Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dear Reader: Daily Life

Dear Reader,

It's been a few days since I've written, so I thought I'd catch you up on everything here.  One of the leaders in my teaching organization is in town for a few days, so I made breakfast and met with her this morning.  I'm feeling quite home-maker-y these days, since I've had students over for dinner the last two nights.

The first night I decided to make spaghetti.  For the sauce, I used some ground beef that I'd been excited to find last week.  Either I'm a terrible cook or there was something just not right about that beef.  The sauce tasted really weird.  My students dutifully ate their portions and I decided not to tell them that it was bad even by American standards.  I'll be honest -- I don't really like cooking that much.

Last night I didn't have much time to make dinner, so I threw together some sloppy joes and a fruit salad.  It was wery deliciours.  One of the students told me she saw me on local TV just a few days before Chinese New Year.  She is the third person to tell me she saw me on TV over the holiday!  How could this be?  I was in Thailand at the time.  Apparently, there was a local newscast about travel and "I" was walking around outside somewhere and turned to wave to the camera.  I have no recollection of waving to any TV cameras at any time during the last few months.  I wonder if I have a long-lost twin.

Today is my teammate's 18th birthday and we'll have a team dinner to celebrate.  We also had a big meal with our city fellowship on Sunday.  It occurs to me that I've never told you much about how I've done fellowship for this past three years' worth of Sundays.  We usually meet together with other foreigners in one of our apartments for a couple hours in the late morning.  Someone will prepare a few songs that we sing together, sometimes with a keyboard or guitar.  We listen to a downloaded sermon, discuss it, and pray together.

It's nice to have group that's small enough that we can all contribute and all pray for each other.  I can't help but think it would be a good idea for more people to adopt a home church model.  Obviously we're not a perfect fellowship, but I think it's worth mentioning that we've never split over doctrinal differences, we've never run a multi-million dollar building campaign, we've never fought over the style of music we use, and every member of the group is an active member.  What do you think?  Could this model catch on in America?

On Monday morning I joined a weekly Chinese class at a different university.  It's supposed to be a high-level class.  Am I a high-level Chinese student?  Yeah right!  Remember: I am still 99% illiterate in Chinese.  No matter.  I am sooooo ready to be done having a tutor, so I will sit through a class that's way above my head if it gives me the justification to ditch tutoring forever.  There are three students in the class: Me, my teammate Jason, and an older Japanese teacher.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Yesterday we had a banquet with some of our school officials.  I ate some spicy chicken gizzard and a whole lot of squishy stuff from the sea.

Hope this finds you well.  I'll include some photos for you to look at.  Oh -- haha!  I almost forgot another story I wanted to tell.  My teammate Sara had agreed to teach some basic piano to a couple students who really wanted to learn.  (Note: "a couple.")  The day before the lesson, a student called to say that five students would come to learn piano.  When they actually showed up, there were nine!  That's China -- plans can't keep up with changes.

OK, now I'm really done.  Have a good week!

Sara's nine surprise piano students

Piano playas

Saw these roller-blading kids at KFC.  They went up and down the stairs and we even saw a few hit up the restrooms.  I wonder how you manage a squatty potty in blades.

At my Chinese class

Note all the Chinese characters on the board.  I can't read these.

My notes from class.  Note the absence of characters.

Can you identify this food on my plate at the banquet?

Abalone seaweed soup?

My team and our leaders at the banquet

Sunday fellowship 1

Sunday fellowship 2

City fellowship celebrating my teammate's birthday


  1. That chinese lesson looks like math!

  2. I can't tell what the gray stuff is on your banquet platter. Looks a little like raw crawdad? Also, I'm jealous that you got free abalone soup!