Monday, March 30, 2009

Time passes so fast!‏

Dear Family;
Time passes so fast and I keep thinking that I will write and I just keep getting side tracked.
Rog is doing MUCH better now, all the prayers rendered on his behalf have been felt. Thanks to everyone who prayed for his recovery. He walked to school today, the first time this semester and did very well. It has rained all day long and the wind has blown as well. But, he made it and feels better :)

We have been flooded with students that want to come over to our apartment and visit and practice their English. Last week we had 6 of "my boys" come over and visit for about a hour and a half. What a delight they were. They are so smart and have so many interesting things to tell us about themselves and their villages as well as about their families.
Two of the boys, William and Roger were in the same class and the other four, Jay, Bill Mike and Dick are in another class. It is so easy to become better acquainted with them in our apartment without so many other students vying for our attention. Most of them come from very poor families and Mike's father passed away and his mother is a farmer and supports him at the University, as well as her other children.
By the way, China does have the one child law BUT the poor farmers in the villages sometimes have more children but, they must pay the government a fee to have the extra children! The fines are very stiff and it is a real hardship on these families. However, if a family has a daughter first, in some cases, they are allowed to have another child, in hopes it is a son to carry on the family name. Many strange, outdated customs here. But, I imagine the large population has alot to do with it...

Saturday night my Post Graduates - Never, Edward, Jordan and Ronnie came to supper here. I had promised to make them an American meal and they were so excited to come and eat. I fixed spaghetti and garlic bread, with apple crisp for dessert. They were so funny. They LOVED the food. They all had second helpings. The Chinese do not use butter or margarine and they were fascinated with the garlic bread. They swooned over the warm apple crisp with ice cream. Rog showed them how to do American cross word puzzles and it was so entertaining. We also showed them a PPT presentation on some English songs and they loved it. Before we knew it, they had been here four hours.

Sunday night we had Leonardo, Michelle, Rita,and Skeelpenny come over for a short visit as well as Jenny and Song - who are trying to get to to the USA to go to school. Rog is their "adviser" and counselor. They have many questions and they like him because he tells them exactly like it is!

It is a delight to go to school and talk to these sweet people - our students. I dearly love them and they make me laugh. My little hero - Lee Yun, meets me every morning to walk me to my class and carry my small suitcase up the stairs for me. He always has a smile for me and is forever happy.

We went on a "venture" Saturday afternoon to the downtown area and as the bus was driving thru a busy part of town, I saw a boy, about 6 or 8 years old, crouched over by a tree, using the bathroom! I just had to laugh and remember that I am still in China.

We also went to Taidong to the tailor and Rog was measured for a suit. It is hard to imagine that a custom tailored suit costs $80. US money!! And they are beautiful. You go to the lady and she measures you from top to bottom, and tells you to return in a week and you have a suit! Wish I could take all of you with me to the tailor. I have never seen so much fabric - in huge rolls - stacked to the ceiling... And the buttons..... every color, size, and type - in rows and rows and rows... ( and everyone KNOWS how I love buttons!)
Rog broke his zipper on his coat and we took it with us. A lady was mending, sitting at an old treadle sewing machine... She replaced the zipper in an hour and did a great job. Only cost us $2.25. What experiences. We have seen, smelled and experienced things we NEVER thought we would ever experience......

I have added some pictures of Taidong,along the street. One is of a young girl eating a grub! Yes, you "get" to choose the live grub you want to eat and the man deep fries it right there on the street, before your eyes!!!
There is also one of a little man with a deformed body who was drawing beautiful drawings on the street. Also a picture of the "days catch" drying out for dinner or to sell.
What a country. I love it here and I wish you could all spend a week or two and let us share some of the sights, sounds and smells we experience daily !!!!!!!!!

We love you all very much. Can you believe that we have been in China for 8 months? We will be home in no time at all and we will be missing China as we miss you now!

You are in our prayer and we wish you the best in all you do. Please know that Heavenly Father is watching you for us, in our absence.

All our Love,
Dad and Mom

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our Corner of the World‏

Dear Family:

It seems like a long time has passed since I have written to you. Things change around here on a daily basis and the time passes so fast.
Especially with school starting again, with the routine of classes and seeing the students again and renewing our acquaintances. Before we
know it, we will be on the airplane headed for home and family :)

We have both been taking acupuncture treatments twice a week and it really works ! ! ! Rog for his back and stomach and I for my stiff
neck and shoulders. It seems like such a primitive treatment method and it is hard to imagine that having needles stuck into your
muscles could help you!! I have sent photos. I must say that having the needles stuck in my hands are the most painful. It is such
a strange sensation with needles sticking out all over your neck, shoulders and back. It feels as if an electrical current runs between
the needles and she twists them as part of the treatment and that is a real treat! I never thought I would have such an experience.
But, it does work.
And, the lady who does the acupuncture has turned into a very dear friend. We both love and trust her. She is 38 years old and a
widow with no children. It just so happens her name is Jane also! I feel as if I have met her somewhere before. Do you suppose in
the Spirit world?

