Playing in Xianju

Recently a former student asked me to spend the weekend with her family in a town about 3 hours away by bus.  She was proud to show me the beautiful landscape of mountains, forest and water. We climbed the mountain with her 11 year old cousin who is just learning English.

Climb to the waterfall

My student Rosalind at the waterfall

On the way back across, I slipped on the stepping stones and fell into the water. Pretty embarrassing. The girl in the left of the photo was crossing the stream in spiked high heels, but protected from the sun by the umbrella.

Crossing the stream

These logs are swinging as I walk across

Fun with Rosalind's cousin

Rafting down the river

The reservoir

Rosalind, her uncle and aunt

We ate fresh river fish at this restaurant

Rosalind's cousins. beginning English learners

Wind power

Mother Nature's awe

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I have been relentlessly pestering people here to take me to KTV. These karaoke clubs are very popular in China.  Different from the US, patrons rent a private room, have drinks and snacks brought in and select songs from a play list. I have been so curious to get inside a KTV. Finally, my bosses got a group together and we went last Saturday. What fun! We reserved the room for four hours. As we arrived, a waiting line for rooms had already begun to form. The Chinese love to sing!

Jim and I singing "Hey Jude"

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Nokia Debate

Is China becoming too Westernized?

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Back online

I returned to China and began my new job on August 1. My blog has been neglected because of serious computer issues. Can’t get a needed Toshiba part for my netbook in China because they don’t import Toshiba parts. Had to buy a Chinese computer but am having a little difficulty navigating because many instructions are in Chinese. Also, I get Chinese advertisement popups which are slightly disconcerting. Can’t upload photos on this computer either, so have I’ll have to make other arrangements to get photos on the site.

Yesterday I worked with a Chinese high school student returning to Canada to graduate from a Canadian high school. She is preparing for the TOEFL exam. This English exam is required for foreign students to enter American Universities. The exam tests reading, writing, speaking and listening, all on the computer. I am once again humbled by the motivation, diligence and achievement required for overseas students to study in the U.S.

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New Job

Next year, I will be working for a language school, Linkman Institute. They have just opened a second school in Hangzhou. My duties include professional development for Chinese and foreign teachers, supervising foreign teachers, teaching adult classes and providing English training to companies, such as Nokia. I went to the new site yesterday for the first time.

Third business on the right

My office

The view from my office window

Chris and Jim, my new bosses

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In the Western Culture class, we studied the “I Have a Dream” speech by MLK side by side with Obama’s 2008 speech on race.

Following are some journal comments:

“In China, we often heard that American’s racial discrimination problem is serious, especially when taking American culture lessons. But until now, I still have no idea about the origin of this kind of prejudice.”

“What I want to know is what make such a big conflict in race problem in America, since America always emphasizes human rights.”

“When it comes to race, people in China are not very sensitive to it. Maybe it mainly because people believe in China we just have one race. When meet the foreign people, we will judge them from the color of their skins. Of course the color of the skins come to our mind at first. But we just notice that ‘it is a black man’ or ‘she is a pretty white girl.’ I think that many people at my age look the black the same as the white. They are all foreign people. Maybe the first idea that come to us is just ‘Oh, I can practice my English with them.'”

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Han Meilin

Called the Picasso of China, Han Meilin has donated thousands of his original pieces to a establish a studio in the Hangzhou Botanical Gardens. The art includes pottery, watercolor, bronze, sculpture, folk art and textiles. It’s difficult to imagine that one man could produce so much art. Here are a few of his larger-than-life-size Mother and Child sculptures.

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