Saturday, December 27, 2008

Final Examinations‏

Dear Ones,
I have had a very special week, giving final examinations!
I teach Oral English and therefore, the finals involved the students talking. I must say that I was VERY impressed with them........ They had some very touching, heartfelt things to say. They were given a list to 10 different subjects and they had to draw a card to determine which subject their group would discuss. It seemed that the subjects they mostly chose were: 1. Talk about your mother and father or 2. Tell about the first day you came to the University or 3. Talk about the person who has influenced you the most and why.
When they talk about their parents, it is with much emotion. Some of the parents did not have time for their children when the children were young and grandparents had a big part in their rearing. Some parents who are Doctors were never home, but the children are taught that those parents were doing their duty to the "Party". Some parents are cruel but still have their childrens love and respect! Some of the students really worry about their parents who smoke or who work too hard. The students whose parents are farmers are so concerned about the hard work their parents do for them. These students want to be famous Doctors so their parents will never have to work again. I was very touched with the comments I heard. They ALL wish they had a brother or a sister. They all commented on the fact that they were always so lonesome as a small child and wish they had someone to share thoughts and fun with.
The comments about the first day at the University were interesting to me. Many of them came to the University all alone. Some traveled up to 24 hours on a bus or train. One boy boarded the bus and paid the fare, only to be told by the bus driver, to get off the bus because he had too much luggage! And, to add insult to injury, the bus driver kept the fare. This same boy was on the next bus for 14 hours and arrived in Qingdao at 11:00 p.m. and had to stay in a hotel because the dorms were locked for the night.... Every one of the students that told about their first day at the University, told about leaving their Mother. They told about looking at their Mothers face as they left her. It was very emotional. An interesting thing was, they did not want their Mother to see the tears in their eyes!
Many Fathers brought their children and left the Mother at home. One student told me that she was excited to go home to help her Mother sell the produce from their crops. They are so proud of their parents and speak so lovingly of them. One boy said that his Father had very dark skin, from working outside in the fields. One boy just about broke my heart when he said that his Father does not like him, but he is still a good Father. He said that his Mother loves him very much and thinks that he will be a good Doctor.
It was very interesting to hear about the people who had influenced each of them. Many chose parents, friends and one of them even chose me. Not to boast, but my "Dart" told me that he would never forget me. He told me that I had made him think positive about himself and that really was a touching moment for me. As he finished talking, the girl standing next to him had tears in her eyes, as did I. I must say that it was a very humbling experience for me.
This Christmas was a most unusual one for us. We both taught on Christmas day and it didn't seem much like the Christmas' we are used to celebrating. We spent the late afternoon with other BYU teachers and had a big turkey dinner and sang Christmas carols. But, we missed our dear family and all the traditional things that make Christmas for us. But Christmas is really what is in your heart. That spirit of giving and of loving is what it is really all about.
I cannot tell you how much it meant to us, knowing all of you would be together on Christmas. It is our prayer that this will be a Christmas you will always remember and cherish as one of the best ones for you and your family. We know we will never forget our Christmas in China.
We love you all so very much and you are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. We want only the best that life has to offer for you and your families. Please know how much we miss you. You have all been in our thoughts these last few weeks. You all know the true meaning of Christmas and how to celebrate the occasion. It is our prayer that you will always think of others at this time of year and we know that you do. Thank you for representing us and doing as we would want you to do in our absence. We love you all so very much.
Merry Christmas...
Mom and Dad

What a ride - what a day!!!‏

Dear Family,
I haven't written in too long, but we have been so busy getting ready for final examinations that we have hardly had time to eat....
Last Sunday was the Christmas program in our little Branch and it was wonderful - the Spirit was unbelievable! But - Sunday morning, we woke up to snow! Snow in Qingdao is most unusual, the last time it snowed here was 7 years ago!!!!
Rog had to go to Church early and I did not notice the snow until about 10 minutes before time to go catch the bus. We decided that it would be a perfect day to call a taxi, so we went to the lobby to tell the doorman to call a taxi. By the way, the doorman does not speak a word of English, as I do not speak Chinese! I telephoned a student and had her ask him to call a taxi for us. He said that a taxi would NOT climb up the hill to our building in the snow... I must say that we DO NOT live on a hill BUT, everything goes crazy here with a little snow.
So, we ladies trudged down the "hill" to try to get a taxi. We had to go in two taxi's, as there were six of us. The first three of us got to the meeting with no problem, but the second three were "dumped" by their taxi driver - he refused to take them as far as the meeting house. They had to try to board a bus. To make a long story short, they were late for the meeting and had been given the "run around". They arrived all wet, late and frustrated.
After the beautiful Christmas meeting, we had a baptism. It was a sixteen year old Korean girl - Stella. It was very touching and the Spirit was there in abundance. However, it was still snowing....
After the baptism, we had a big lunch - leftover Korean food from the Christmas party the day before. It was wonderful. We have learned to love these Korean Saints and their children. They feel just like family to all of us and we love them so very much. And we are SO fortunate to have the two five month old babies.
They let me kiss them and they are such happy, beautiful, lovable little souls. I really miss not having my little grandchildren to hug and kiss and these little people have filled a big gap in my life. Even little "Rosie" came and sat on my lap and let me love her. She is a doll - about four years old and so darling. I will try to send a picture of her later.
As the day progressed, we decided that we needed to get home, as it was still snowing and starting to get dark outside. The wind was blowing and it was SO cold. I really thought that I was going to freeze to death. We walked to the bus stop and tried to get a cab - there were no cabs running - they were all afraid to get out and drive in that snow!!! I want to add that there are no snow tires in China! NO snow plows, not one snow shovel and no salt to melt the snow and ice...
We stood at that bus stop, with the snow blowing the coldest wind I have ever felt, and waited for a bus for about 15 minutes! I just knew that I was going to freeze to death...... But I didn't! When the bus finally came, it was packed with a mass of humanity. The windows were all frozen over and it was bitter cold in the bus. Of course, the buses have NO defrosters and NO HEAT.......A "ticket lady" kept wiping the front windshield off and every time we came to a traffic light, the driver wiped the window off. Of course, there are also NO window scrapers either.... And, we were freezing .
We drove very slowly and as we turned to get to the University, there was a traffic jam ahead. . . The bus ahead of us was sliding all over the road and "fish tailing" everywhere.
BUT, we did make it to the bus stop! The trip home from church that usually takes us 30-45 minutes, took us 2 and 1/2 hours!!!!!!
And after we got off the bus, we had to walk up the "hill" to our apartment in the snow. Of course, I have no snow shoes and I had on a skirt and slippery shoes and nylons. Rog had on dress shoes and he was sliding all over the sidewalk as well. We walked into the apartment looking just like wet rats and freezing cold. WHAT A DAY AND WHAT A BUS RIDE......
But, we have a beautiful little Christmas tree in our humble little abode, with presents under it. Our dear, sweet Lesa Noel has the true spirit of Christmas and sent us the "Twelve Days of Christmas" with gifts to unwrap daily until Christmas. What fun we have had, getting up every morning and unwrapping a gift!!!
Such fun for us. Thank you Lesa..
I will go for now - I have more to write in another email later.
Much Love,

Sweet Thank You's From Students

Dear Mrs. Halladay,
It's my honor to be your student. You are always so kind that I couldn't help loving you. The days together with you is full of happiness. On you I have seen the beauty of humanity. Your love for life, your sympathy for those who are in trouble touched me so much. Thank you!
Love you for ever!
From - Jane

Dear Mrs Halladay,
How fast time flies!I am reluctant to accept that the woderful term shared with you is going to finish.I am grateful to your dedication on us. I can never forget your kindness,perfect teaching skill and the visitng to your dormitory.What's more, I carry the lucky coin not only in my pocket but also in my heart. With all good wishes for a brilliant and happy Christmas season. Hope things are going all right with you. I'm looking forward to enjoying your class next term.
yours sincerely,

I am very glad to hear from you!
i love you, and we all love you!
hoping you can teach us next term!
happy new year!

