Terry will share the great news from the doctor, but she received a very good report. One of her best students, Stella, accompanied her on the four-hour bus trip to Xiangyang. Stella was so excited to be able to go with her, and they had a great time…we feel certain that she will be one of those special learners on our campus next semester.
We attended the wedding reception of Hugo and Kelly, two of the teachers we have spent many hours with in good discussions. They were married in their hometown three weeks earlier, but had a reception locally for their colleagues and other school officials. I was asked to make a few comments, and afterward had another chance to visit with the President of our university, through a translator.
When he found out we would be celebrating our 41st wedding university July 2, he made it clear, through Dean Catherine, that he wanted to host a celebration of the event “because we view our faculty as part of family, and you are part of family.” They plan to invite foreign teachers from the University to be part and make it a “blend of cultures between the East and West.” We tried to discourage it…we do not like being in the spotlight.
As the temperature hits over 92 degrees regularly, we have noticed that our electricity has not gone out for a long time, and we’ve had water, too. In the past, we have lost it for 5-6 hours at a time. The internet has lost its connection, occasionally, though. These are common occurrences that seemed to have improved in 2012. Our two floor fans used in the air-conditioned rooms to push cool air into the rest of the apartment has also helped to keep the entire living space comfortable, around 78-79 degrees throughout.
I love being a father…three of the happiest days of my life when Tonia, Eric, and Gregory were born. I was in the delivery room coaching TJ for all three. Tonia really knew what I needed this summer…an Amazon gift card to buy a book! I went shopping online and found 11 books that deserved a free sample, and took some of the pressure off of having to make a decision. I settled on Ron Santo A Perfect 10 and When Theo Met Tom…a Cubs Story…and have $4 credit waiting for another choice.
I got several texts from students on Father’s Day. One said “…to a good father and our Great teacher.” I liked that one!
On the second day of my Training Class, two of the groups were not prepared to present the assignment, and I used some of the eight minutes to show them the video honoring my dad my brother, Joel, put together last year and posted on Facebook. When it ended, some of the 40 students clapped.
Our fourth-floor neighbor, Max, and his wife have a new baby girl, and we are amazed that we so rarely hear her cry, though she sleeps in the room “just inches away from our bedroom.” Sometimes the concrete walls are paper-thin and sometimes they aren’t….go figure.
We have not been ‘happy campers’ this summer, since we first saw a rat around the first-floor steps of our building. The steps are across from the open garbage bin, and though we are glad it’s the first time we’ve experienced one in spite of garbage regularly being thrown onto the ground, we do NOT like it!
I finished my classes officially on June 21, due to a weeklong training class with the English-only 5101 group of 40 students. They are among my best students and I will miss seeing them each week. Though we have had some great ‘connections’ with them for three semesters, few in the group has been part of regular studies of Important Things, which is a disappointment. I thought I might have two semesters of a video listening class, but found out just this week that I would only teach sophomore Oral English in the fall (I hope they change their mind).
I have enjoyed using much more variety with the training class, since it is a multi-media room. As they began gathering at 7:50 a.m. I played Michael W. Smith videos with lyrics for their enjoyment. 🙂
Terry and I were asked to join some of the students at volleyball. We played for about 75 minutes (see next page) and thoroughly enjoyed it. There were eight players on the court next to us who were re-a-l-l-y good. I also saw one of my students playing ping pong and we scheduled a time to play. His English name is Splendid, and my poor play two nights later made him look splendid. A friend came and the two of them were hitting every corner, with lots of spin, and I was glad to have another appointment after 40 minutes.
Greetings from Terry: I have now completed my third trip to see the doctor in Xiangyan regarding Vitiligo. It was a pleasant and successful trip. Stella, one of my freshmen students, went with me this time. She did a great job as interpreter and since she is energetic, interesting and shares many of my interests we thoroughly enjoyed the visit going and coming. The doctor expects the pigment to return but he said it will probably take a full two years of treatment. However, he said the color in my fingertips will probably not return. That is OK with me. I am just thankful they have stopped forming.
Every day now I rejoice that I am free of setting a morning alarm and of a set schedule, free to choose my activities at will.
With the summer temperatures many of the girls are wearing light summer dresses. I see a lot of styles from the past that are very feminine and becoming: drop waist, fitted bodice, puff sleeves, balloon skirts, buttons and bows. Since I must now wear an ankle support, I wear nice slacks/pants and tops all of the time but I really miss “girl clothes”.
