I have found myself quite emotional as the day neared for their arrival..I told Terry I may be crying a lot this weekend. Why? I am not sure. They survived the long trip, but have had plenty of practice with travel to Australia, Zambia, etc., in their past.
It is so-o-o-o wonderful to be able to call them on a cellular phone regularly! Their classes do not begin until September 3….I am going to refrain from any news from their work…will leave that to them…initial ‘family celebration’ pictures do not count :-).
We learned the day before classes began that one of our students, Yang Huan, drowned during the summer (July 28) saving a child she was tutoring. She did not go home for the summer, choosing to tutor several middle school-age children. The electricity where they were studying was off, so they went outside to conduct class. They were walking along a lake, when one of the students fell in. It was apparently very deep, Sea (her English name) could not swim, and did not survive, though the young student was saved.
I began each of my classes the first week showing her picture with Terry in our apartment on the screen and telling her story, so they will know of this hero from their university. Her best friend and bunk-mate came by on the weekend for a long talk. She is handling the loss well, and had lots of good memories of their time together. Sea was a quiet, sweet young lady…always went last when it was time to give speeches in the two semesters I had her…a very good student…had visited our apartment 2-3 during the past 1 1/2 years. When her close friend was telling some of the stories, I remembered that she was ‘next to last’ on speech day, waiting behind with Sea.
I offered to meet with her 45+ classmates this week to process the events, but since many had heard the news during August, they seemed to be doing alright…two came by for a few minutes the first of the week.
My seven Oral English classes have begun…355+ students…Terry begins her classes in the fourth week…I was not ready just a week ago but was ‘fired up and ready to go’ when the time came. The students all had Terry the past two semesters, so I have met most of them, and they certainly know about me. We will put pictures of the classes on other pages of this newsletter, but they are eager and ready to go to work…some have a lot to learn, and they are nervous with a new teacher. Most of them spoke little or no English over the summer break, so they “have some catching up to do.”
Looks like our weekends will be very busy…we are thrilled with five different groups available to discuss Important Things. Some longtime students here on Friday night (7 pm) and two groups of 12-15 on Saturday night (6:30 and 8 pm)…teachers here on Saturday morning and Assembly on Sunday morning, both at 10 am. In our older student’s class and with the teachers we discussed the idea of a “Fresh Start” as we begin the new semester, and applied lessons from Psalm 103.
We also had a teacher who is a very good friend choose to study with us this week, after not showing interest during the past three semesters. 🙂
With assistance from both Gregory and Eric, we are now able to watch ESPN in China! Got to watch much of the Tennessee game and hopeful for much more. We’ve also found some foods I enjoy in convenient locations this summer…do not want to gain weight but glad to have more variety.
Our air conditioner finally died! It took three trips by the repairman before the Personnel Office decided it was not going to work again…and three days for the replacement to be approved…but now have a quiet unit in both bedrooms that more than adequately cool/heat our apartment…will be nice to keep the floor unit in the closet a few extra days.
Greetings from Terry: While in Beijing I saw a certain young man on our campus whose eyes reminded me so much of our son, Gregory. After seeing him several times I stopped and talked to him. He was from California and very nice. I told him he was just good to look at because he reminded me of my son. Come to think of it, our Father enjoys looking at us when we look like His son.
In our last report there was not time to enter my impressions of our return trip to Jinzhou so here goes. A Chinese brother accompanied us to the Beijing West Train station. It was a HUGE multi-tiered building with rivers of humanity everywhere. They had good signage and announcements in English as well as Chinese which helped us get to the correct waiting area. We had about three hours to wait.
The waiting area was very large with about half as many chairs as there were people. Therefore many people were sitting on their suitcases. Some had spread newspaper or blankets on the floor for their family to sit on. When I first walked in and saw the sprawling mass of people I thought of the railroad yard scene in Gone With The Wind.
When it was time for us to pass through the gate and find the correct platform, we walked a long way, climbed stairs, descended stairs then walked another good distance. Very much like what we found when we took the subway to the station a few hours before. It made us very grateful we had packed light, since no one checked luggage. You just carry it with you.
We had no problem finding our car, compartment and lower berths. Two Chinese men were in the two upper berths. Neither spoke English. It was great to stretch out on the clean beds, each furnished with a pillow and comforter. We pulled out right on schedule at 8:53PM. I liked the gentle motion, sounds and lights flashing by. It was just a little startling at first when we would pass another fast train going in the opposite direction. The “swoosh” and lights were so close they seemed to be just inches away. All in all it was a very pleasant trip.
A returning student brought us some dried day lily stems that her Grandmother had prepared for us. A few days later we had her come over, cooked them for us and eat lunch with us. She boiled them with a little lean pork, green onions, salt, egg, a touch of soy sauce and a bit of chicken broth. They were good.
I finished reading How to live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett.
Another returning student came over and one of the first things she said to me was, “You look healthier, I think you have gained weight.” Ha Ha, must be that good American food in Beijing. Queenie’s father will be going to the USA for a year in January so we had them over for lunch to experience a common American meal that he could easily fix for himself while there; beef in Lipton onion soup, potatoes and carrots and banana bread for dessert. Queenie said he is a good cook. I also served the rest of the lilies and pork. — Love, Terry