Dear Mrs. halladay, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I'm very excited to receive your e-mail. I ever sent you a short message to say 'thank you 'on the thanksgiving day .Maybe you had shut down your mobile phone .But as I can communicate to you through the e-mail ,I won't worry ahout not getting in touch with you. In my mind ,you are a very kind teacher.You always hug with us and I felt warm from nose to toe! And then, I learn many American cultures.Thank you very much! Have a good holiday!Best wishes for you ! Much love , your student,Dick.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What a week!!!!!‏

Dear Ones:
WOW!!!!! What a week. I know it has been a long time since I wrote and I am sorry for the delay.
This past week was a very busy one. We have been preparing for our final examinations and telling the Chinese students about Christmas. Christmas is a hard subject, because we cannot tell them the real reason we celebrate Christmas. However, we sure have had fun with a cheesy old Santa Claus suit left by former BYU teachers....I have taken it to my classes and chose a boy in each class to wear it during the class - they love it. The Chinese love to dress up as much as I do....I have taught all my classes to sing "Jingle Bells" and they love singing. I even had one class that realized they would not get a Christmas lesson because of final examinations, arrange for a classroom and had me come and teach the Christmas lesson to them!!!! They were so cute and excited to learn of Christmas. I could just feel the excitement. I am having so much fun with these delightful people.
This week started with me making a breakfast of French Toast for four of my students - Kaye, Dawn, Paula and Ellen. They were so hungry, they finished off an entire loaf of bread.... I wonder how such small girls can eat so much food. They were so excited to see our "Smells of Christmas" book and they read it twice and loved it.
On Monday afternoon, Jim, one of my class monitors, stopped by and ask questions about how to be a better English speaking Doctor. He realizes that he needs to be much more aggressive and he wanted to know how to do that.... All these students want to be Americanized but I fear they will be so. If they do become Americanized, they will loose that Chinese finesse and charm. How do I tell them that? They are wonderful just as they are!
Tonight we went over to Ocean University and met with the Salmons, and the Taylors and had dinner and then went to another great concert. What a wonderful night full of beautiful music.
This season is such an emotional time for me - I am so homesick. I hear that Cedar City has alot of snow and I just love the snow, especially at Christmas time. I know that I will survive though. Sweet Lesa has sent us "Twelve Days of Christmas" gifts. We are to open a present every day until Christmas. She went to alot of trouble and expense to make our Christmas a merry one this year and we sure appreciate her efforts. She is one girl that knows what the true spirit of Christmas is. Thank you Lesa Noel.
Lesa was born on December 21 and she has always been a special girl who loves Christmas. I remember the morning she was born, and looking out the hospital window, at the snow falling. I had a new Christmas "baby doll" that Christmas, with a curl on top of her head!!!! She has always brought such joy to Rog and I and we have always been so proud of her. Thank you Lesa and Darren for making our Christmas so joyous and unforgettable this year. Your efforts are so appreciated!!!
We are supposed to have more real cold weather for the next few days and we hear that there may even be snow on Sunday!
It is late and I am so tired tonight, so I will close for now.
Much Love, Mom

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Additional China‏

Dear Ones,
I was talking to a friend about China and I remembered a couple of things that I definitely want to include in my notes. These are things that tell alot about the Chinese people and the culture. That is why I am continuing for today. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Monday night when we went to the market, as we were running to catch the bus I saw a touching sight that I don't want to forget about China.... I saw a Grandfather tenderly carrying a little boy in his arms and running with his daughter, to catch a bus. There were 3 generations: the Grandfather, his daughter and little grandson. There are many buses to stop at that stop and many people to catch buses. We always have to wait - it seems our bus #202 - is always the last bus to arrive, therefore, we watch many scenes. The Grandfather handed the little boy to the young mother and the mother and child boarded their bus. The Grandfather stood on the sidewalk and watched to see if the two were able to get a seat, as they boarded. He paced back and forth on the sidewalk, watching and trying to catch the little boys eye. I watched the entire scene and I never took my eyes off the Grandfather. I knew the exact minute he caught the little boys eye. It was a look of relief, BUT the the look of love on that Grandfathers face was something I can relate to. I know that look he had on his face - I have had that look and felt the same way he must have felt, as I watch my Grandchildren. It is a Universal feeling shared by all Grandparents, whether we live in the USA, China, Mexico or anywhere in the world. It is called unconditional love. I thought of my own grandchildren and how very much I love all of them and miss all of them - especially at this holiday season. You mean the world to Grandpa and I and you are the most important thing in our lives.

Last night I had a unexpected telephone call from one of my students. She was so excited to speak to me and she said that she had a secret she wanted to share with me. She was giddy with excitement to share. She explained that I am like a Grandmother to her, but she cannot share her secret with her Grandmother because her family would not be happy with the secret. ??????? She is in love..... It is not something that is encouraged, because these students are not supposed to fall in love or even notice the opposite sex until they are graduated and have a job - male or female. Can you remember the first time you fell in love? She can tell NO ONE, including roommates, because it is taboo. She was so happy and elated that she could share the secret with me and I would not tell anyone... You know, it is funny, I had noticed that they were flirting with each other in my class last week and I actually thought to myself, "I believe those two have "eyes" for each other". I was right!!! Sophie and Roger. She promised she would call me again and report to me and we hung up. I thought about her all evening. How sad, she has no one to share her happiness, but me...

I know why these special Chinese people do not have the fulness of the gospel. I have finally figured it out ! ! ! ! ! !
They are so innocent and pure - guarded by the Communists, therefore Satan has overlooked them. Unspotted in their innocence and love..
Just my theory.
I know that someday, these special students I have taught,will hear the gospel and realize that I am a member. I will do everything in my power to exemplify the Father, in all I say and do, without saying or doing anything that is against BYU China Teachers policy.
How I love them and I know that I knew many of them, before I came to this earth. How blessed I am to live among them and have the privilege of knowing and loving them in this estate. This is why I came to China - no doubt in my mind.

I love you all so very much.

China Times‏

Dear Family:
Another week has passed and we are still hanging in here. It has been a fast, uneventful week. We are getting ready for our "finals" and it is taking alot of our time and effort. We think we have it figured out. But you never know!!!!

I don't think that I have EVER been so cold, in my life. Thursday morning, as we started to school I was sure my face would freeze off....The winds blowing in from Siberia are treacherous. And when I bundle up for school and scurry to class, I see many of the students with just a sweater and flimsy jacket on to keep them warm. They all seem to have freezing, cold hands when I take their hands and greet them. I ask one girl if she had gloves, and she said, "no, but I have pockets!" If I were a millionaire, I would see that every student had a good warm coat, gloves and a scarf. It is no wonder that so many of them are sick and have a continual cold. . . .
Wednesday, we had to go downtown to add money to our bus passes and to get computer supplies. As we walked to closer to the big store, there were an abundance of people begging for handouts. I don't like to look at the beggars, I cannot resist them. I also know that the Chinese people are very proud, and to ask a stranger, especially an American, for a handout, goes against their culture. As we walked in to the store, Rog noticed a young mother with a baby - I did not see her. We finished our shopping, and as we walked to the bus stop - there she was! She was sitting on the cold cement, holding a little baby. She was eating an apple and trying to encourage the baby to suck on the apple. But, the baby was crying. It was the cry that "got to me". It was a frail, sick, sad little attempt at crying. The young mother then proceeded to try to nurse the baby, but it cried and cried. I also, cried and cried!!!!!! I leaned over to give her some money and Rog did too, as did Nona, our dear friend. It was a touching sight for us and one I will not forget. I have thought of them every day and wondered how they are doing and if the baby is well.

This week has also been a week of many student visits to our apartment. What joy they bring to our lives. Our life here would be pretty dull without those students! They are very special and they know of our love for them. We are their adopted grandparents and they show us much love and consideration. I dread the thought of leaving China - I grow more attached daily to the culture and the people. I love my dear family and I cannot express how much I love and miss them them BUT this experience is choice beyond words. How blessed we are to be living in China and teaching such special young people. I feel as if I have known many of them before, somewhere else....

It is very cold again to day and I have invited Jenny and Song for dinner. After dinner, I have another group coming to "play with me". By the way, when they telephone me, they ask if they can come and play with me!!!!!! So sweet and so innocent. They are the dearest people I have met and I love them so very much.

Please know of our love for you - every one of you! At this season of the year, I am especially lonesome for all of you and the Christmas traditions we share as a family. You are all missed.

