First class, first dental visit, first time to a new church! Yes, I had a great week with a little bit of scary put into the mix. First of all, my classes last week went very well and I had a great time getting to know all my students. They all picked English names, as is a tradition here for the students, and it was funny to hear the different names they came up with. Some of them wanted really wacky names, which weren't names at all but verbs and random objects instead. I had one guy who wanted to be Seafood and another girl who wanted to be called Bone. I strongly encouraged them to pick a real name, and after some serious persuasion on my part they agreed to change it. The only difficulty I have had so far is the unwillingness most of them have to speak out in class. I got very frustrated today with one of my classes because they weren't participating at all and I took it as laziness and lack of attention. After class I had one guy approach me and tell me that he along with some others are fearful to speak out in class because they are afraid they don't know the correct answer and will be humiliated. I know this will be an obstacle that I will have to help them overcome, but at the same time I want to be sensitive to their feelings of insecurity. My goal throughout the year is to help them feel safe in the classroom both with each other and me, and hopefully through time they will feel more comfortable speaking in class.
My dental visit last week wasn't quite as thrilling. Many of you may remember the agonizing trouble I have had with my tooth since June. Well, I finally got very fed up and just couldn't take the pain anymore. So with some help from Don, I got a translator and took a little trip to the hospital. In a nutshell, I must have a root canal which will take 4 hospital visits. I have completed the first 2 visits and will actually have the root canal in two and a half weeks. I am somewhat frightened because I have heard that the Chinese believe a little pain builds character and I don't think they numb your mouth as much as they do in the States. Well, thank you very much but I think I have enough character and would rather have the drugs! However, it really isn't up to me, so I guess I will just have to put myself in their experienced hands and trust that everything will be alright. The bright side to this adventure is that I got to meet 3 students (one of which is very close to my age) who acted as my translators, and they will probably go with me again on my next visit. I know that God has used this tooth problem to open the possiblity of new friendships, of which I am very thankful!
Yesterday Dee and I visited the other Christian church in the city. It was a wonderful time of worship and for the second week we have been able to use the Pinyin hymnals that we got. Pinyin uses our alphabet to spell the Chinese words, so it makes it easier to read. I know people around us were probably laughing hysterically to themselves because we completely butcher the words, but the important thing is that we are trying and at least now are able to participate during the worship time. After church we met three girls from Indonesia who were sitting next to us. They are studying at the medical university here in the city and are also new to China. We gave them our phone numbers and they seemed excited to get together with us sometime soon. I am thankful for the new people I have met, and pray for continued opportunities to meet and get to know the people around me.
**My teaching (both lesson planning and actual teaching in the classroom)
**Relationships with other foreign teachers, Chinese staff, and others I have met
**Continued Spiritual Growth