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,