Thursday, May 7, 2009

Venice of China

This week was Chinese labor day and we got another holiday. We went on tour and saw the Venice of the East. It was such fun, relaxing and great friends.

AnnaMarie, Tyler, & Katie visit

We had a whirlwind week with AnnaMarie, Tyler & Katie. Without a doubt, Katie was the favorite fascination everywhere we went. People wanted their picture with her and they wanted their child's picture with her and some even wanted to pick her up. The first 2 options were fine, but this being picked up by strangers was a screaming no no. We all got quite the laugh out of it. It was such fun and here are a few pictures.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Break

For spring break we went on a river cruise down the Yangtze to the 3 gorges dam project. It was relaxing, fun, and very interesting. Here are a few of the pictures--

Sunday, March 29, 2009

90th Anniversary Celebration!

This week is the 90th anniversary of Nankai University and the English department, as well. There will be a week long celebration and it kicked off with an opening ceremony. Wynn & I were the MC's with 2 cute students. We did our part in English and they did their part in Chinese. It was an incredible talent show and we expressed our appreciation for the opportunity to teach at such a great university with such wonderful students. It was an evening to remember. China never ceases to amaze us!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Letter fro m Dad 3/21/09

Dear family and others of concern:

Yesterday, mother and I were at the market picking up some vegetables for our dinner. On the way out, I met one of my former students, a very nice young girl. She said to me, "do you remember me? I said, "of course I do." She asked, "what is my name?" Well, I knew it was either Apple or Cherry. I couldn't remember which one, as I had both an Apple and a Cherry in the same class. So, I replied, "I know it is either Apple of Cherry". She said, "I am Cherry." I replied, "well, I knew you were a fruit, I just couldn't remember which one." Uh oh, that didn't sound right. I'm sure glad she didn't understand.

I also had to go to the super market to get some hamburger. When I got there, is all they had was some large chunks of beef just laying out in the open on a tray. I tried to talk to a lady, but she didn't seem to want to be of any assistance. I just needed them to chop me some beef, into hamburger. No one wanted to help me, so I just grabbed a chunk of beef and pulled it apart with my bare hands, I tore off the excess fat this I didn't want, and handed the beef to the butcher and motioned for him to chop it into hamburger. He said no, but he got some young boy and told him to chop it. The boy wasn't happy, but he did it because he had to. I then went into the back room to wash the meat off of my hands. The head butcher guy saw me in his back room and went into orbit.. Well, this is China, where else am I going to wash the meat off my hands? I finished washing my hands and told the head guy, "have a cow" and walked out. He glared at me the whole time the young man was chopping the beef, so, I just smiled at him.

In about ten days, mother and I are going to take a boat trip to the Three Gorges Dam. It is a three day trip. There is a National Holiday that lasts three days, so the trip was planned around thet time. We are looking forward to it. We will take a two or three hour plane ride to get to the place where we board the boat. It's not a very big boat, it only holds about 150 people. Well, the river isn't very wide probably only 300 feet or so. I don;t know how deep it is, but it couldn't be too deep. We are told that we will see a lot of different Chinese culture along the way.

Well, Tyler, Annamarie, Katie and Sportette will be arriving mid April. We are really anxious to see them. We're still planning our trip. I hear that Katie isn't all that fond of traveling. Well, we will do all we can to accomadate her. She waves to me and throws me kisses on Skype.

Mother and I went to Beijing last Friday. We had a great day. We shopped at the Pearl Market and ate dinner at Sizzler. Well, I know that Sizzler isn't exactly your favorite place to eat in America, but it is dang good here. It seems that is one of the only real American food places in China. Well, except for McDonalds and KFC, which is horrible here. We shall always be greatful for Sizzler here in China and I probably won't eat there again the rest of my life, unless I return to China in the future.

You must improvise here, you do what you have to do. We ride our three wheeler when we travel, we lay our laundry all over the apartment to dry, since there is not such thing as a clothes dryer in China, and we wash our dishes in the bathroom. Either in the wash basin or the tub, but never the toilet. Our kitchen consists of a small refrigerator, a hot plate and a microwave. We are darn happy to have each of them. Brigham Young had none of them. Poor guy. There is generally no such thing as heat in the college classes, and certainly no air conditioning. You just dress up, or dress down. But the buildings have a roof on them and if they leak, the custodian brings a bucket to catch the water coming through the ceiling. They give us the best they have. It's OK. I am going to ship a three wheeler home to America when we leave. Mother has already informed me that she is not going to ride in the back of the three wheeler when we get back to America. How soon she forgets. One day she is so thankful for the three wheeler, the next day, she says, "no way."

