Xiamen Stories:The Family

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I have been in Xiamen for about three days and it is paradise. Xiamen is one of the cleanest cities in China. It is so lovely with palm trees and hot tropics. it reminds me of the Taiwan that I see in all those Chinese dramas that I watch online. The people here are friendly and the men here are really good looking. That is another post though.

This post is just to introduce the family that I am living with for this month.  The family name is Lin. It  consists of a dad that is  an architect. He is  also a kind  and  loving husband  and dad. A mom who is  quite beautiful and kind. She listens  to French music and likes wine. She loves being a mother and  she is very good  at it. I enjoy watching her roll on the  floor and playing with her children.  Then there is the grandma and  she is so lovely. She has this air of  poise and  grace.. She  helps care  for the children. I like her alot  too. Then there  is the housekeeper. She doesn’t live there  but stays there  all day and then goes  home. She  is  a good cook and  also takes care  of the  baby. She  has a warm and friendly smile.

The Baby

The Baby

Oh and  baby Lala. OMG so cute and  clever. I so want a baby!! The baby has bells that she  wears on her ankles, so you can hear  her  coming. I like that idea and  she  is always  coming. She  is one  years old.  I gave  her Uni(sorry Lesly) and now  she  is my best friend. I taught her how to say hi and  hello in English. She  already knew bye bye. Now when  she  walks into the  room she  says hello.  I wasn’t  kidding when I said clever!

Last, but not least is Nono; the  10 year  old that I am tutoring. She  is quite outspoken at times. She  is sweet, funny, creative  and clever. I really love  her  personality. She  has  me  laughing all the time.  She loves to pulverize  me in chess. I never  could understand that  game. She  also is  such a doting big sister. I have  already  bonded  with  her. Vivacious  is  the  adjective  that describes  her  best. She  told her  dad that  he  has  to  stop  smoking because the teacher  does not like it!

Nono, the girl I am tutoring

Nono, the girl I am tutoring

I feel  God  has been with me  on his  whole journey  during the  summer. I am learning about myself. In Anhui I rediscovered my heart. In Xiamen I am rediscovering a sense  of  family. I have  not had that sense of  family for over 10 years. After my mom died,  my family became  distant. I truly missed having a family. Their  love and  bond is  so amazing.  I have become very distant in those 10 years. This is  showing me  what love is. The lord is  showing me this maybe  as a means of preparation. Everyday, I am opening up more and  more. Oh and today the  baby only wanted to hold my hand  and not her  daddy’s. That was  too cute.

Loving sisters

Loving sisters

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Anhui Adventures: Arriving at School

Xuancheng is surrounded  by  beautiful mountains

Xuancheng is surrounded by beautiful mountains

This  is  part  of  a series  about my  month teaching in Anhui province at  a  summer camp. I have  been  here  since July 3rd, however  due  to internet snafus and  being  busy with lesson planning I only  have  the  time  now to  update my readers on my adventures. I have  so much to update, So my lucky readers prepare a series  of post overloads. 🙂

The company that  hired  me  to work  for  the  summer  arranged a flight for me  from Nanchang to Hangzhou. The flight was only about an hour  and my friend  Liu Jia took me  to the  airport  to say farewell.  We arrived  early, I am so  parnoid  about things  happening like the cab breaking down. So we  sat in the  airport people watching for  two hours.

courtesy  of www.disneygo.com

I got a window seat, iy was  so relaxing to watch the happy little clouds. Don’t  clouds  make you  so happy! Bob Ross likes  happy little fuffy  clouds.  I  felt like  I was in his  paintings.  
The  plane  landedand guess  which ditz could  not unfasten the seatbelts? ME!!! I think I have  blonde roots. I was struggling with it. Finally an older Chinese  knight in  shining armor saved the day. He unfastened  my seatbelt with the greatest of  ease. Yeah , I am a ditz. Next i went  to  claim my  luggage, did I mention that I had  to pay an overage fee?. My friend  told  me that I packed too much. Well, I am going  to be  gone  for two months and I am a girl.