On Monday, we went to Jimo Market to a store that is going out of business. We were told the store sells quality, expensive items,
and that all items were marked at unbelievable prices - up to 90% off the original price!
We went not expecting to find much BUT we "hit the jackpot".
The store was located in an obscure, out-of-the-way place, with many unusual and questionable sights en route.
As we were winding through alleys, up and down filthy secluded stairwells, with many smells and sights - I thought to myself,
"What am I doing here?" Have you ever done that? Gone somewhere, when you were out of your comfort zone and
really felt out of place? I thought, "What is a girl from little Cedar City, Utah doing here, in a foreign land, going - who knows where -
to a sale?"
BUT, I kept going !!!!! I must tell you, I found the real Chinese "treasures" I hoped I would find when in China. Things I have seen
on Chinese documentaries and in books about China. Real treasures... Need I say more??????
You will have to come to our home in July or August, if you would like to see.

En route to the "sale" we passed a sight I could hardly comprehend...
We saw several men lined up, about 100 yards apart, with a chair and a pair of hair clippers.
They were all cutting peoples hair and chattering and having a great time.
We took a picture and the little guy whose picture we snapped, became very angry with us - he DID NOT want his picture taken......
This place was in the "bowels" of China, mind you. So funny.

It was wonderful to see my students after the 2 month break. I have missed them and they are all so happy to see me. The
smiles on their dear faces, warms my heart. How I love them! I will take more pictures and send. They do not look like
Chinese to me anymore - they look like very dear friends who love me, as I love them.
It is a comfort to know that we will return next Fall and teach for another year. We know that our work is not finished here.

Please know how we love and miss all of you. You are in our thoughts and prayers and we know that Heavenly Father watches
over you for us. You are exceptional people and we are proud to be your parents. We especially miss our dear grandchildren..
All our love,
Dad and Mom

A letter from a student...

Hello.Mrs Halladay.
Long time no seeing each other.
Our new teacher is Ben,he is also very kind,and interesting.
We are very active in class,and there are many volunteers ,just as in your class.I must say that you are such a good teacher that you have made such a good impression on each of us.We all love you.
We all wish you well.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reporting In!!!!

Dear Family,
I haven't written for a while, so I thought I would take a few minutes and send an update.

We have been so busy getting lesson plans ready for the semester to start. Rog has 8 lessons all ready to go! I am not so organized :(
School started Monday, March 2 and it was so great to see the students again. The medical department took 2 of my classes and gave them
to the new teacher and gave me 2 new classes... Seemed strange to me, and I must admit that I was upset. I have become VERY attached
to my students and I will miss those 2 classes. I only have to prepare a lesson every 2 weeks, as I teach 11 different classes in a 2 week period.
Therefore, I only have to prepare 8 different lessons during a semester instead of the 16 different lessons Rog has to prepare. His schedule is set,
meaning he goes to school everyday Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon - in the same building, in 2 different classrooms. My
schedule is crazy /?@W#!$%.
The first and third odd weeks of the month, I have 1 class on Monday, 1 class on Tuesday, 1 class on Wednesday, 2 classes on Thursday,
and 1 class on Friday of the same week. On the second and fourth even weeks, I have Monday off, 1 class on Tuesday,1 class on Wednesday,
1 class on Thursday, and 2 classes on Friday of the same week. Crazy huh? And, very hard to understand.....

Yesterday, as I walked home from class, I spotted two Grandma's with a stroller containing a small someone that was crying and fussing. They
were trying to get the little person out of the seat and having a real struggle. As I passed them, I leaned over and smiled at her. She stopped crying
and allowed the Grandma to remove her from the stroller. I must add here, usually the Chinese babies are frightened when they see me and cry - which
she did!!! Both Grandma's laughed, as did I. The Grandma that took her, carried her over by the shrubbery, leaned over and started to make little
noises with her mouth - and the toddler started to use the toilet! Yes - the small children in China DO NOT wear diapers, they wear pants with a
hole in the crotch, and the Grandma's watch the child's every move, waiting for the little one to signal that they need to use the toilet.
Grandma's make a certain noise or sing a certain song, which is a signal the child is trained to recognize, that triggers the urge to use the bathroom!!!!!
It is amazing and it fascinates me.

Rog has sure been miserable with a pinched nerve in his back. We have had him to see a Dr. and even resorted to a Chinese acupuncturist. He has
literally been on his back for 2 weeks. He has had to have another teacher teach his classes this past week. I have been very concerned about him,
he has been in so much pain. Last night was the worst, with the acupuncturist making a second call in one day to help with the pain in his stomach
muscles. Thankfully she did a marvelous job and helped him so he could breathe and sleep without pain. Today he has been much better, but very
stiff and sore. He looks so peaked and sore. We feel of your prayers on his behalf. Thank you for your love and concern.

We feel so richly blessed and thankful for our many blessings. We have been reading the Book of Mormon and we have come to understand so
many things the scriptures are telling us about this day and age. We know that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to obey Him and we
are doing all we can to follow His counsel. We are very happy and we know that we are in China for a special reason. These students are
wonderful and we love them dearly. We are planning on returning to China to teach again in August. We will come to the USA in July and stay
until the end of August and return to China to teach a second year.

Please know of our love for all of you. It is so great to talk to you on Skye and hear those sweet, familiar voices. We love and miss everyone and
look forward to seeing you in July.