Much much Love,

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bejing Trip

Thanksgiving Meal in Bejing - at Sizzler

Life in the "fast lane"‏

Dear Family and Friends:
What a week we have had ! ! ! We have been to Beijing and back and had many visitors as well as teaching our wonderful Chinese students.
Last week Liz, Zoie, Trudy and Lily came to the apartment for lunch and I served them pasta/shrimp salad as well as peanut butter and honey sandwiches. They loved the food and they were so much fun to entertain. Such happy, appreciative girls. The following day we had one of Dad's class monitors, Cindy, come for lunch and I served spaghetti with garlic bread. She is an older student and she did not like the food as well and only ate half of it. I personally like my students the best - they are so appreciative and loving! By the way,
way I am NOT prejudice to my students at all! The same evening, Kay, Paula, Dawn and Ellen came for their first visit. They are all Freshmen as well and they are so full of questions and ideas. I love to have them come to our humble little apartment - they think it is wonderful.
Thanksgiving day we flew out to Beijing at 6:45 a.m. and it was one of those long, busy, good, days. I was so thankful for the busy schedule - it left no time to think of home and the things we were missing....We shopped till we literally "dropped". We ate at TGI Fridays and at the best Sizzler ever. No turkey...... And, it wasn't even missed - only the good times and family were missed. As we sat at the restaurant and talked of family and the many things were thankful for, I thought of all of you and the fun you were having together. How I missed you! I love you all so much and I realized (again) how very much I love you. You are the most precious thing I have. If every material item I own were taken from me and I still had all of you, I would be rich indeed...Please know that I think of each of you daily and you are individually mentioned in my daily prayers.
Beijing is gorgeous and the most beautiful, large, clean, city we have visited. The Great Wall is breathtaking and everything we dreamed it would be. The Olympic "Water Cube" and "Bird Nest" was awesome. Tiananmen Square is impressive as is the Forbidden City. My favorites were the fabled Summer Palace - the resort home of the Dowager Empress "Ci Xi" and the Temple of Heaven. I will go back to Beijing before I leave China - there are so many things to see and I need to spend more time there. Oh - and we had the famous Peking Roast Duck for dinner one night :( yuck..
We also saw a fantastic acrobat show - unbelieveable........
Our time in China is passing fast. We have been here for 4 months now and I feel like I am part Chinese. I love these people and their customs. They have such a love of family and I feel such a kinship to them. I truly believe that they do not look any different than my own family, who I love so dearly. They have the sweetest spirits and I see much love in their eyes. They are so dear to my heart and they will always remain there. They have the cutest sense of humor and they see humor in all things. I love being with my students - how privileged I am to live among them. I thank my Heavenly Father every day for the opportunity we have to be here.
Our week is filling fast with many appointments to have the students in our apartment. They love to speak English in a private setting, and we welcome them here. I have found the neatest little shopping area with many vendors and I will venture there tomorrow with my friend, Nona. I have made friends with several of the "merchants" and I love to go visiting/shopping there. Neither one of us understands the other - BUT - we do manage to deal. I love it....
Oh - almost forgot to tell you about our harrowing ride home from the airport Sunday night!!! Our plane arrived right on time and we all picked up our luggage but Julie Miller, who lost her suitcase AGAIN....Anyway, we were told that there would be a driver at the airport to transport us to our University and we were gleeful thinking that we would arrive home early. WRONG. The driver appeared to know where we were headed, but we should have suspected something was amiss when we all loaded the bus and he just sat in the
drivers seat and did nothing...He spoke no English and we spoke no Chinese. We telephoned Wu Yu - our travel agent - and he told the driver to take us home. I am not kidding when I say that we did not recognize any of our surroundings as we headed toward the city. The bus appeared to have no shock absorbers, only one gear and the driver kept pushing the gas pedal and then taking his foot off the gas pedal - lunging us back and forth, to and fro...As we were riding along, we noticed that there were no headlights on and finally he turned them on. Each time he would brighten the headlights and then dim them - they would go different directions.....Unbelieveable. We rode on the most awful, frightening, road that was very dark and dingy. Big ruts in the road and the road was all torn up and uneven. This ride seemed to go on and on. It usually takes us 30 minutes to get to our University from the airport and after we had been travelling with this dude for about an hour, we came to a sign that read "Laoshan Campus of Qingdao University" - a satellite campus of the University!!!!! We were MILES from our part of the campus. We telephoned Wu Yu again and he "yelled" to the driver, and we were on the road again.... This time, we were delivered to our apartment at 11:45 p.m. How silly of us to assume that we would arrive home early - in China............
Oh well - life in China is NEVER dull and unexciting. How dull and mundane our lives could be...
Much Love to everyone,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sweet Note of Thanksgiving from a Student

Dear Mrs Halladay,
I am Daniel.First,WISH YOU A HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY.This morning I felt really touched by what you have said!In China we don't express our love so straight,we usually hide it at the bottom of our heart, Maybe we,Chinese,are too shy to say "love" so straight.But I do really like the way you express your feelings.
As your student,I do really like your class,I feel really relaxed in your class,Happiness,Smile and Fun in English are what you what to teach us,at least this is what I think,I do really appreciate what you have done for us.
I know little about Thanksgiving Day before, but after this class,I got some information of Thanksgiving.The main idea is thanking giving(I'm not so sure),Thank whoever you think is worth it!
In the end ,I want to give thanks to the god for giving me the chance to meet you!
Yours appreciatively

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More visitors!‏

Hello Everyone:
Thought that I should start the week right, by writing to the blog site,before things get hectic. We only teach 3 days this next week, as we will leave at 5:00 a.m. Thanksgiving morning to fly to Beijing for a long weekend. It will keep my mind off the family I will miss so much !
This past week has been a good one with many students visiting our little humble apartment here in Qingdao... They really brighten our days and keep us happy. They are so interested in the American way of life and so interested in our family and customs. The love and respect they show us is delightful. They treat us like royalty and value everything we say. It is so refreshing.
On Saturday we arose early and caught the bus to Jimo market on a mission to purchase pearls for Maradell Brown. We had quite a list of items that made the Pearl Lady very happy. We spent 4 hours there and then on to the grocery store. At 6:00 p.m. six of my male students - Jim, Randall, Windy, Michael Williams, Kid and Miller arrived. They were so excited when I served them peanut butter and honey sandwichs. By the way, they loved them! We talked of many things - mainly about them. They each told me their Chinese name, as well as their American name and why they each picked the American name they have. They showed us on a map, where their families live in China, as well as detalis about their families. It was so interesting and informative for us. Jims parents are both Doctors and Michaels father is a coal miner and his mother works in a sewing factory. Kid told us that his mother has always hand made all his clothing until the past year - his father is a laborer. Millers mother is a farmer. They are so proud of their families and talk so tender about them. They do not want to disappoint the family. They are all very anxious to be Doctors and support their parents. They are all the only child in their family, except Windy who has an older sister. There were two highlights of the evening. The first was when Miller sang a song for me and demonstrated Kung Foo. Then all the boys sang a song together - it was so sweet. But, the most memorable thing, was when I tried to teach them to wink! I tried to explain when someone tricks you, or jokes with you and they wink at you, you know they are kidding. I don't think that Miller ever understood about the kidding and the wink!!!! But, I laughed myself sick when they tried to wink. They tried so hard, and every time I would look at one of them, they would say something silly and wink. What a great evening. One I will never forget....
Today at church we had the primary program. I sat and cried through the entire thing ! ! ! ! We only have seven children in our little Branch Primary but, I have never heard such singing....I wish the program could have been recorded, such sweet, strong little voices. Not a shy one in the group! And, each child sang a solo. The Spirit was very strong and as I sat there, I thought about the dear Chinese and Korean people who I have grown to love so much. We are all Gods children and he loves us so much, no matter what our circumstances in life are. I can honestly say that I love these people as I love my own family. How am I ever going to leave them??????
Tomorrow promises to be another busy day. I have a student, Liz, coming home with me after class for lunch and shopping for yarn. Yes, I am wanting to crochet and I haven't been able to locate yarn. But I have heard that there are some little outdoor markets where some yarn may be located nearby. And, tomorrow night , I have another 6-8 boys coming over to chat. Such a life I lead....... I love it.
Must close for now - the students are all starting to text me to tell me goodnight and wish me pleasent dreams.
My dreams will be of you, my dear family and how I love each of you.
Much Love,

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Big Thanksgiving Wish‏

Dear Family and Friends,
Just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how thankful I am for each of you. Thanksgiving is a special time of year for me as I think back over the years of the special memories I treasure. I have so much to be thankful for. There are many things that I have always taken for granted and realize now that I am so far away from everything I hold dear. Just knowing you are all there, loving and supporting each other, means so much to us. We have exceptional children who make us proud to be their parents. Thank you for your love and support. We know that our living in China poses a hardship for some of you and we want you to know how happy we are. These dear people have taught us many things - especially about love and unconditional acceptance. We get emotional as we think of the grandchildren and their sweet faces, but know that they are being watched over in our absence. We aren't on a mission, but there are so many things that tell us that the Lords hand is in everything we do here. And we feel an overwhelming love for these sweet people - we love them as we love our family.
We pray daily that you are watched over and protected. We know the Lord listens to our prayers and answers them. We feel at peace and have an assurance that all is well at home. Know that as you are together eating your Thanksgiving feast, we will be in Beijing, but our thoughts and prayers will be in Utah with all of you... The Lord has been very generous with our family and we thank Him every day for the many blessings we all have. The knowledge of the Savior and His sacrifice for each of us is a big part of our life and we are forever in His debt. We will spend the remainder of our lives trying to attempt to show that gratitude by our actions.
I think of our many Thanksgivings together and many of them stand out in my memory. Our Thanksgivings in Salem, our special Thanksgivings in Provo at Grandma and Grandpa Halladays, the year Lesa went to California with Grandpa and Grandma Halladay. I remember the first Thanksgiving Erik was on his mission and how we missed him. I remember the year that Natalie had to spend her time with her new in-laws and not our family. I remember the year Darren and Lesa were in Australia and how hard it was for them, as well as all of us. And the year that Chad was gone at Thanksgiving and what a big hole it left in my heart. The year our little Andie was born just before Thanksgiving, and what a blessing she has been to us. All such precious memories.
They say to count your blessings, when Thanksgiving time is nigh, I have so many blessings, I just can't count that high!!!!!
May the Lord watch over and bless you, our dear family. We feel so blessed to be your parents and grandparents.
All our love,
Mom and Dad

Monday, November 17, 2008

WHAT a Week!!!!

