 train leaves at 9 pm and arrives around 6:30 am and provides a berth for sleeping…we’ll be in close quarters but it will allow us to experience a new area and interesting way of travel. InterMission will pay for the cost of the conference, simple breakfast, and some really special treats. (We will send a full report in our first newsletter of the fall semester.)

Other China News: Shanghai plans to build 45 office buildings in its bustling financial district of Lujiazui in five years, in a bid to accommodate clustering financial services companies. By the end of April this year, there were 207 office buildings in Lujiazui in city’s Pudong New Area, with a construction area totaling more than 10 million square meters, according to figures from the Administrative Committee of the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone.

The new plan, part of Shanghai’s ambition to be a global financial hub by 2020, comes after office buildings in Lujiazui were nearly full as financial institutions flocked to the area. Ninety-four percent was rented out in 2011. By the end of 2016, Lujiazui is expected to be home to more than 900 financial service companies, up from 630 in 2011.

Residents of Guangdong’s provincial capital Guangzhou are frustrated by high prices, never-ending workdays, overcrowded public transportation and traffic jams, and some of them have an idea of what to do about it – sing.

Young members of the “complaints chorus” performed at six of the city’s famous sites on May 20, including Canton Tower, Chen Clan Academy and Shamian Island.

The 15 singers, most of whom are college students, donned white T-shirts and sunglasses and clutched yellow file folders. They caught the attention of passersby.

While their vocals weren’t professional, the chorus’ appeal comes from its humorous and thought-provoking lyrics about issues nearly all residents can relate to.

Such lines include: “The leather shoe I threw away became a pill capsule in a jiffy.” The words express food and medicine safety concerns that arose after a China Central Television expose revealed some producers were illegally making medicine capsules with industrial gelatin extracted from leather waste.

He Zhirong and his family were so intrigued when they chanced upon the group that the 44-year-old man and his wife took a lyrics sheet and sang along.

“I have complaints about many issues they discuss, but I don’t want to address them in violent ways, like protests, rallies or marches,” the Guangzhou native says. “I’m grateful the choir expresses many Guangzhou residents’ concerns. And it’s great that these creative young people worked out such an interesting and mild way for me to speak my mind.”

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Jingzhou

 

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