I got off the plane and  look for  my contact person. Everyone  has  signs  with  names  on them. My  contact  did  not. I could  not spot  him so I called him. He told  me  what  he was  wearing. We finally  found  each other, He helped me  with the bags. He was shovcked  at how heavy my bag was. He had  no clue that I bought mama and  baby  bag. Big papa bag was at home all alone. He  told  me  to the car  where I met Jose and  his son Jonathan and their adorable puppy Chino. I  just love their  puppy. I wanted to steal him and  give  him hugs and  kisses.  I still want  to steal him to this  day. He is my rent a puppy!!!  I nicknamed him Chi Chi.

Look at the cutie pie!!!!!

Look at the cutie pie!!!!!

We had  a  four hour  car ride. It was  a great way to get to know the TAs. They are  college students  and  get to help  us  in the  class room. The hour  car drive  really  helped  us  all to  bond. I sat in the  front seat. Oen of the only perks about being a fatty is that I always  get to call frontsies! Due to my size I am really just  too big right now to sit anywhere  else in a car when there  are lots of people.

On the  car ride I found  out that I had  a lot in common with Jose. He is  also  from New York. He is a professional teacher like myself. Oh and  he use  to work at the Newark Board  of  Eduation! My former district neighbor. Oh and  he too  moved  to New Jersey  after living in NY. He  is  funny as  hell too. He is now my new BFF in China.  Jason you have been replaced! Hehehehe

We  did not arrive at the school until 10 pm. They had a banquet  meal waiting for us. Everyone  knows that I have been trying to lose weight, well I  did  partake  in the  feast  and it was  so delish. Hands  down it was one  of the best meals in China. The food was not  spicy, like it is in Nanhang. There was  duck tongue, this beef that was surely water buffalo,  a  fish dish and  an assortment of  veggies. I was hungry   so I dove  right in. I did eat small amounts.

After eating we were shown our rooms. We had  to stay in a hotel te  first night. Oh I wasa lucky girl. I will post next about the hotel room.

Duck Tongue

Duck Tongue

Hunk of  Meat, tasted like water buffalo
Hunk of Meat, tasted like water buffalo

A fish in a sweet  sauce. It was the most succulent fish that I ever tasted.
A fish in a sweet sauce. It was the most succulent fish that I ever tasted.

Dumpling Darlings

Dinner prepared by my students

Dinner prepared by my students

On  Friday, my students came  over  to cook me a Chinese meal. They wanted  to thank me for making them a Western meal earlier  in the week.  I wasn’t  feeling well at all all week and  yet I entertained  my students. I went  to the  clinic  and have  been on antibiotics. I worked Thursday  but had  this  Friday off. I was sleeping in and  heard  a banging  on the  door. It was my Chinese tutor Lee. Behind him were a brigade  of my Chinese  students. It was  an Asian  Invasion!! I was groggy and sick but let them in.

Busy bees  making dumplings

Busy bees making dumplings

As the  girls  were bombarding  my  kitchen, Lee began to teach  me  pinyin. It is my deepest  desire  to learn  Chinese. I really  want to  communicate  to the  people living here. Who knows  maybe  I can  attract a Chinese  cutie  if I can at learn to  speak Chinese.  Also I am sick of  pointing at this and  saying that one and  smiling. I am in China so I feel obligated  to learn the  language  out of a mixture  of  respect  and  survival.

When my lesson was over, I invited Lee to  stay but he had to  go back to his  campus. The girls  were  ready  to make dumpling. Dumpling 101 commenced! I was shown the technique, first  you you get the  round  circular  dough, you gather the filling  using chopsticks and  place in on top of the circular  dough. Next you dip your fingers in a bowl of  water  place  water  around the edges and  fold  in  half. Then  you pinch the  dough  using a pleated methods. Sounds  and  look simple  enough. The  girls made it  look easy. My  first  attempt looked  more  like baozi and  less like a dumpling. Yes  it  was  an ugly  dumpling. so the  girls  showed  me  another way to make the  pinches.

It  took me  awhile before I made an acceptable dumpling.  My dumplings were  definitely not  as pretty as my students. Rome  was  not  built  in  a  day  it  will definitely  take  more  time that and day to  learn  who to make   dumplings.  The  hardest  part  was the pinching  part. My  folds  just  aren’t pretty. I can tell when I am  eating the  dumplings  which one I made.

