Enjoyed visit with Eric/family; ‘I want to tell you…thank you for giving me courage and smile…we all respect you because you’re very kind, good person’

05 Oct

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We had an eight-day National Day holiday and got to spend five days with Eric, Wendy, Brinson, and Aiden in Shiyan. The five-hour bus was no fun, but well worth the effort to see where they live and work. It is a beautiful area and much newer (and cleaner) than our ancient city.

I especially enjoyed time with Brinson and Aiden. We played ping pong and had several walks, though they were on their skates. Met some really nice students…and, by the way, would like to take Eric/Wendy’s kitchen features and shower pressure back to Jingzhou.

It was a ‘smoky’ China enroute, since farmers were in the fields burning off the dried remains of their summer. Most every field had both a man and woman working, mainly with hand instruments, though I did see three tractors. It brought to mind my hardworking granddaddy; I do not ever remember driving up to his farm and not seeing him in the field working, unless it just was not the time or season.

We have noticed more night noise in the apartment…things dropped to the floor and moving of furniture…we wonder why 2 am is the best time to move things around in your room? Our bed felt warm and comfortable after our travel to Shiyan…good to go and good to return home.

One of my students sent me the following email: “l want to tell you I thank you for giving me courage and smile…   we all respect you because you are a very kind, good person. I will not quit learning English because I want to communicate with you like wangfangguo…..fighting.”

We have enjoyed more lunch times with some selected students. They appreciate the time and we enjoy delicious food, and have found our front-gate restaurants remodeled, which is nice for all. Even though the food is a little more expensive, it is well worth it.

Sophia was with us again on Sunday, with her baby girl (see photo below) a new visitor to our group…it was great seeing both of them again, after a six-week ‘recovery.’

Greetings from Terry: I have finished reading The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke.

On Tuesday, September 18, an air raid siren sounded for five to seven minutes. Because of where we live, the times we live in, plus the fact that I lived in Phoenix, AZ during the Cuban Missile crisis and remember the regular air raid drills at school during that period, it seemed like a “long” five minutes. I made immediate “requests up”, told myself it was probably nothing and sent a text to Dean Catherine and Keven for an explanation. Sometimes when things are happening on campus people forget that we cannot read the signs or understand the announcements on the loud speaker.

So I was a little antsy until I heard from Catherine and Keven a couple hours later. They told me, “On September 18th  in 1937 Japan invaded NE China illegally. The siren sounds on this date to remind us of the shame.”

The most unique English names chosen by my students this semester are Just-blank, Luckily, Milk, Sheikh (pronounced Shake, for a female), Cry rain, Zero, Dream. I was pleasantly surprised when a student ended her introduction by asking if I knew “Shang Di” (the Chinese name of our Father). I told her I did and she said she did too. I look forward to getting to know her.

I got to tell Brinson and Aiden bed time stories by Skype tonight.

I have finished reading Think and Be Happy: 365 Empowering Thoughts to Lift Your Spirit by Shadonna Richards, R.N.

I have also finished reading through my favorite book again. It is always refreshing, challenging and productive.

It was great to spend time with Eric’s family and get to see the Pritchards again. Such valuable time. We celebrated everyone’s birthday all at the same time with a big cake. Brinson and Aiden are learning to cook. On our last morning Hannah showed us how to make flour tortillas.

We returned on Thursday and on Friday Gary and I walked to the grocery store and then to the back gate market to replenish our supplies in the drizzling rain. It was refreshing and not very crowded. It is good to have a few days to rest from the trip and get ready for classes again. — Love, Terry.

China News: Lonely hearts embrace holiday romance —- Dating tours – excursions that offer a chance for romance – are growing in popularity among China’s legion of unmarried and overworked office employees.

Matchmaking agencies and online travel firms already offer a range of packages, lasting from a day up to a week.

“Unlike usual blind dates, the tour gave us more time to get to know each other,” the 25-year-old marketing manager said. “When he stopped to hold my hand and help me cross a river during the trip, my heart beat faster.”

Judging by an ongoing online poll by Sohu, a popular news website, and Traveler magazine, there is no shortage of demand. More than half of respondents so far said they would consider going on a dating tour.

“Traveling as a way of dating is easier for us singles, as it allows us to stay natural and relaxed,” Yu Weiliang, 35, a Shanghai marketing manager who recently went on a tour, told China Daily. “Over several days we can at least become good friends, even if we don’t begin a relationship.”

Qianyuan, a matchmaking website based in Beijing, runs one-day trips for up to 70 people to attractions in the capital’s rural suburbs. Activities include games specially designed to break the ice.

According to Han Guang, a tour guide for three years, the boom in demand has resulted in the frequency of the trips rising this year from once a month to weekly.

Other companies are witnessing similar trends. Ctrip, a major online travel agency, this year organized tours to ancient towns and mountains near Shanghai for Qixi, often referred to as Chinese Valentine’s Day, on Aug 23. Participants had to be single and aged 18 to 32.

“The project was so popular, far beyond our expectations,” said Peng Liang, a public relations manager at Ctrip. “We immediately planned similar projects for Mid-Autumn Festival and the Golden Week holiday in Xiamen.”

Zhenai, a matchmaking website with 45 million members, runs dating tours for 20 to 30 people at a time. Chief Executive Li Song credited the relaxed nature of the trips as contributing to their rising popularity.

“Far away from the fast pace of city life, and closer to nature, I think single men and women find it easier to open their hearts and find love,” he said.

Trouble in paradise? Although dating tours have been getting the thumbs-up from young people, organizers admit there are problems, such as the imbalance in the male-female ratio and verification of personal information.

“The number of women (on the tours) is usually more than double that of men,” said Peng at Ctrip. “It’s hard for us to refuse our female clients.” Qianyuan tour guide Han said he had the same issue. “I think it’s because women have less economic pressure to prepare for a marriage,” Han said.

Chen Ye, 24, said she is interested in going on a blind date tour, but raised some concerns about security.

“I’d only choose one organized by a matchmaking website,” said the accountant from Shanghai. Chen said she was interested in Jiayuan, a popular online dating service that limits numbers to 20 and allows members to review personal profiles of other participants before a tour.

“Having that kind of transparency helps assure me that the trip will be safe,” she said.

Websites such as Zhenai usually have verification systems and members are required to register with detailed information, such as their residency permits and ID numbers.

However, Ctrip and other online travel agencies often have difficulty verifying private information from clients.

“As a company providing travel services, we have no right to inquire into the privacy of our clients,” Peng said. “But we still guarantee a professional level of service.”

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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Jingzhou


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