Dear Family and Friends:
What a week last week was!!!!! I am sure that I will never forget some of the special thoughts and feelings I had....
Wednesday night, November 12, four of "my boys" from one of ,my classes called and wanted me to meet them at Library so they could come over and visit. They have been texting me for the last two weeks asking to come over and I felt that they really wanted to come. Jack Sparrow, Jack, Alan and Windy arrived about 8:30 p.m. They had a little gift for me, all wrapped and pretty. However, they were so excited for me to open it, they told me what it was, before I could open it!!!!! It was a very useful pencil holder. I know what a sacrifice this little gift must have been for them and I feel very honored to be the recipient of such a gift! They were so cute and so anxious for my approval and acceptance of them. The Chinese are very curious to see our living arrangements and they just sit and look around. They wanted to speak English, so I brought out my flash cards with phonics and we had a good time. They love the "one on one" interaction and I love to have them here. After they left, "Jack' texted me thanking me for the time spent with them and telling me to have a good nights sleep. He calls me "'my dear Hallday- so tender.
Ray and Maryann Andrus were here for four days on their tour of China for BYU and the Kennedy Center. We had a great time with them. Maryann had planned a trip to the Jimo pearl market with Marvin Wu and Ray couldn't go, so she invited me to go in his stead. Lucky me!!!!!!
Saturday, November 15, 2008 will be a day that I will always cherish as one of the spiritual feasts in my life. We witnessed a "first" in the Qingdao Branch of the Church, a monumental occasion. I feel so honored to have been here to witness the happenings. In our Branch there are 45 members - 12 of those being BYU English Teachers, the rest of the members are Korean. With the exception of "Shelly" who is Chinese and married to "Peter" who is Korean. Shelly has not been a member since we have been here, just an investigator. She listened to General Conference in October and heard the Prophet of the Lord, and the Spirit touched her heart. Saturday was the result... What a day. It was a "first" in Qingdao, and to realize that we witnessed such an occasion is very humbling. I will never forget that day and the feelings I had. The Spirit was very strong and there is a new closenesss and love in our little Branch. We have all been witnesses to something very unusual and historical. How blessed we all feel. What a privilege to be in China and especially in Qingdao at this time. I know we are here for something special and the Spirit whispers little reminders at times like this. What did I do to deserve such blessings as this? Such huge blessings......
Today, which is Monday, November 17th it is SO cold... I haven't been able to get warm all day long. And, with no heat yet, it is impossible. Thank the Lord, we have a little space heater. I must remember to thank my Father for the small things. It could be worse, I keep telling myself.
Please know of our love for all of you. We are so thankful at this beautiful season of the year for our many blessings. We have so very much. We thank our Father daily for the rich blessings he bestows on us. You are among those rich blessings. You mean the world to us.
All our love,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another Crazy Week!!

Dear Family;
I know that I have not written for awhile but I have had so many great thoughts and feelings.
Saturday, November 8 was another great day and to start the day, 3 darling students came to the apartment. They came to hand in papers they had not completed the day before. Mary, Ariane, and Gama came over about 10:30 and brought with them, a ray of sunshine to our meager apartment. They were so happy to be here and to "see the American teachers apartment". They agreed to stay for a few minutes and we had a wonderful talk. They really looked and pondered over the photo album Lesa made for us. They asked us every persons name and acted so interested in our family. They also did some interpreting for me, namely, the directions on a new hot plate we have recently purchased. They expressed the desire to cook for us and we planned a night they could come back and cook a Chinese dinner for all of us. They left us with big smiles on their faces and a hug. Started our day out perfect. It was a day to prepare for class and quiet for the rest of the day.
Sunday we had the usual rush to the bus, for the 45 minute "stand up" ride to church. Roger had to stay late and do Clerk duty and I came on home with the ladies after the meetings. Four of "my girls" telephoned that they wanted to drop by the apartment and they arrived about the same time Roger got home. Sara, Helen, Lemon and Banana were great to talk with and we discussed what they want to learn in the classroom. They were definite in their ideas and a help in my lesson plans. We promised them that if they would speak English for 5 minutes per day, their English skills would improve noticeably. They agreed to try it! Such cute, wholesome, lovable, girls... What a privilege to know and associate with people such as these Chinese people. How blessed we are to be here and a part of the BYU China Teachers program.
Sunday evening we were invited to dinner at Judy and Andy's apartment. Judy is one of Rogers students and she is a gem. Such a darling, sweet, intelligent, lovable little gal. She told us to walk to the front gate of the University and she would be there to meet us. As we neared the gate, a cute Chinese fellow ask, "Are you Roger and Jane?" It was Andy - we had never met him yet, but she had described us to him and he recognized us! I will include a photo of the two of them with this email. We walked to their apartment and they had everything all ready to eat. Such a small, compact apartment with every inch occupied. They set up a small table and they sat on folding chairs and we sat on the bed (the best seats, of course!) She prepared a traditional Chinese dinner, fit for a King. The food was delicious. I ask about everything she cooked and how to prepare. She said that she would be glad to go to the market with me to show me the special Chinese spices and seasonings and instruct me how to prepare the food. Next week we will shop.
After the dinner, Andy did all the dishes and Judy sat and visited with us. After he finished,we talked for about an hour as they showed us family photos, with them asking many questions about our life and family and customs. Then they bundled up and walked us back to our apartment. We invited them in to meet the other BYU couples and they came up to our place for another 1/2 hour. What a great weekend we were privileged to have. Special people and times. Times we will never forget. Times we will always cherish.
This week has been my "odd" week - with my Freshmen, as well as Post Graduates. They just keep getting more precious to me, with the passing weeks and months. Those dear, sweet, kind faces - always smiling - will be locked in my memory forever! How will I EVER be able to leave them ? ? ? That is a tough one... Also attached is an email from Derek, my class monitor. How dear to my heart....
Yesterday afternoon, Ray and Maryann Andrus arrived to check on all the BYU teachers here in Qingdao. It was good to see them and get a hug from home. They surprised us and brought a package of chocolate chips. ( Oh - the small things in life that mean so much!)
They will be here until Sunday afternoon. They have meetings scheduled tomorrow with the Qingdao University admimistration and also with Ocean University administration. Saturday they go to the Pearl Market, we will take them to lunch at our favorite place, and Saturday night they will take all the BYU teachers to dinner. Sunday, church and then they move on to another city.
As you can tell, we never have a dull moment!!! We are absolutely loving life. We know that we were meant to be here at this time - there is no doubt in our minds. These people will be forever engraved in our hearts. We will never forget them. How blessed we are!!!!!
Please know of our love for each of you... We miss you and think of you every day, and every minute.
Much, much love,

Deaar Mrs Halladay,
I miss your sweet know,next week,we will have our mid-term examination.We only have to take English exam.
Now,I have sensed the coming winter,cold outside.Don't forget to put on more clothes when nessecery.Be careful not to catch the cold.
Next weekend ,our grade will hold the tug-of-war competitions between classes under our dormitory.If you have time ,you can come and watch.I believe it is a wonderful match.


Andy and Judy

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Life in China

Dear Family,
Today is Saturday and I have to stop, while I have a couple of minutes, to jot down some of my thoughts from the week.
It has been a very rewarding week!
I decided that the reason, and the only reason, we are in China, is to teach the Chinese students English..... S O, I have been really encouraging my students to come to our apartment and talk to us on a one to one. It has proved to be such a blessing and a real learning experience - not for the students, but for us!!!!!!
Rog had his little student - Judy - come by the apartment several days ago and she is such a sweetie... We invited her to eat homemade chicken noodle soup and she was so excited,grateful and gracious. She raved about how good it was ( I don't really know if it was all that good!) We offered to help her prepare for a big oral English test she will take in Shanghi in the Spring and she was most appreciative. Then, Rog had a meeting that afternoon and one of my students called me and wanted to meet,to give me a photo of himself for my records. I met him and invited him to come to the apartment and talk. What a great time we had. "King Lee' has a very hard time speaking English - he has very crooked teeth and that is part of his problem. He is such a sweet, kind person and SO willing to learn. We talked and I noticed many English words that he just could not say...
Before we left the USA, I purchased some flash cards for small children that are titled" Phonics"and" Ready for School" As I sat listening to King Lee try to speak, I thought of those flash cards and I grabbed them. We went through the 85 cards, three times and I was amazed at how much better he could say simple words such as "row" after just the 3 times. And, he was so pleased with himself. WHAT a rewarding experience for me!!! To watch him attempt to say simple words and struggle and gradually to watch him gain confidence. He was here 2 hours, and when he went back to his apartment he was practically jumping, he felt so confident in his speech. Now, I tell this - not to boast, but to show how taking time and genuinely caring about someone really affects their self confidence. In class, he won't even try to say some words, but on a one to one basis, he tries! I felt 10 feet tall as he left our apartment, because he was so jubilant. I must say that my prayers are being answered when I interact with people like King Lee.....
Then, last night Simon called and ask if he and "Never" could drop by the apartment. Of course, the answer was "yes". Simon, Never, Edward and Jordan, the only girl, arrived and stayed for a delightful 2 hours. They were SO cold, as the weather has turned very cold the past two days. They do not have any heat in their dorms yet either. But, at least we have a couple of portable space heaters, to take the chill off the apartment. They were so amazed that our apartment was so warm and Chinese looking. It was delightful to talk on a more intimate setting than the classroom. I will encourage all the students to come to our apartment in small groups - it really makes a difference in boosting self confidence and ease around Americans. How very blessed Roger and I are - we have so very much and we can keep warm and eat warm food. These students are so very happy and light hearted and they make us feel like we are so important to them. Such respect for us and our positions as teachers and grandparents as well. They are very special and we feel it is an honor to know them and see them daily. I just dread (ALREADY!) leaving this place. Each student has
such an appreciation for us and they show us such love by every action and deed. In the classroom they help me with my lesson materials, they erase the chalkboard for me and they want to walk me out of the building after class.
One thing that really puzzles my students is why I am always so happy. I would give anything to tell them about the gospel. But I also know that example is a great teacher and they will one day realize my real "secret" to happiness! I know, without any doubts, that one day they will have the gospel presented to them. They are already meek and mild as well as humble and loving and kind. Family means everything to them and they are so concerned for the welfare of others. I will always have an overwhelming love for them. And, as I have said before, I will never be the same person I was before coming to China.... I am a much better person because of the experiences I am having here.
Also, there are a couple more things I want to record about China which I overlooked in a previous email. Today as we boarded the bus to RT market we noticed the usual bus driver and his behavior and we had to laugh. They always jerk the riders all over the bus. They are quick to start off, as soon as the riders get on the bus - even before the passengers find a seat and this causes people to trip and fall all over each other. And.... when we come to a stop light, the driver turns the bus motor OFF.! And we sit there, at the stop light until it changes.Then the driver turns the motor back on, and jerks us forward as he guns the engine, until someone pulls in front of him or another traffic light appears... It is so comical..
In RT mart today, we picked up some cookies to purchase. When we got to the check out stand, the cashier noticed that the cookies did not have a price on them. Of course, neither one of us understood each other. Well, I was going to go back and get another package of cookies with a price on, but there were others in the same check-out line and I couldn't get past them to get another package of cookies. The cashier tried to find someone to get another package and one guy looked at him and told him "no". AND the cashier would not take our word on the price of the cookies - so he just set them aside and we didn't get the cookies... No question - we were just not permitted to get those cookies if they did not have a price on them..... It was funny, and we had to laugh.
I have rattled on and on and I must close for now. I will write more tomorrow or the next day.
Much love to all,