We really enjoyed the fellowship meal we had after Sunday morning meeting. Two new people came for the first time. “He” helped everything go smoothly and the food to their liking. One brought smashed potatoes she learned how to make while in America. One brought a large cluster of litchi fruit and gardenias. Another brought several white lilies. Our apartment smells so pretty because of the flowers.
It is our first time to see or try litchi. They grow on trees in clusters, a touch smaller than ping pong balls. You peel the thin, dry skin and eat the translucent white juicy fruit around a dark smooth seed. It is very good. To me it tastes like a sweet peeled grape with just a hint of grapefruit.
Correction: Litchi do not grow in a cluster. I discovered in the bunch of litchi that was given to us that the stems were woven together by a ribbon. Also the seed looks like an acorn without the cap.
The other afternoon we played volleyball with some of our students. It was fun. Gary is looking forward to playing ping pong with one of his students.
Have I mentioned how much I really like not having to hurry? That is one reason summer break is so great. Time to clean the way it needs to be cleaned, time to cook the food and experiment with new ingredients and seasonings, time to think and wonder and meditate on things that need meditation, time to look for answers to my questions, time to correspond with friends (taking time to look up the words so I don’t embarrass myself by misspelling them) time to give thanks, praise, make requests, petitions and get advice, more time for leisure communication and recreation with Gary. And yes I know, when the next semester comes close I will be sooo ready for it to start. That is good also.
This week we were able to have fresh green beans, ripe tomatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy with our chicken. Mmm delicious, just like an American home. The gravy packet was left from the great Thanksgiving box that was sent to us.
I have again realized that time is an un-renewable resource. We must use it wisely.
I have finished reading George Washington by William Roscoe Thayer. It was very good. And I ask myself again, “Why haven’t I read this before?” — Terry
China News: President outlines model of relations between world’s major powers — Differences with China must be properly handled by the United States as both countries strive to forge a new type of advantageous relationship between big powers, President Hu Jintao said on Tuesday.
Analysts said that Hu is addressing the key to a stable and beneficial relationship, especially ahead of November’s US presidential election. Hu put forward a proposal outlining a new model of great-power relations, a concept he initiated in a speech during the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue held in May in Beijing.
Hu said on Tuesday that both countries should maintain high-level strategic communication, manage differences and keep any potential interference at bay. He said he hoped that the US will adopt a positive and pragmatic approach, respect China’s interests and prevent domestic politics from disturbing ties.
US President Barack Obama agreed with Hu on developing the next phase of the relationship. The US is ready to work with China to cultivate a new model of great-power relations to effectively tackle global challenges, Obama said. A prosperous and stable China is in the interests of the US and the world, just as a prosperous and growing US benefits China and the world, he said.
The leaders met during the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, their second meeting this year and the 12th in three years. Both leaders commented positively on ties, analysts said, but emphasized that more needs to be done to enhance trust.
The meeting set a positive tone, Jia Xiudong, a senior researcher on international affairs at the China Institute of International Studies, said. “The US is unwilling to see any major setback in ties ahead of the presidential election, but the possibility remains that Obama will take trade measures as he faces domestic pressure,” Jia said.
The Asia-Pacific region, more than any other area, is where China and the US have the most converging interests, and “benign interaction between the countries is the key”, he said. Philip Levy, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told China Daily that the G20 provides a regular opportunity for US and Chinese leaders to work through mutual concerns.
“It does so with somewhat less pressure than a state visit and it reminds the leaders that US and Chinese actions often have repercussions for the rest of the world. Such meetings always result in claims of success, but sometimes those claims can be merited, thereby justifying the work that goes into preparing summits,” Levy said.
Bilateral trade Hu said on Tuesday that as China and the US are the world’s two largest economies, maintaining robust trade relations is of great significance. Trade between China and the US, each the second-largest trade partner of the other, reached $446.6 billion last year. Official figures from China also show that US companies invested more than $67.6 billion in China by the end of 2011, while Chinese companies invested $6 billion in non-finance sectors in the US.
China is boosting domestic demand and has full confidence in sustaining the strong momentum of its economic growth, Hu said. Both countries should boost economic cooperation and increase trade, Hu said.