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,