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hello from China

Dear Family and Friends,
Just a short note tonight. We heard a couple of hours ago that the 2008 Presidential election is over and we have a new President of the USA, Barrack Obama! What a disappointment to us. We are not so happy with the outcome here in China. In my classes this week, we have been explaining how the voting procedures go and all about the popular vote count vs. the electoral vote count. I have shown a map of the USA with the number of each states electoral votes and they had the chance to cast their own vote. It was very interesting to the Chinese students.
It has been very smoggy here for the past two days and makes it hard to breathe. It looks very eerie outside, especially in the mornings when we walk to class. It hasn't been as cold though. We keep hearing that it will be very cold soon.
One of the English teachers lost his father 2 weeks ago and had to go to the US for the funeral, so we have been teaching his classes for him. We just learned yesterday that he will not return to China until February...... The International Office emailed us and ask us if we would consider teaching the extra classes until the first week in January ! ! My first thought was to tell them a flat out "no". But.....the students would suffer and their classes in English would all be dropped for this semester. So.. you guessed - we will teach the extra classes until finals are over this semester. This means that Rog will NOT have a day off during the week and I will have limited time off. My luxurious 5 days off, every other week, will not happen either! Oh well . . we figure this is all part of our "China experience". And, the students are the most important thing here.
I met with two of "my boys" yesterday and they want to come to our apartment to speak English, to study for a huge test they are required to take. They are so worried that they will not be able to speak well for the test. I told them they are welcome to come over to "practice" whenever they have the time. They are so cute and so very concerned. All the Chinese students are focused on their studies and want to do well in their classes. It is so refreshing. I love them all so very much and I can see a change in them. They all look me in the eye now and do not duck their head when I speak directly to them. I feel they have come a long way from the first time I met them. And... they actually wait for me to acknowledge them, pat them, touch them or hug them. And, I wish you could all see their faces - they actually smile a big wide smile at me. I feel so very honored and loved by them. How blessed I am. I feel like the luckiest person in the world, because of the experiences and feelings I am experiencing here in China. THEY ARE SO VERY DEAR TO ME. How I love them and look forward to seeing them each week. If I didn't have them, I would be so lonesome and homesick.
Heavenly Father just knew how lonesome I would be and I am sure that is why He sent me such special, loving students.
I will close for now and write more tomorrow.
Please know that I love you all and miss you. Especially the grandchildren...
All my love,

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Dear Family,
Just a recap of our Halloween celebration last night! All of the BYU teachers and other teachers in our building had a great Halloween party planned - but the list of those we invited, just kept growing. We ask the International Office if there was a room we could hold our party in and they said there was nothing. But our little friend Fang Fang ( pronounced Fong Fong!) arranged for us to use the cafeteria in our building! She made arrangements for us to use a portion of the cafeteria but we had to vacate the place by 7:00 p.m.
I dressesd as a witch and Rog even donned a costume.... (Pictures attached) I made the traditional goulash, which the Chinese LOVED. We had sloppy joes, salad, vegetables and other good things to eat. Everyone looked so cute and we sure did have fun. We were out of the cafeteria by 7:00 p.m. as promised. Our little friend Ariel came, as did Song and Jenny, as well as Leon. While at the party, my phone kept ringing - my students, wanting to come over and see me in my costume. Oliver, Judy and Leiu Chang (male) came over first and they were so cute. By the way, the Chinese always bring a gift when they come over to visit - they brought grapes and bananas. We decided to start a movie and the phone rang again and it was 7 girls that wanted to drop by. They brought several cute little gifts - a good luck charm, a large grapefruit looking thing, another charm, a plant, and one of them had made me 3 flowers out of beautiful paper. They are so cute and they look at me so adoringly and treat me and Rog like we are royalty. They movie was going, and the phone rang again and it was 2 more girls.... they came up and we watched the movie. Then, we sat and talked for about an hour. They left at 10:45 p.m. and we loved every minute they were here. What a fun time we had. They are so sweet and I had several other students that text messaged me from other classes wanting to come - but it was too late. For some reason several of my classes thought that I was having a Halloween party last
night! ! ! ! ! Now I have to have another party, for those that missed last night
All the Chinese tried on all the costumes we had and they all wanted to have their pictures taken in the costumes. They are so cute. You will see on the attached photos.
It was a great evening. We really enjoyed ourselves, and we think the kids did too. They have emailed and sent text messages to me today and they are already wanting another "party". They want to talk English and play English games. But, I have so many students, I am not quite sure how I can handle it. We are talking 550 students. Any suggestions? Maybe just do one class at a time, BUT some of the classes are 70 students!
The looks on their faces were priceless. They are so dear to me and I can honestly say that I love them. They have become so very important in my life. They are my family here in China and I can hardly wait for class every week. They have so few exciting things in their lives. They have classes every day and they start early and stay late and study so much. And school is expected of them. No one can get married until they have graduated. And everyone goes to school and HAS to do well. I really admire them. So easy to love and my approval is so important to them...
Today was District Conference and Rog had to talk. He gave a great talk on his conversion. It was very touching and everyone thought he did well..... He did.
President Toronto spoke as did Brother Bayles. Brother Bayles is a relative of Brad Guymon in Cedar City - what a small world it is. It never ceases to amaze me that I can go across the world and meet people that know people that I know.. and it is not just concidence... I am sure...
I am a different person - I still look the same and in may ways, act the same. But, I have changed for the better because of my experiences here in this wonderful country. I can honestly say that I love it here and you all know that I love my students. I have started looking at things differently and realizing that some things I always thought were so important, really are not....And, there are some things that I never realized were so important. I will be a much better person because of my Chinese family.
How blessed I am....
Please know of my love for all of you.
Much Love,

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thoughts and Facts

Dear Family,
As I was walking to class this morning, I started to think that I had not told you so many things that are significant in China. Just, little thought about facts that I take for granted now. So, tonight I will try to remember some of them.
In China, at our University there are so many little things that are different. For instance, the heat to the buildings where we live will not be turned on until November 15... Also, there is NO hot water in our bathroom shower or sink BEFORE 6:30 a.m. every morning and after 9:00 a.m. every morning. In other words, hot water in the bathroom from 6:30 - 9:00 every morning ONLY. This is to conserve the hot water - for what? I do not know.
Another interesting thing that really causes us to fret when we are out walking after dark...... the automobiles, including buses, motorcycles,etc. DO NOT turn their lights on unless they absolutely have to...I am not kidding ! ! ! They drive down the streets with NO car lights on - IN THE DARK..... We are told that this is to conserve energy...
There are NO Stop signs in the country. Only traffic lights that are to be tolerated. Even if the traffic light is red and a bus feels like running the light - he does. Every day we see drivers drive on the wrong side of the road facing the oncoming traffic and then swerve to miss the oncoming traffic at the last possible moment.
And, the horns honking!!!!! We wake up in the middle of the night to the horns honking and wake up every morning to the honks.
The Chinese people cannot drive without that horn honking.
And the beds...... I have never slept on such hard beds. When we get home, our bed will feel so wonderful. The bedding is very unusual to us also. Every sheet set includes: 1 pillowcase, 1 flat bottom sheet and 1 duvet cover. No top sheet or fitted bottom sheet...All the beds in China have, as the mattress, just box springs. If you want to try out the way we sleep, just flip your mattress on the floor and throw a top sheet on the box springs and lay down and get some "shut eye".
We all have our way of doing things and I guess that I feel that my way is the best. Don't we all? The cultural differences are so very interesting. One way is not wrong, and the other way, right. Just different. And I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world! I love it here.
Today was a fun day - showing the Chinese our Halloween customs. They never cease to amaze me! Their innocence is so refreshing. I had 2 boys dance the "jitter bug" together for me. We also did an activity where I had 7 different pages, with pictures of Halloween representations ie. a werewolf, a vampire, a witch, a ghost, a goblin, a black cat, and a jack o lantern. I divided the class into 7 groups and gave each group one of the pictures to create a play, make up a song , or a poem. I gave them 20 minutes to do this. I wish that all of you could have been here to watch them ! ! They are so creative and it is so wonderful to watch them interact and create. They made darling "props' from discarded newspaper, the cleaning lady's broom and their clothing. I had the rare chance to glance into their individual personalities and really see them. I just watched them and smiled., I could not stop smiling... Oh how I love them.
Tonight is a cool one and I am sitting here in my windbreaker, but I have never felt so needed and appreciated and loved. It is all worth the small inconveniences, and I know that I am growing spiritually because of the humbling circumstances I see and experiences daily. I am thankful for all I have and I feel so blessed to be in China. Thank you BYU, thank you family and most of all - thanks to my Heavenly Father for my many blessings and the abundant life I live in the good old USA.
You are in our thoughts and prayers.
We love you very much,

