Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Days in China

Dear Family:

Been busy here and it seems that the weeks just fly by lately. Yesterday I saw some things that I do not want to forget, so I thought that I would write to you to post on the Blog.

We went to Jimo Market with the Blakes yesterday afternoon and had a good time helping Sister Blake shop for pearls for her family. Well, I will say that I had a good time pearl shopping, Dad was nervously pacing!!!!
The Blakes invited us to their apartment over by Oceans University after the shopping and as we prepared to return home, we noticed it was "rush hour" for the buses! All the school kids were at the bus stop, as we approached our bus stop and we looked at each other and wondered why we decided to leave at that particular time of the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When our bus - the "202" arrived, I noticed a cute junior high age girl board the bus at the same time we did. She sat by a much older gentleman and as I was sitting directly across from them, I couldn't help but notice them. He smiled at her and handed her a plastic container filled with sliced apples, which she ate. What made me notice them in the first place, was the love and concern the "Yah Yah" or Grandpa had for the young granddaughter! He was so patient and loving with her in a very Chinese way. I noted the pride in his eyes as he looked at her and spoke with her and especially the detail he took as he handed her each food item to eat. He watched her eat with such love. He had a newspaper that he kept reading to her and they would look at each other and smile. He did this for at least one hour, as the bus kept stopping at each stop - people coming and going constantly. I wondered if they lived together or if he had just "gone to pick her up" at her stop???.. I will never know. How sad for me! Finally, he got off the bus, smiling at her as he exited the bus. She then moved to a seat by herself and then she got off the bus three stops later.

Family Love is the same in any language or culture. It made me stop and think of my own grandchildren and how much I love each one and how proud I am of each one of them. I am sure that foreigners in our country can see the same thing I saw yesterday in my eyes - as I look at my grandchildren - at least I hope so...

Something else I wanted to comment on, is how strange the school system is in China! For the past week, as I arrive to teach my classes, there are two girls standing outside the classroom waiting until the bell rings, signifying that it is time to start class.
Just before I start the class, the two girls enter the classroom and ask if they can talk to the students. Then, they call names of the students in the class, at random. I was curious as to why they are doing this and I ask Li Yang and he told me that they were checking to see if the students are attending class. So interesting. And, why do they do this??? I don't think I will ever know.

As I taught my Easter lesson today and looked in those faces which I have grown to love, I wondered what they would be doing a year from today and how their lives will have changed. I know that I will no longer be a part of their lives in a year and it really makes me sad.
They have such a child-like innocence that is so refreshing and I will miss. They speak and act with such respect and admiration-I will never forget them and the things they have taught me. I can honestly say that I love every one of them.

We are looking forward to Lesa and her planned visit to China. It will be so exciting for us to have her here and see the things we see and experience the things we experience. We just wish that every member of our family could come as well.

Hope your Easter weekend is a great one. We will relax and stay here in Qingdao with the Henderson's from St. George. Do a little or a lot of shopping, sight seeing and preparing for next weeks classes. Our thoughts will be with all of you, as we remember the Savior's resurrection and the celebration that He lives. We strive daily to exemplify His life as we live among these dear people, hoping that someday they will be able to have the gospel in their lives. We know that our example is the only way to spread His love for each of His children here on the earth.

All our love,
Mom and Dad

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Life in China!

Dear Family:

It has been SO long since I wrote to you, I am embarrassed and thought I had better send an update.

Life here in China is wonderful and busy! Dad's schedule stayed the same as last semester with classes 14 hours per week. He has Mondays off and teaches two, two- hour classes Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with one class on Thursdays.
My schedule is very different! I should expect that I would have an crazy schedule, as I always have... I also have Mondays off BUT now I also have Fridays off, as well !!!!!! I teach the "odd" and "even" week schedule, with four, two-hour classes one week and three two-hour classes the next week!
A lot less hours than Dad, BUT all my classes are writing classes. I have mountains of paperwork every week because I have papers to read and grade. I am learning so many things about my students and I am starting to love it. What started as something that I dreaded, I am now loving...
I still have predominately the same students I started teaching in Fall 1908, therefore I am VERY emotionally attached to each one of them.
They are all like family and I know so many of the little things about each one that endears them to me with each passing week. Such precious, kind, thoughtful, loving people. HOW WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO LEAVE THEM - knowing that I will NEVER see them again in this life????????

We are so excited that Lesa is coming to visit us the first of May. The students are so anxious to meet her and become acquainted with her. They are all hoping that she is here on the week I teach their class. I have talked so much about my family - they all know our family members by name. This will be such an opportunity for them. I only wish that the entire family could see and experience what Lesa will see and experience in the time she is here. It is a "once in a lifetime" chance.

It has been a real adjustment for us this semester, with the new hot water schedule. We have to plan our morning showers between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m.daily. And the hot water is on nightly from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Then weather is still cold here, but the heat in our building will be turned off in two weeks. I guess we shouldn't put our thermal underwear away yet!

We hear that Google is going to be discontinued in China soon, so we will have new e-mail addresses soon. The government here is doing some very strange things lately and we feel the effect.
We have not been able to update or view our Blog spot or the Facebook sites.
Now, we are not able to send any of our pictures on Picasa. . .
Even the computers are not dependable.

Three of Dad's students; Snow, Meili and Natalie came to our apartment the day after my birthday and brought a birthday cake and candles to celebrate. They are so thoughtful. Last year I made them spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, cabbage salad and apple crisp - they want the same meal again! It was amazing - those three little gals ate an entire loaf of bread and the entire batch of spaghetti. They love American food. But, they thought the apple crisp was too sweet!!! The Chinese do not like things that are too sweet. They LOVE meat.

