Sunday, January 1, 2012

The old has gone; The new has come

The year 2011 is over.  Our team had a meal, set off some fireworks, and watched a movie.


Let's take a look back at 2011.

I started the year with my family in Albuquerque, where my brother had just gotten married.  Then I continued on to Beijing, India, Thailand, and Indonesia over my winter holiday.  I returned to my town of Qufu and had a busy semester teaching, hosting my parents, working with students, packing up my apartment, and saying goodbye.  Then I took a trip to visit a student in southern China and headed for the USA.

In the USA, I did the usual summer rounds of seeing friends and family, this time extending as far as Alaska and Texas.  I ate lots of sweet corn, went to my cousin's wedding, drove around in a borrowed Oldsmobile, and attended a rodeo.

I will always remember 2011 as the Year of Travel.

Returning to China in August, I started the new semester in my new seaside city of Rizhao, with a new team but a very similar job.  I spent the semester getting to know my new students (more slowly than I would like), learning about my new city and campus, and continuing to enjoy my life in China. 

In 2011, I got in my first fender bender (Albuquerque), saw my first glacier (Alaska), went to my first Chinese wedding, ate my first cicadas, and saw the Great Wall of China for the fifth time.  I graduated my first class of students, had my first former student pass away, and taught a total of about 400 students over the course of the year.

Some of God's biggest blessings in 2011 were allowing me to deepen a few key Qufu friendships and see those students grow in Him, allowing me to visit people and places all over the world, and bringing me to a city where my community is much bigger than in Qufu.

The year 2012 promises to be a Year of Change.  This summer I will leave China and go back to find a job in the US.  Which job?  Which city?  Who knows?  I feel at peace with the decision to leave China this year but there are certainly many unknowns ahead.

Welcome, 2012!

My roommate I celebrated the first day of 2012 at one of our new favorite places: Yummy Bakery


  1. Correction: It was NOT your first glacier. If I remember right, you were in attendance for the mountainside glaciers we saw in the Tetons and other places in the rockies!

  2. Greetings, My name is Mike and I am currently working on an M.A. in international TESOL in NY. I've been doing some research on Chinese cities and I'm starting to think that Rizhao is the best city for me. Your blog has been a great source of info, but if you have any personal advice I could use it. Do you have any advice on how to find a job in Rizhao? Thanks for your time and your blog, it's a great resource!

  3. Bryan -- huh. I forgot about that.

    Mike -- Rizhao is a fantastic place for foreigners to live. It's a nice size, the weather and environment are good, and quality of life is pretty good.

    Not sure on the job search. If you're interested in working for a university, you might try contacting them directly. There are several in my area -- Shandong Foreign Languages University, Rizhao Polytechnic Institute, Jining Medical School, a sports university, a maritime college, and probably more. Many are branch campuses from universities in other cities.

    English training schools that provide extra evening and weekend classes for kids are really common in China, and many employ foreign teachers. Not sure how you'd find them from Stateside, though.

    I just transferred into this job from another campus, so I have no idea how to start a job search from scratch. Good luck!

  4. Wow, just Googled Yummy Bakery Rizhao China and your blog popped up. My daughter who is studying there this year made sure we went there. Great treats! We just got back last week. We just got a picture of an ad they put out and her picture is one of 3 in the ad! :) look for the Caucasian in the Yummy ad, her name is Amy. Enjoy Rizhao!