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend at Confucius' Hometown, Temples and Cemeterys

Dear Family;
Just returned home last night late, from a great weekend. We went to Qufu - the birth and death place of Confucius and also to Mount Tai. We started the weekend early Saturday morning and traveled 61//2 hours to the city of Qufu.
In the city of Qufu, we visited the Confucius temples first - there were 13 of them. They were awesome! Most of the structures are 2,500 years old and there was a very special, spirit there. What a man Confucius was... So many of the sayings we use today, came from him. During the reign of Mao, so much was destroyed, therefore many of the writings of Confucius were buried or entombed. They have some of the original rock "slabs" or books displayed today. There was a very sacred feeling present. The sights were remarkable and we really enjoyed ourselves. I will send pictures. Then we went to the family cemetery, it has a rich history and it was very interesting. Those burial mounds are interesting and there are so many in that cemetery. From what the guide told us, even now, the descendants of Confucius can be buried in that same cemetery. From what the guide told us, Confucius actually had 13 sites or plots for burial. The reason being, there were many people that wanted him dead and wanted his wealth. The story tells of those who tried to make sure that Confucius actually was dead and proceeded to start digging up the sites. Confucius had predicted that the ones that tried to find his remains would be cursed and die. As the story goes, after the 12th grave had been dug up, and all the grave robbers died, the final site, being the 13th one was never dug up. However, a faithful servant watched the gravesite for 7 years to make sure that no one disturbed the site! Confucius only had one son and that son died before Confucius died. But he did leave an heir. It was all so interesting.
After the tour, we went to the city of Tai'an for the night. It was another memorable night in China! After arriving at the hotel, we were getting ready for bed and I happened to walk into the bathroom and I could not believe my eyes! It was a very small room with a vanity, toilet and the shower - no tub or surrounding - just the shower head and drain in the floor! I could not believe my eyes..But that was not all.....I have slept on some pretty hard beds in China, but that bed beat them all!!!! When I went to bed I could NOT get comfortable, no matter which position I moved. I actually felt bruised when I got up the next morning! Oh, and the next morning, as I proceeded to turn the shower on, it sprayed my hair down and wet the entire room as well. And, to add insult to injury, as I was putting on my makeup,the electricity went out....Needless to say, I just sat on the bed - or board, and laughed!!! It was so comical. China really does change people, for the better. You must learn patience and remember to take a deep breath.
In training, at BYU, they told us repeatedly, not to try to change China, that China would change us. How right they were!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We then boarded the bus once again and went to the base of Mount Tai. At the base, we boarded the tram and rode up the mountainside. Then, we had to walk about 2,000 steps, taking us 45 minutes, to get to the top of the mountain!!!! Have you ever walked that many stairs at a time????? I honestly have NEVER thought it was something I could possibly ever do. Guess what? I did it......The steps in China are all little, tiny, uneven steps that go straight up. You will see in the photos we are sending. I am so proud of myself. Now, I am capable of the StairMaster... Watch out Cedar City when I get home.... Once we got to the top, we had to get back down... Scarey! But, I survived.... I am so proud of myself. And, the view was breathtaking. Like NOTHING I have ever seen. Then, we came home....
What a weekend... One we will never forget. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that I would ever go the places I have been or done the things I have done. Places I have heard about, but never thought that I would get the chance to see. How very blessed I am. What experiences.
The Chinese people are so genuine and loving. I can honestly that I will never be the same again, they have changed this old gal. They are such a gracious, loving, meek race and I truly love them. We never feel fear here, always so safe and protected. Foreigners (Americans) are treated like royalty - at least the BYU teachers are!
Will write more tomorrow or the next day.
Much Love, Mom

Friday, October 24, 2008

Starting to Celebrate Halloween Daily Now‏

Hello Dear Friends and Family,
Just a note to tell more about the festivities leading to Halloween. Yesterday and today were unforgettable ! My students are so special and I know that I will never forget them or the great experiences I have shared with them. They are the most unpretentious, innocent, loving, caring human beings I have ever had the privilege of associating with. I am in love with them - as you can tell... I always tell them that they are awesome and they just grin at me.
It is important to the Chinese students,to learn all they can about the English language and culture. Therefore, the celebrated American holidays are very interesting to them. I have been explaining Halloween and the customs to them for the past week and I will finish this next week. As you all know, I have the Freshmen one week and the Sophomores the next week. This past week has been a Sophomore week.
I have shown them how to trick or treat and they are so cute trying it out . They are not afraid to share their talents and they are talented. They have the sweetest singing voices and their pronunciation is so dear to me. I feel very defensive of them. They are so meek and mild - perfect examples of what the Savior taught us we should all be! They treat us BYU teachers like we are of royal blood. It is going to be very hard to go home and back to the life I had before coming to China. I am a changed person - and for the better, because of these wonderful people. I will be forever grateful for this experience.
Today, in my 2 morning classes, I was taught with love. You all think that I am over here teaching the Chinese, but actually, I am the one that is being taught! They are so patient and eager to listen to anything I say. I have their undivided attention all the time I am teaching. We talked about Halloween and I sang them a Halloween song, and they wanted to try trick or treating. They were so child-like in their enthusiasm and excitement, as they went out the door and knocked and yelled, "trick or treat". I always stand close to them as they sing or recite, I know how frightening it must be for them. And I can feel them trembling and even see their lips trembling. They look at me with such trust in their eyes that I cannot fail them in any way. It is a very spiritual experience, knowing they put all their trust in me. Oh, how I have learned to love them!
We had a fun game today,to help them with their speaking skills. They were divided into teams and each team had a spokesperson. The spokesperson came to my desk and I explained that each member, of every team, was to participate in the activity and they could earn a treat. Each spokesperson was given a different picture showing something to do with Halloween. They had to do one of four things: 1. explain the picture in detail or 2. tell a story about the picture or 3. do a play, explaining the picture or 4. sing a song about the picture. I then gave them 20 minutes to explain to the teams and come up with one of the above to present to the class. It was so much fun to watch them interact with each other. They are always so happy. I love to watch their faces and walk around the room and eavesdrop on the conversations. I learn alot from them. The presentations were unbelievable. I wish that I could have taped the entire day. They are so talented and inventive. They had great ideas and some very interesting ones. They did not want the class to end - they were having such a good time. So was I ! ! ! ! I wanted to take every one of those student into my arms and hug them.
Tomorrow we go to Gufu, the home town of Confucius. Also, to Mount Tai, and I hear it is quite the hike, up hundreds of stairs! We leave at 7:00 a.m. and go on a 7 hour bus ride. We will spend Saturday night and return home Sunday afternoon late. I am apprehensive to go - I have so many things to do to get ready for school next week. Hopefully, we will have a tame bus driver. Some of the bus drivers are pretty wild. The bus we rode home on last night was another wild ride. The drivers are out to hog the road and not allow others to pass or get ahead of them. It is so comical to witness - makes for great entertainment. Never a dull moment here.... I love it. Life in Cedar City seems so dull in comparison.
I will report again when we return home on Sunday.
Please know that we love you all so very much. You are never far from our thoughts and prayers. May the Lord bless all of you.
All our love,
Mom and Dad

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Celebrating Halloween!