My first  and  fifth dumpling. I am improving

My first and fifth dumpling. I am improving

While there was a crew  of  us making  dumplings  there  were  other girls  making a  variety  of  dishes. there were  about  seven  students in  my kitchen. It was smelling so yummy. I was so  happy. A home  needs  to have  people in it. I haven’t really experienced  a  homey atmosphere since  my  mom  died.  My friend  Lisa opened  her  home  to me  prior  to me  leaving the US and it was  at that moment I realized that I hated  living alone.

It was so nice  chatting  with them as  we  were   folding dumplings, it was  a girl bonding moment. I  don’t  experience  much of that. My childhood  friend  was not a gushy girly girly, so she  had no ides  about female  bonding. When i  got  older  I had  more  gal  pals  and  we  did female bonding rituals. I really  missed that and the dumpling making  really helped  me.

Finally  dinner  was  ready, we had tomato and  egg, cucumber  and  sausage, dumplings  and a dish  of  just sausage. It was very  yummy. Oh  and they  begged me to make  my garlic  bread  again. They  said it was  so delicious  before  that they wanted  to taste it again. The best  part was the fellowship and the  company. Oh I forgot we  left the  door  open and my neighbor  walked in. He wanted to borrow  water to get tea. The water  guy who  delivers  our  water  was MIA, once the Chinese teacher  saw the  girls  he  decided  to stay. I was  feeling very  tired and  my students  are  nursing students  and they  saw my  meds  so they knew that I was a sick teacher. we  talked  for  a  bit and I showed them  my  Facebook and  they talked to  some of  my friends  that were on Facebook on Friday.

All in all  Friday was  a fun night. I can’t wait  until I get  to make  dumplings with them next time.. One  of the  girls even likes  karaoke! Score!!!!

Invasion of the Sweetheart Students

My sweet students. I think I lost weight  since I have been here!

My sweet students. I think I lost weight since I have been here!

I am still in the  process of all my classes doing their oral presentations.  I have started on three classes. For  all students  that receive A’s on their  presentations, I have  invited them for  a yummy  western meal prepared by yours truly. I have  7 classes, so I will be in the kitchen very often. Luckily the Fushen campus isn’t that interested, they  would  have  to travel too far. So I decided to offer this  more  towards the  students in the Wanli  campus.

Half way through I noticed that I was getting A’s  so I decided to invite  the  first batch of students. Today I have 7 of  my sweet  nursing students, On Tuesday I will have 7 more and on Thursday, I will have 5. Oh and  My nursing students all mostly girl classes. I have  like 7 boys in on of the classes and  4 boys in the  other  Wanli  class that I teach.

Squeezing around my table  for four.

Squeezing around my table for four.

I decided  to make  sausage and peppers  for  all the A students. It is  easy and  cheap, however  now I have  to eat the  same  dinner three days in a  row. DUH!!!!! The next  round  of cooking will be  after Laborer’s Day holiday. This  is  becoming my staple dish.

So I  forgot to get the  sausage, luckily my  dear friend Jason was going to Auchan and picked me up  some sausage. Oh and  beer the secret ingredient. I arrange to have the  girls  come  over  at 6:30 oh and of  course I wasn’t  ready.

In China  your  dinner  guest come promptly! So i was  very behind  schedule. The girls  came  bearing gifts! That was  so sweet of them. I was overwhelmed. I am  so not use  to it. The each  did  a little  bow  as they handed  me their gifts.

They came bearing gifts. Teaching in Jersey I  never received  any gifts!

They came bearing gifts. Teaching in Jersey I never received any gifts!

My dinner  guest  had  to wait  30 minutes  before eating. Next time  I am going  to start cooking earlier. They  started  to take  pictures  of me  cooking the  food. They were  amazed  and kept  saying wow. It was really cute.

I finally began setting the  table. I  didn’t have  enough forks so  some  people had  to use chopsticks. I also  did not  have  enough plates so some  people  had  to use bowls. I had  6  plates but 7 guests. We  all squeezed  around the  table. I had  to borrow, 2 additional chairs from my neighbor.

It is  so  nice  just  to have  people over, back  home in the USA my home was not considered the  party place. No one ever  came  to visit me. I always  visited other people’s  homes. I don’t  know  why, I think I am an awesome hostess, well now  in China, I guess  I am making up  for  loss hostess time.

