Memories of a Chinese Adventure

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November 29, 2011 by greenhouse04

On the Great Wall of China

I was working on cleaning out old files on our computer today, and came across several from our time in China.  We were there from September 2005 to June 2006, our 2nd year of marriage.  We went to teach English at a school in the Guilin area – a big tourist area because of the unique mountains that rise straight out of flat land.  It was a wonderful year!!  The files I went through brought back a ton of memories from that year!

For one semester I taught the basic English class at our school.  A big help in learning another language is to learn songs in that language.  So I taught the class several well-known American songs.  I found the old song sheets that I’d made – the songs were “You Are My Sunshine,” “It’s a Small World,” “Somewhere Out There,” “I Love the Mountains,” and “I’ve Got a Daisy On My Toe.”  (Laura – you’ll remember that last one!)  Why did I pick those!?  They are simple, catchy, and “It’s a Small World” is appropriate when you’re in another culture.  Also, maybe I was a little homesick for my family, so I taught “Somewhere Out There.”  I remember that these words from the song meant a lot:

And even though I know how very far apart we are
Its nice to think we might be wishin’ on the same bright star.
And when the night wind starts to sing its lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we’re sleepin’ underneath the same big sky!

I think about that now with both my brothers in China.  They’re seeing the same stars, moon and sun that I am!

I also found a Good Friday service that I’d come up with for Mr. and I to do together.  Since there was no church to go to, we did several services like that on our own.  I remember also doing one at Christmas.  They were special, unique times of using our resources (a few worship CD’s, songs we knew, our Bibles) to worship and mediate together.  You never appreciate the fellowship and resources you have until you’re in a country in which they are very limited!

Then I opened a file that was a break-down of our “work” expenditures.  We had a budget of 4,000 RMB for the entire 10 months we were there to use for expenses related to our students.  That would be equivalent to about 500 dollars.  I’m pleased to say that we had 4oo RMB left over by the end of the year!

Then of course I found all the letters we sent out to our supporters before leaving.  We were accepted by our agency in June, went through training in July, and by the end of August had over 80% of our support for the year!  We made it to China by the first day of school in early September.  It was all the Lord’s doing for sure – when we first heard that we had 6 weeks to raise over $15,000 we didn’t think it could be done.  But it was!

I also found several documents of English idiomatic phrases, a few of which I taught my beginner English students.  Just imagine trying to figure the following phrases out if you’re not a native English speaker:
“all ears”
“apple of my eye”
“all the tea in China”
“draw a blank”
“eagle eyes”
“fat chance!”
“fly off the handle”
“beat about the bush”
“bat an eyelid”
“clean as a whistle”
“couch potato”
“could eat a horse”
and many more!

A document outlining our weekly schedule was also in the files.  I would homeschool two American girls two mornings a week (math and science), eat lunch every day with either an individual student who was teaching me Chinese or with one of the classes, have Chinese tutoring twice a week, eat supper with Mr.’s class once a week, have two school parties a week, a ladies’ meeting, teachers’ meeting, and skype with my parents on Sunday mornings (Saturday evenings for them).  We did a lot with the students, which was why we were there.  I miss all the time we had for playing games, talking, and just hanging out learning about our different cultures.

I also had our December calandar with all our Christmas activities on it.  We had a total of 6 Christmas parties, 4 cookie-baking parties, and a few long days with nothing going on in which I could think about my family back home and feel homesick.

I did get a wonderful Christmas present – a package from my parents.  It had cds of Christmas music (we didn’t have any with us), dove chocolates (yum!), and some Christmas decorations in it.  It was pretty funny seeing “Made in China” on the decorations.  They were made in China, sent to the USA, then mailed back to us in China, then packed up and brought back to the USA with us!

And of course, I’m so thankful for all the pictures we took.  It’ll be fun to look at them for years to come and keep the precious memories alive.  *Sniff*… but they make me miss all our dear students and friends!

At our student, Sally’s house for a Chinese New Year dinner of… dog!


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