Dear Family,
I have a new appreciation of Halloween as of today! I "took" Halloween to school today and what an experience...... These dear people - my students - really know how to celebrate the old fashioned way ! ! ! I showed them how our kids go" trick or treating". I wrote some Halloween tongue twisters on the blackboard and some of them read them and some of the students chose to sing me a song in English. They are so dear to me and they sing with such enthusiasm and gusto that it made me emotional. I wish that every one of you could have been there!!!! They REALLY got into the spirit of the holiday and we had a ball. The girls, as well as the boys, got up in front of the class and stood there and just sang their little hearts out. They are truly amazing. And this was only the first day of the next 10 days that we will celebrate Halloween. I am sure that I will have some choice experiences to report. And, those tongue twisters were unbelievable.. Wish that I could figure out a way to record those sweet voices, but I know that I will carry them in my heart until the day I die. They sang John Denver and Karen Carpenter songs as well as children songs.
After class today we went to the "RT Mart" - a wonderful store, with our little Chinese friend, Ariel. She knows where everything is located in the store and she can read all the labels!
What an advantage for us... She showed us where the yeast is located, where the dry beans are located and where the tomato puree is located.. These may sound like crazy things to all of you, BUT, believe me - they are of great importance to us. I have plans to make some homemade bread and some homemade chili. These things sound so good to us about now. We have been in the country long enough that we are getting hungry for some American "soul" food. I even bought a pork roast - which was easy to find, as the Chinese love pork. BUT, you should see how the fresh meats are displayed in the grocery store.....big slabs of fresh meat, just laying in the cases. And the chicken.... Oh my - it is cut up or whole, just stacked on top of ice! And the fish *0!#)+@**** there are fresh fish floating in big tubs of water, just waiting for someone to purchase and take home for really fresh fish for dinner. Not to mention the live grubs - what a delicacy. And people are allowed to touch, or feel,any of the fresh meat that is sitting out. What a different life, and the longer we live here - the more used we are to the differences. That is good. But, there are some things that we will never get accustomed to.
I just received a most welcome Skype call from my dear friend, Marion Whitney. It really cheered me up, as I am getting somewhat homesick. This time of year I start to think of home and all the beautiful colors and sights. Thanks Marion ....
I am going to close for tonight and write more tomorrow.
Much Love, Mom

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Our Wedding Day

Dear Family,
Just a short note tonight to tell you about our "wedding" today. Yes, we were married for the third time today, on the beach, in Qingdao China! The Foreign Teachers Office has been telling us that we were invited to our wedding on the beach , but we thought that they were just kidding. We were informed 2 days ago that the ceremony would be this morning at 10:00 a.m. We were told that we were to wear our "Sunday best" and be in the lobby at 8:25 a.m.
We were then taken to a gorgeous German building, on the beach, in one of the most frightening taxi rides yet!!! (As we approached the beach, the taxi driver made a sudden left turn and whip lashed us all, scaring us to death !) I thought that we were going to meet our Maker.
Then, we were literally "railroaded" into a room and listened to a little Chinese woman tell us what we were supposed to do and how to act. She was very comical to watch. All the proceedings were held on the beach, in all the sand, and us in our Sunday best! There were several Chinese dignitaries and several military couples, as well as 3 police couples. We then walked to the beach and there was a variety show going on with dancers, kung foo demonstrations, juggling acts, a young boys dance group and some older women did a little show with a ball and a paddle. We were held in the background to watch, until our "time" to go to center stage. The Governor gave a speech welcoming everyone and it went along with all the pomp and ceremony, as only the Chinese can do. When our "time" came, we were ushered to center stage,and the women were handed a bouquet of silk flowers and the ceremony was read and then they sprayed confetti in the air. The Governor then handed us all an offical marriage certificate and we had to jump off the stage and march on the sand and all hold hands and jog in a big circle. It was really something I will never forget - very cheesy. But, the Chinese make us foreigners feel like royalty, they shove their own people out of the way for us and give us the best of everything they have! I am sure that there are those that resent us.
After the big "to do" on the beach we went, in a van, to a fancy hotel for a banquet. The food and the facility were great . The food was very Chinese, with the entire chicken served, including the chicken head, complete with eyes and beak. - not forgetting those attached fried chicken feet , complete with the claws. A real delicacy...Also, a "real" crowd pleaser, (especially among the Americans) shrimp - in the shell, complete with tenacles and eyes...
After the banquet, we were all given a special bag for each couple that included a new night t-shirt for him and her, as well as a very ugly commerative plate - complete with a stand, a book on Qingdao - written in all Chinese (something we all can use!) and last, but certainly not least, a single bed sheet set. Isn't that wonderful?
Oh - one thing I forgot to mention. Before we left the beach, all the Qingdao BYU grooms, knelt in the sand, by their brides and gave us each a huge wedding diamond.........Apparently.last night, when we were all shopping in Taidong,at the night market, they somehow hid away and purchased the "rocks". Aren't they sly? Can't wait to show everyone my big ring...
All in all, it was a great day. After the big wedding,. I came home and two of my girl students came over and visited for about an hour - Holly and Sarah. Such dolls... They brought me a little gift - a Mickey Mouse picture frame. They are so thoughtful. And, my little Vivian called me tonight to invite me to lunch at her home, here in Qingdao. She spoke with her family and they all want to meet me - they all think it is so unusual to know and speak to an American...It makes me feel very humble and flattered. I know that I need to really set a good example for our country, as well as the church.
I know, for a fact, that these Chinese students are the future of China and that I am very priviledged to associate with them and know them. They are very exceptional and valiant. I cannot help but love , respect and admire them. How fortunate I am to be in China at this time in my life. I thank my Heavenly Father every night for this opportunity.
I will write more tomorrow and try to send some of the wedding photos.
Oh - almost forgot to tell you... Rog and I were interviewed by the largest Qingdao newspaper today,because we had been married the longest of any of the couples there today! They took several photos of us and ask us alot of questions... We may be featured in the newspaper...
All our loves,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Can Not Waiting!

Dear Family:
It has been a fun, interesting day. I did not have school today, but all us ladies met at our apartment for lunch and to watch the Relief Society session of General Conference. We also counted it as our monthly Visiting Teaching visits! Everyone else had to teach this morning, so I fixed the lunch. We really had a good time and I made a big batch of rice and we had a feast. We had so much fun that we decided we would do this monthly from now on...
Today was a milestone for me... I went and had my first haircut in China.!!! Now, those of you that know me, know what a big feat that would be for me. I was so frightened....
I telephoned our little Chinese friend, Ariel who speaks very good English, to go with me. The little guy who did the honors, really did a great job. He was so nervous to do the job and tried so hard to please me - please me he did!!!!! Michelle Heinz, watch out - he is awesome... He is a master with the scissors, and I have never seen anyone use them in such a manner as he did. He used no styling gel, no round brush and NO HAIRSPRAY... Can you imagine that ? And, he didn't cut it too short.... He passed the test. Now, Rog has had his hair "cut" 4 times since arriving in China - this was my "first".
I have been texting a couple of my students for the past couple of days. One, wants me to come to a basketball game he and several of his classmates will play in on Saturday and Sunday. The second one wants to borrow some of the BYU teachers DVD's to watch. He loves watching movies - but has none! We have many movies, and I want him to watch what he wants to watch. He is so appreciative that I would consent to lend movies to him. I have agreed to meet him in front of the library tomorrow afternoon. When we finalized the time and place I received a text message from him that reads, "sure that sound great. I cannot waiting". It took me several minutes to figure out what he was trying to say. By the way, his name is "Never". Another student wanted some information on student unions in the USA and I emailed several web sites to him and he wrote back to me and was so appreciative and sweet. I just love these kids.....
Tomorrow I meet "Never" at 12:30 and then we will catch the bus and go to Computer City and then on the Tai Dong to meet all the BYU teachers for dinner and to the big evening, outdoor market. The "deals" abound on those outdoor markets - especially at night. You can barter and pay just about anything you want to pay for just about anything you want to buy. However, the "pick pockets" abound at the outdoor, evening markets as well.
Saturday morning we have our wedding ceremony at the beach. The mayor and the government want us to get re-married and they will photograph us and we will be on the local news and in the local newswpaper. Yes, you read it right - we are getting married AGAIN. For some reason, that idea really amuses the Chinese! We will send photos. I did not get a new dress, however. Oh - and we will also be the guests of honor at a special banquet following the ceremony!!! I will report all the details tomorrow night. You just never know about these Chinese and what they will come up with.. It is NEVER boring, I will say that.
Much Love, Mom