The  girls  really loved the  food  and  it was just  enough to feed  all  8 of  us! Afterwards  they  did the  dishes for  me!! I love  it. When you invite Chinese  students  over they will clean for  you. We sat  around  and talked, it was the perfect opportunity  for the  girls  to practice  their  oral English. I think of  every moment as a teachable moment. Exif_JPEG_420

I  found out that two of  my students live in Xi’an and Hangzhou, the  two places that I am visiting this  summer. Now  I have  tour guides. I also found  out one  of  my students is  going to study  abroad  in Australia next year, what a lucky ducky!

We listened  to music  as well, I really liked  all off them especially Vivian, she  loved KTV as well. so  now, I have  a KTV buddy! Yipppeeeee!!!!! The  girls are  coming  back over this Friday to teach  me  how  to make dumplings and  other  Chinese  food. I am so  happy that I decided  to reach out  to my students  and  make friends. I had  so much  fun.

After  the  girls left, I opened their  presents. One  girl girl Vivian  wrote  me the sweetest  letter  and I was in tears. It is  amazing  how  people  will open up and want to become  your  friends, if  you just allow them in. It is  hard for me  because I have  been  hurt  by people before, like a close friend. I am very  trusting, but I decided  to open  myself up more:)

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All My Children

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I have  been  teaching in China  for  two weeks, I’m  still alive  Jo!!!! I have  to say, I love my students. I have  so many of them. I have  7 classes. Each  class  has  its  own  distinct personality.  I can’t  wait to teach them and  develop lesson plans  for them. I will be  getting  my teaching materials  next week. Until then, I will be  scouring the internet  for lessons that I can do  for  my classes.

First Class:Cute and shy. I love  this  group. they  are my innocent ones. I only have 9 boys  and over 70 girls

First Class:Cute and shy. I love this group. they are my innocent ones. I only have 9 boys and over 70 girls

I can say that though this  may be  premature, I am so much more happier teaching in China  than in the USA. I have  got  my enthusiasm and love  for  teaching back. My last  job  almost sucked  my enthusiasm out  of  me.  Volunteering in my churches Children’s  Ministry really  salvaged  my  love  of teaching  and  made  me  realize that it was  not me but the  crappy working conditions that I was dealing with.

Second Class: Small and Obedient.  I only have  26 students in this  class. I can  do  so much  more in this  class. We are going to  do more scenarios in this  group.

Second Class: Small and Obedient. I only have 26 students in this class. I can do so much more in this class. We are going to do more scenarios in this group.

My  whole  mindset has  changed, it may not be unicorns and  dragons singing and  dancing together all the  time. However I have  such  a sense  of  peace. I have  found  my  niche. I like  working with college kids  too. This  blog is to introduce my lovely  students. I have  approximately 560 of them. I am  quite the Baby Mama! Enjoy my children.

Third Class: The Talkers This  class is very talkative. This  is  a very good thing. I call them My Chatty Patties.

Third Class: The Talkers This class is very talkative. This is a very good thing. I call them My Chatty Patties.

Fourth Class: The Helpful Class. This  class id  very very helpful.I really enjoyed teaching them. They all remembered my name.

Fourth Class: The Helpful Class. This class id very very helpful.I really enjoyed teaching them. They all remembered my name.

Sixth Class: The Funky Fresh Bunch, These  guys are very so hilarious  silly! I gave  them my QQ. I have  students QQing me already. This  class told me  they want penpals and  they are really into learning about American culture.

Sixth Class: The Funky Fresh Bunch, These guys are very so hilarious silly! I gave them my QQ. I have students QQing me already. This class told me they want pen pals and they are really into learning about American culture.

Fifth Class: Patient Students. I got  lost trying to find the  building. I had  to have  a studetn(Helpful) escort  me to this  class. Thye  waited  so patiently  for  me. I only have 4 boys and the  rest are girls.

Fifth Class: Patient Students. I got lost trying to find the building. I had to have a student(Helpful) escort me to this class. They waited so patiently for me. I only have 4 boys and the rest are girls.       

Class Seven: Where the Boys Are. This  class is boy dominated. the boys are sitting on the sides and in the back. I had two boys who have a good command of English. Th.is class has  my mobile number.

Class Seven: Where the Boys Are. This class is boy dominated. the boys are sitting on the sides and in the back. I had two boys who have a good command of English. Th.is class has my mobile number.