Our days are passing so rapidly and I feel panicky, knowing that the time in China is short for us. I must enjoy every minute here with these dear people. I do not want to ever forget them - each smile, each facial expression and the looks on their sweet faces. I love to see their reaction to the crazy things I do. This week I am teaching them about Easter and the Easter bunny and everything concerning Easter - non religious. I made an Easter Bonnet and really gobbed it up with artificial flowers, a feather and brightly colored ribbon and as I sang "In your Easter Bonnet" to them, I flipped that crazy hat on, and they all smiled and cheered. They are so loving and accepting of anything I do in the classroom - I love it...

I have been very lax in reporting on the Blog, but I promise to do better.
I am looking forward to using my newly re-modelled kitchen and bathroom and "being there" and near to all of you.
Our prayers are with Keith and Mary NaDean at this time and we look forward to seeing them soon.

All Our Loves,
Dad and Mom

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Back in China - at last!!!!‏

Dear Family:

Well, we FINALLY arrived back in our beloved China - without our luggage!
After a long flight from San Francisco, we discovered in Beijing that our luggage was NOT on the same flight we were on!

We arrived back at our apartment at 11:30 p.m. to find that there was NO hot water in our apartment and there was a huge
mess in our building... ceiling tiles all over the place, pipes on the floors, paint splattered and white plaster everywhere !!
Luckily our dear friends, the Stevens', came in our apartment and cleaned our floors and wiped the dust off for us...
We had moved everything out of our kitchen and bathroom before we left for the USA and put it in our bedroom. So, we had
to clean all that up before we could even move around in our bedroom. Therefore,we finally fell into bed at 2:00 a.m.
And we STILL do not have hot water today. And we still DO NOT have our luggage today!!!!!!

I don't mean to sound ungrateful and like a complainer BUT it is really so funny...... I want to remember all these humorous things so that is the reason I am telling you! I think of those poor people in Haiti that were in the earthquake. They have nothing, not even a place to lay their heads, and I am just inconvenienced for a few days without the luxuries I am so accustomed to! It is a humbling thought....

It is very cold here and the wind has been howling since we arrived. We haven't been able to stay warm and I am back to
wearing my thick thermals again. To think that 3 days ago, in San Francisco, we wished we had worn shorts because it
was so warm!

Everyone we see is so happy to see us and we feel so loved. Li Yang has called us and is coming to see us
and the cleaning ladies in our building rush to me and give me hugs. It makes us feel so good. They are dear people and we have
learned to love them so much. I dread having to leave them for the final time....

I have my new teaching schedule and I am teaching writing classes this semester instead of oral English! Very intimidating.
The good news is that I only teach Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and only 1-2 classes a day!
This really excites me, knowing that Lesa is coming to visit us in May and I will be able to tour with her!!!!

We are feeling lonesome for all of you and we want you to know of our love and appreciation for you. You are exceptional people
and we love you so very much. You are our reason for living and we have such great memories of our time spent with each of
you while we were in the states. Josh is the only one we didn't see and we are sad that he chose not to see us.

We want you to know that we are where we are supposed to be and that Satan knows we are here because he is doing everything he
can to discourage us. The Spirit is strong among these dear people and we are privileged to be here and feel of their love. We are
just a small part of the preparation for the gospel in China and we feel the responsibility to be a constant example of the Savior's love
for ALL of his children.

All our love,
Mom and Dad

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chinese New Year - Dumplings and Student

Dear Jane and Roger,
I am so glad to hear from you. I checked my e-mail again and found that you are right. I think I forgot to send you the pictures. How forgetful I am. I will send them this time and some other pictures I took recently.
I am so happy that you have got the present ready. I am anxious to see it. I have a very good time here in my hometown. It is really great to have fun with your family and friends. So are you. I think you must have a very very good time with your daughter and grandchildren. I AM ANXIOUS TO SEE LESA,TOO.
I have had many big meals since the Spring Festival. It is customs. Your relatives will call on you and have lunch with your family. Genearlly,there will be more than fifteen people, and we will make two tables of food and drink. One is for the man relatives,and the other one is for women and children. In the ordinary course of events,women and children have temperance drinks and men have beer or white spirit. The food is the same in two tables. We talk a lot while eating. We talk about the life in the last year and our plan in the next year. Occationally, we tell jokes. And then, children will be the objects. It will bring lots of fun when we talk about children. They are always so cute, and we love them.
We will call on back out of pliteness. And then we will have another big meal again. So even it is very fun to have big meals and delicious food, I am very worried about my weight. Now I guess I am ten pounds weighter than last year. I am afraid I have to take some measures to limit it.
I am looking forward to see you now. Miss you and dear Roger. Love you.
PS: I will send you some pictures.I hope you will like them.
1:dough making
The way to make dough is very simple as you need only to mix flour with water.

2: knead dough divide the big pice fo dough into seveal smaller pieces and then knead them.Anbout two minutes later the dough will be very pliable and tough.
3 4 5 Each piece of dough can make twenty or thirty dumplings.
6 mix meat and cabbige together,enfold a small ball into the dumpling wrapper,that is a dumpling then.
7 We put dates and coins or sweets into some of the dumplings, which means sweet and rich life.
the next two pictures are my dear young sister. She is very cute.I love kissing her. It is so sweet.
IMG 2004 2005 2006 2010 That is my uncle and his son. They are pateing the Spring Festival couplets.
IMG 2011 2013 I think it is beautiful.
IMG 2037 My mom and my aunt. The left one is my mom. They always wear quite similar clothe in that days.
IMG 2055 She is my best friend. We'v known each other since we were young. I am two months older than her. We are neighbours and we are close sisters. We love each other and treat each other like family member.
IMG 2062 This is my naughty sister. Though she makes us angry very often, we all love her so much. I hope she will find that soon. She is very smart. She plays cards very well.