Monday, September 11, 2006
Lessons, Jioazi, and so much more!
Alright this could be a long one, so get ready! At the beginning of the week, I got my bike from the school, and I just love it. I ride it all over campus and even to the grocery store which is right outside the front gates. I was actually able to find one that was tall enough for me and had a little basket installed on the front. Dee and I were riding through campus and I told her that I felt a little like the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music. Then I burst into singing, “Doe a deer, a female deer.” We have had a great time exploring both on and off campus since receiving our bikes. However, riding it can be frustrating sometimes because there are virtually no traffic laws here. Well, they’re here; it’s just that no one abides by them. There is not a single stop sign on campus and when leaving campus, I feel there should be a big sign that says “Enter the city at your own risk.” I feel a lot like Frogger (from the old Atari game) whenever I venture off campus. I am frantically trying to dodge cars, buses, bicyclists, and moped riders without getting flattened like a pancake. (Dad I know you’re probably feeling anxious as you read this, but don’t worry. I always remember to look both ways before crossing!)
On Tuesday, Dee and I began taking language classes from a woman named Bunny. We will have them twice a week for an hour at a time. There is so much to learn, and it is all very exciting! The most complicated thing about learning Mandarin is that there are 5 different tones and most words have different tones to mean different things. For example, shi means yes, I, and ten but the meaning is determined by each tone. I can tell it is going to take a very long time to be able to communicate effectively, but I know the effort will be worth it.
On Thursday we had grade level meetings and I volunteered to be the coordinator for Listening and Reading. I don’t know exactly what the entire job will entail, but I know it is a pretty big responsibility. Primarily I will be in charge of putting together the semester syllabus, mid-term, semester final, and attending weekly meetings with the other coordinators. I volunteered for this position mainly because none of the other teachers felt comfortable doing it, but I also knew it would provide me with valuable experience in a leadership role within the school.
On Friday, a group of six ladies from the States came to visit for the weekend. They are from various cities in the southeast and they came to observe the church in China and its various ministry opportunities. We had a wonderful time fellowshipping and laughing all weekend. On Saturday night we got together at Don and Karen’s house (they are the couple who I am working with here at the University) and had a Jioazi party (they are like dumplings). We all sat around making them and then eating, and eating, and eating some more!! Later in the evening a group of Chinese students came to visit and mingle for about an hour. The students were all English language students, some of whom studied their first 2 years at SCIC (my college). One of the girls (June) was absolutely full of life and animation and she just talked and talked. She actually reminded me a lot of myself when I start telling stories. Anyway, she began telling me all about this English teacher they had last year at the SCIC who was beautiful and all the boys loved her because she was young. They were all sad because she did not return for this year. Then June looked at me and with lots of enthusiasm said, “You could be the next superstar!” Dee and I looked at each other with surprise and we both burst into laughter. I’ll let you all know whether or not I actually become a “Superstar!”
This morning we traveled to Angel House which is a home and therapy center for children with Cerebral Palsy. It was amazing to see the work that was done with the children and how functional some of them are because of this program. We spent a few hours taking pictures with the children and watching them in their therapy sessions. They were so precious; you couldn’t help but smile when you watched them.
Overall, it has been a wonderful week filled with exciting new activities! This coming week will be filled with lesson planning and last minute preparations. I become more excited each day about this upcoming school year, and I know that God has amazing things in store for the months to come!
“This morning we must endeavor to ascend the mount of communion, that there we may be ordained to the lifework for which we are set apart. Let us not see the face of man today till we have seen Jesus.” ~Charles Spurgeon