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

China Today

What a day it has been in China! I have a little friend that waits for me every morning to walk to class with me! He is Chinese and we met him in our apartment building and now he feels like it is his duty to accompany me to class each morning...It seems that he "just happens" to be at the same spot every morning when I walk by, on my way to class.
He just wants to practice his English and he rants and raves every morning on the way to class. By the way, his name is Leon. It seems that the Chinese favor certain names that are easy for them to spell or say - names such as Leon, Jane, Mary, etc.
My morning class of Post Graduates went great. They are the first group of students that I taught here at Qingdao University, on my very first day of teaching... We had a great morning and we talked about Halloween and I explained about the traditions and all the fun we have on Halloween. We talked about the costumes and the "trick or treats". They really were excited as I sang the Halloween songs to them. I meet with them again on October 28 and I told them that we would do a "trick ot treat" that day and that I would come to class in a costume. Their eyes lit up and it was really something to see. I also told them that I would have treats in class that day BUT they would have to sing me a song, or do a little dance for me, or recite a little saying to me. They were as excited as any small child I have ever seen. Bear in mind that these are adults ranging in age from 19-25! So refreshing to me... Oh, and I took some PVC pipe with the corner fittings on, resembling a telephone, so they could hear themselves speak English. What fun ! ! ! ! They had a ball. We talked about branches of the government and the cabinet, judicial system, etc. and I explained what the Treasury was.... You should hear them attempt to say "Treasury". I had the hardest time trying NOT to laugh at the pronunciation. What a delight they are to me. After class, I received a text message from "Fern" and she said that she loved me and that I remind her of her grandmother. She said that she loves it when I walk by her and touch her and that I am her "treasury". Wow... Made me feel pretty special. These people, who have so very little in the way of material things, are so generous with their love and affection. I am being taught so much more than I could ever teach them. They are so accepting and kind and innocent. Also, in my Freshmen class of 75 students, a boy asked me if I liked the weather in Qingdao. I replied with a definite, "Yes". He then said," Mrs. Halladay you need to stay here forever - we love you and do not want you to go home". These things come from the heart and are unrehearsed. Melt my heart. Love, love, love.
After class, my friend, Oliver Twist ( yes, that is his English name he has chosen for himself!) stayed after class to discuss the pronunciation of the words "employee and employees". He was very confused as how to pronounce them and use them. I agree with him, some of the words in the English language are very hard to say and understand and define. He is the boy who told me, several weeks ago, his Grandfather had just passed away with cancer and his Grandmother passed away just 6 months ago. He was so emotional and cried in front of me - I felt so very helpless and unable to comfort him...
Rog didn't have classes this afternoon and he came to walk me home and as we walked home, we watched a man sweeping the Fall leaves off some hedges!!!!! Yes, you read that right! There are various people always sweeping one thing or another all over in China. Today took the cake though.
I feel so very blessed to live in the good old USA and have all the priviledges I have alway had. I take so much for granted and I am so selfish. When I see what these people survive on, here in China I am very humbled. You have maybe noticed in the pictures we send home, that I pretty much have 4-5 outfits - and I feel so picked on! And then I look at my students and what they wear and keep wearing and it really puts me in my place..And they are ALWAYS so hungry. They do not have access to a kitchen where they live, therefore, they eat at the cafeteria or buy food on the street to eat. That is why we always see people walking and eating from a plastic bag. It is my prayer that I never forget these people. I know that I will never be the same person I was before China! I also know that I will take a part of each one of my 550 students home to Cedar City with me - in my heart. This year will be a highlight in the life of Jane Halladay - I assure you all...
Please know of our love for you. We feel the prayers that are rendered in our behalf - thank you so very much.
Much Love,

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Freshmen Classes‏

Hello from China:
Today was a beautiful day and I had a most wonderful time in the classroom! I taught my 2 favorite classes today. They are awesome and so very lovable. I just seem to "connect" with these 2 groups, especially my 8:00 a.m. class. They are so respectful to me and they literally cling to every word I say. They are sitting on the edge of their seats when I walk into the classroom and they even raise their hands and ask or answer questions! NOTE: Most of the Chinese students do not volunteer to answer any questions or they never raise their hands to answer a question. I hear that the Chinese teachers are always putting them down and do everything possible to belittle them. Six of the boys in that class are playing a basketball game on Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. and they invited me to attend the game. They were so proud to think that I would even consider coming to watch! And, a girl in the 10:00 class taught me how to cut out a cute Chinese paper character. Then, after class, the same girl gave me a present! She brought me a really nice book telling about the Chinese zodiac animals - she said that they made the book in her home town. I thought it was so nice of her to do that.
After class, we went to a really dumpy "Canteen" to eat lunch. The food was reasonably good, BUT as we walked out of the place, we saw the open door of the kitchen and about threw up! It was so filthy... And, there was a guy sitting outside stringing meat on skewers with his dirty hands. Luckily, none of us had ordered skewers! And, the cook just happened to walk out for a smoke and his clothes were so filthy, greasy and gross!!! You never know in China...
Rog and I headed to the market after the lunch experience and we had a good time. We had to go to the bank and get some money for our little trip to the birthplace of Confucius. We also needed some groceries. It is such an experience every time we get on the bus or ride the taxi. We never know what will happen. As with everything here - things ARE NOT what they appear to be!!!!!!
We have been busy getting lessons ready for tomorrow and Family Home Evening. I think that we will listen to "Jesus the Christ" tonight...Someone left the CD's here in our apartment and we started to listen to them last night and they are very good.
I am sending the photo's of the two classes today - my little sweethearts. Tell me what you think. They are so sweet and I love them so very much.
It was good to talk to Chad and his family this morning on Skype - it is the first time we have been able to see them at their home on Skype. It was so fun to see the little boys -Deken with this black eye and fat lip, as a result of him climbing out of his crib!!! And Rennen was so sweet. I cannot believe how much our little "Jack Mac" has grown and how well he talks. He always speaks so cute to us on Skype. And Marin - sweet, as always. It was good to see Erik and family too. Andy was busy showing us the art she was doing. We feel so very blessed to be able to see all of you on Skype and to live in a day when it is possible. It really helps with the homesickness. And yes, we are homesick for all of you.
We realize how blessed we are to have such a loving, caring family and we want you all to know of our love for you. We miss you more than words can describe. Even the mention of your names brings tears to our eyes, but we know that we are supposed to be in China now. These dear people have shown us such love and acceptance and we do love them. They are so kind and never judge, accepting of everyone and everything. They have never had much materially and therefore, they expect nothing, but they are so grateful for even a kind word or glance.
Think of you all the time and you are all in our prayers...
Much Love,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beautiful Weekend

Dear Family:
Just writing to tell you of the great weekend we have spent. Yesterday morning we were able watch the General Relief Society session,the Priesthood session, as well as the Saturday morning session of General Conference. I guess that I have always been so very fortunate and taken so much for granted as far as watching or listening to General Conerence every 6 months. I REALLY missed watching them last weekend and have waited all week to watch them.
I really felt the Spirit strongly as I watched. The talks were so very inspired and I especially loved the remarks from Brother Dallin Oaks, from the Saturday afternoon session. By the way, we were only priviledged to watch the Saturday afternoon session yesterday and only the Sunday morning session today. The Prophet gave the most inspirational talk in that Sunday morning session. How I love and admire him, he truly is a man of God.
Dallin Oaks spoke about Sacrament meeting and reminded us why we partake of the Sacrament every week. He really stressed that we need to come to the meeting feeling of the Spirit. It really made me think about so many things. This morning, as we boarded the bus, I had many thoughts about the Atonement on my mind. I really thought of the supreme sacrifice Jesus Christ made for all mankind and I really felt the Spirit. As I looked at the many faces of the Chinese people on the bus, I felt so strongly that they too, are children of our Father. They are very special and I really feel a great love for them. I KNOW that we are just exactly where we should be, at this time in our lives. We are both homesick and we miss each one of you so very much, but, we know that we need to be here. They truly are a beautiful people and they love their families - especially their children.
Last night we had Jenny and Soong, a darling Chinese couple, come over and bring some dumplings for all the BYU teachers. They came to our apartment to cook them and we all had a good feed. Soong's parents had made over 200 dumplings for us and they were delicious. These people are so thoughtful of others - they are always giving presents or helping in some way. We have never even met his parents, but they wanted to let us taste the dumplings they make.. There were alot of left-overs, so today after church, I mixed the dumplings in with my left over chicken noodle soup, and invited everyone for lunch. It was great. We get togeher to eat once or twice each week, for potluck. We all just bring what we have or what is left over and eat together. We all live on the 3 floors and we run back and forth carting food to the various apartments. We usually eat at the Goodrich's or at our place tho. When we go home, this is what we will miss the most, I am sure. We do have alot of fun. They are a fun group of people. Terry Miller is so much fun - yesterday, after conference, he went to the beach to fly kites. By the way, kite flying is really big over here and everyone flies them - especially the older men! Last night he brought Rog up a huge kite in the shape of a big bird. It is made out of silk and the twine to fly it is on a huge spool. It is beautiful. He wants the 3 men to go out in the lot, by our building, and fly them.
The two little Chinese and Korean babies in our branch are so cute. One, the Korean, is a girl and the other one is Chinese - a boy. They both have long, black hair that stands straight in the air- about 3 inches long!!! The little Chinese Mommy straps her little one to her back and carries him everywhere. All you can see is that hair sticking out... They are so sweet and so loving.
I am preparing lessons for the week and I have to really work hard. I really can get side tracked easily. We are so busy, doing so many things, other than just teaching English! Tomorrow, after class, we will go downtown for groceries. Tuesday we have to sign up to go on a tour to the birthplace of Confucius ( it is an overnighter sponsored by the University) Then the home teachers will be here. Then, on Thursday, all the girls are getting together (about 9 of us) here at our apartment, to watch the rest of Conference and have a little luncheon. Thursday night we will go to another part of the University, by bus, to do a English Corner thing for 21/2 hours. Then, next Sunday, we have to speak in Sacrament meeting. We are really running all the time. But, it does help with the homesickness.....
In the mornings, as I walk to school, I always see the little Chinese Grandmas with their grandchildren. Makes me kinda sad. They are just as proud of their grandchildren as I am of mine and it gives us something in common. Although we cannot speak to each other, because of the language differences, we do understand each other in our love and pride in our grandchildren...
I will write more tomorrow.
Please know of our love for you. We miss you all so very much and you are in our thoughts and prayers. Please know that we pray for you daily and wish you the very best that life has to offer.