Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sports Meeting

Girl's relay team....with me and their "coach" Allen.

Hertz and Hank

Sport's Meeting has arrived...QU Stadium

My Freshman are in white with red hats.

Honey & Claire. She is my "honey!" She helps me with everything.

Sunshine and Bryant (with the girl's relay award). My two tallest boys about to participate in the high jump.

Part of the boy's relay team.....(Allen, Potter, James, Terry, Hanley, Rock, Kevin, Jack)

More relay team.... (Jason, Bolt, Sunshine, Eric, Wayne, Charles, Allen, Steven, Henry)

My long jumpers--Bolt and Shane

Dance team....not bad, but Whit could definitely show them a thing or two. (Emily, Sophia Martina, Vivian, Me, Emma, Stephanie)

Sunshine is extremely tall for a Chinese boy and he loves his name!

First races of the day....... Love these kids!

Last week the kids had "Sports Meeting" at the University. It was great because I didn't have to teach on Friday. It was also great because it was excellent weather, a fun competition and the kids are so awesome to be with. Sports Meeting is the equivalent of a big track and field meet. There were kids who were athletes and kids who had never run before. All the students were there cheering their classmates on; opening and closing ceremonies; cheerleaders and dancing groups, etc. My freshman were so excited to have me there--they were constantly taking care of me--coming to find me when I arrived and escorting me to the group, putting paper down to sit on, holding a parasol over my head so I'm out of the sun, bringing me water or a treat and making sure I'm comfortable. I was interviewed by the school newspaper and radio station about 8 times. (The kids brought the newspaper to school and were so "proud of me"....they don't realize that I'm the "token" foreignerI got to wander around on the field because they thought I knew what I was doing. Anyway, back to the grindstone this week. The kids are giving class presentations the next few weeks and they've been really great so far.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Wonderful Mothers!!
There is nothing as special as a mother and our mother's prove just that.... Happy Mother's Day to Mom Packer and Mom Miller--we cherish you and the lives you lead. We thank you for your constant love and examples if goodness. We love that our daughters are such great moms as well--teaching and nurturing and sharing their spirit with their beautiful children. What can I say, but our families are full of good mothers. Our sisters are all working so hard to raise valiant children. We couldn't be prouder. There are so many friends we love that have taught us through example. Happy Day to all! I, of course, have to pay tribute to Whitney who is mothering the pugs while I'm away....a little different, but still demanding....smile..... Now, can you believe this post is not about China!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Written Word

I believe this sign was supposed to say "Peak" no "Reak".... there is a legend of the Flying Peak (mountain) coming from India......
I don't think of mentioned the great signs in China. When they are translated into English they are usually pretty funny. This is just a sampling from our last trip, but you get the idea....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hangzhou, Suzhou & Zhouzhuang

Beautiful West Lake in Hangzhou
The Chinese are all about posing....the girls taught me this...means I'm cute.....hahaha.
We fit right in.
Spring has arrived and the gardens are gorgeous!
Grand Canal in Suzhou....homes along the canal......
I've got to bring one of these little guys home. Stone pugs!
Hmmmmm......I guess when you gotta go--you gotta go!
Venice of the East.
Lovin' the waterways!
Kept looking for my frogs, but I think they're in Hawaii.
Now we're in Pisa--just kidding, but it is a leaning tower too.
Tiger Hill--3 Tigers together!
The Humble Administrator's Gardens (is that an oxymoron?)
You can hardly imagine the flowering trees and gardens.
So peaceful.
Terry said, "them ain't painted on!"

We had a four day holiday the first of May and took a trip to see what some say is the most beautiful part of China. It didn't disappoint. Hangzhou is so green and lush. We visited the Lingyin Monastery and Hupao Spring Park. Thursday night we walked about seven miles around the famous West Lake or Pearl Lake and enjoyed the afternoon and early evening. It was literally spectacular.....gardens, bridges, quaint pathways, fountains, small cafes, wooden boats.... The next morning we took a boat trip on the same lake. Relaxing and perfect weather.

About an hour bus ride away is Suzhou, home of canals and classic Chinese style gardens sometimes referred to as the "Venice of the East." We took a boat tour on the Grand Canal, visited the largest traditional garden in Suzhou, the 10th century, Humble Administrator's Garden, Lingering Garden, Museum of Embroidery and finally Tiger Hill, Suzhou's best park. Tiger Hill still contains its remarkable leaning pagoda, a seven story structure dating from 961 AD. We saw Venice and Pisa, both, here in Suzhou.

Finally, we ended the tour in Zhouzhuang a small East China ancient town. We took a boat trip on the canals and visited the old street, the Zhang and Shen Family Mansion. We had the famous, local sweet pig's elbow for lunch and bused back to Shanghai for a flight to Qingdao Sunday evening. Our guide was telling us some stories and mentioned waking up to the "Gooster." (goose--rooster????) Did you know China has such an unusual bird......seriously.....he couldn't say "rooster" even with coaching.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weifang International Kite Festival

Kite factory and museum
Precious cargo.....
I'm going to help make a picture.
Lovely gardens. Me & Jane B.
Now I'm helping with the picture. I'm going to be famous.
Rows and rows of newly made kites.
Whittling the bamboo for the kite frame.
Ironing the freshly painted silk.
Painting the kites......
Kites in action.....enough people???
Off to market we go.
Zibo guards--big and small.
Coming mom. We're just taking photos on the porch!
Hey, no! pet me....pet me.....!
Streets of Zibo.
Sisterhood.....gotta smile!
This little lady had her feet bound as a child. I wanted to put my foot up as a comparison.......
She was adorable!

The University took us on an overnight tour to Weifang and the International Kite Festival. We walked the streets of Zibo first (ancient commercial center) and the next day visited the kite festival and a kite making factory/museum. It was incredible to see them paint and then iron each piece of material or silk for the kite. There were some pretty spectacular kites--real works of art. Of course, I was more than delighted to play with the pug I found in Zibo! I went to the restroom at the kite festival which consisted of 4 makeshift walls around a trench where 4 ladies could squat side by side (no stalls). I can live without that experience again and I'm actually surprised I haven't seen it before now.