Mother and I both spoke in church today. Our talks went well. Our topic was faith. Mother always does better that I do. Tomorrow evening, I am going to hold my night class in our apartment. We are going to eat tacos and spaghetti. We will have our school lessons while we eat. The kids are really looking forward to it. I only have twelve students in this class, but some will bring their friends. We will probably end up with fifteen or sixteen in attendance. Mother will be with our family home evening group while I hold the class.

Well, I hope all is going well for each of you. Have a great day. I love you all,


Letter from Dad 3/08/09

Dear Family and other's who are willing to read this letter:

This has been an interesting week. I finially have my schedule worked out. I think I told you, I now teach four classes on Monday, and one class on Wednesday morning. I like this schedule. Mother and I had lunch with the lady that I work closely with in the English Dept. She asked me to meet with the English teachers who teach in in the English Dept. I said OK. I went to the Department at 2:00 P. M. Only two teachers were there, one was my leader, the other was mothers leader. I had small talk for a few minutes, then the lady who mother reports to, asked me this question. "We want to know about religion) Well, you know we can't discuss religion and they know it. The lady said, "during the recent presidential elections, we were told that Mr. Huckabee was a Mormon. The only thing we know about Mormons is, they have several wives. I replied, "oh." I said, well, Mr. Huckabee is not a Mormon, but Mr. Romney is. I then said, let me tell you about my religion. We are taught to honor, obey and sustain the law. The law here in China is, we don't discuss religion. "Do you want me to live my religion?" She said, are Mormons Christians. I replied, "yes." What about all of the Christian religions, why are there so many? I replied, "they teach what they think is rigtht." I did not discuss religion with them, except as aforementioned. I then said. "You invited me here to discuss the English teaching methods I use. I am willing to do that still. However, you must understand, we will never discuss religion." They agreed. The next week, I was dis invited to meet with them. Was this a set up? Absolutely!

While I was there, my advisor told me that the department was not happy with me for changing my Thursday morning class to Monday evening. (my class loved the change) I replied, "whose not happy?" I want to meet with them. I said, "life is too short to be unhappy" Tell me who they are? Finially she said, "no body." Ok if someone ever again gets unhappy, tell them I want to meet with them. I will put a smile on their face. "OK" she said. Enough of that, I left

. On Thursday we went to Beijing. We had District Conference on Saturday and Sunday. When I got dressed for the Saturday afternoon session, I found that I didnot bring msuit pants, only my jacket. We;;, all I have to wear to conference are my levis. I've never work just levis to church before. I just laughed. Well, I put on a white shirt, a nice tie and my suti jacket. Oh, along with my levis. I met several others in the lobby. They looked strange at me, but no one said anything. I guess they thought this is the way I go to Conference. They were however, very nice levis. I had just gotten them from the dry cleaners and they were pressed very well. OK, I get in a cab and go to conference. There are three others in the cab with me. Well, I didn't have the courage to go to conference in my levis, so I found a mens clothing store and bought a pair of slacks that matched my suit coat. I paid dearly fort them. Cost me twenty eight bucks. I could have bought them for five if I had purchased them on the street. Well anyway, I head back to conference. I walk in. The same people who saw me in levis, now see me in nice church pants. Still no one says anything. Neither did I. Well, at the evening session, i see a lady (the branch presidents wife) I notice that the shoes she is wearing, don't match. One is black and one is blue. Well, I guess she had somewhat the same problem that I had.

It was a good conference. We had two General Authorities in attendance. The session was broadcast all over China by telephone transmission. Members all over China could dial in and listen to the conference. This was the first time they had broadcast the conference to other areas.

The chapel is on the 4th floor of a hotel. On the main floor is a Dairy Queen. About half way through the Saturday Evening session, I was falling asleep. I thought to myself how good a Blizzard form D. Q. would taste. I got up, and told mother that I was going to the bathroom. She said to me, "don't even think of going down to D. Q." Well it was a good idea, but the thought never lasted. I went to the restroom and came back and sat down.

Traffic in Beijing and Tianjin was pure gridlock. It took us over and hour in the cab to get from the train station, to our apartment. Glad to be home.

Happy birthday to Brit and Scott. Did you get my present yet? Well don't worry, it's not my birthday until October.

While in Beijing, We went to the pearl market. Got some pearl necklaces and some purses for some of Ashleys friends. I also got a pair of Oakley glasses. They were given to me by the lady at the pearl market. She sells them.

Well, time to go to bed, and I am very tired. Will write more later. I love you all.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Wynn & the girls--

The week with our family was just such fun I can't let it go without putting up one reall good picture of each of them. By good, I mean typically "China tourist." Next week school begins, so I'll have to keep the memories and get on with real life again!!