Today I went to the bakery to get a loaf of bread and I opted for some yummy cookies too. I stood in line at the cash register and the look on the face of the cashier was priceless. A foreigner is here how do I tell her how much this cost. See I didn’t open with ‘Nihao’ hello or ‘Duoshao tian’ how much is it. I looked at her and she said ‘Ershi kuai wu’ I repeated her and went about getting the money ‘ershi kuai wu’ is ‘20.5’. There was Chinese teacher behind me and after I repeated the amount she went ‘huh’ then the other girl at the counter bagged my purchase and I said ‘xiexie’ thank you to her. I heard the Chinese teacher say ‘Ta de Zhong wen hen hao.’ ‘Her Chinese is very good.’ I left the store after saying Bye-bye which is more common than ‘zaijian’ good bye. Once outside I had a good laugh. It is always fun when someone new hears me speak Chinese because they usually figure another foreigner who won’t speak our language.
18 November, 2014
Hello again. The month of November got started quiet but it has quickly shown itself to be an interesting month. Days 1-5 were filled with the normal stuff, work teaching English, or having
Piano or Chinese lessons. Day 6 is when this month started to get busy...
6 November, 2014
I was asked to be a judge in a choral competition with my piano teacher Wang YiChen 王怡辰 or Athena. Afterward we had a little snack. The competition was very good as the choirs consisted of first year students, some of whom are in my oral English classes. While the singing was in Chinese I could judge things like paying attention to the director, singing in tune, enthusiasm and stage presence. Several of my Chinese colleagues were there that night too.
7 November, 2014
I went to the gym with Joni/Lui Jun 刘俊. At his fitness club I swam for the first time in three years or san nian 三年. We had a snack, showered and swam and then had dinner before he showed me China’s national sport…PINGPONG!
8 November, 2014
Joni came by and showed me how to cook a Chinese meal. We had a good time cooking in my kitchen and then eating what we had prepared.
9 November, 2014
I knew there were more foreigners in Zhengzhou, but I had no idea the number was up to 3000! A selected group of us Between 50 – 100; joined our Chinese hosts on a tour of Xinmi city near Zhengzhou. Those of you who have read my posts before know that with my friend Nena I visited there last year but this time I saw completely different things. We strolled up Qing Ping Hill and went to SANCS Sino-American Nonprofit Cooperative Services home for children.
10 November, 2014
I was asked with Jennifer another foreign teacher, to judge an English Song Contest. One of the contestants is a young lady who is in both of our classes. Emily did well and sang with the most stage presence of any of the students that night.
11 November, 2014
The DENTIST! Nate and I have been putting this off for 3 years but we had to go. His allergy to chocolate was making him feel like he was having dental problems and I do have a cavity. I will have to go back and get it filled. QI YAN was our guide on the 11th and also for me on the 18th as well. I’m glad she can help us.
12 November, 2014
Musical English Corner. Every other Wednesday I help Jennifer with the Musical English Corner for EIE. We sing simple songs in English and teach vocabulary words. I get to play my guitar.
14 November, 2014
Out with Joni for a fish dinner.
15 November, 2014
Today we went to lunch with Cathy and Catherine. Two Chinese teachers who teach English to students. Chinese teachers teach grammar and writing while foreigners like me teach oral English. Lunch was good and Cathy brought her daughter, Lucy.
16 and 17 just teaching days.
And that brings us to today. I am going back to the dentist this afternoon. Let me run and brush my teeth!
Wow, where has the month gone? It was just September and now October is GONE!
I’ll make this a quick update. This month amazing things have happened.
Sept. 29 – Oct. 6: I got to live with a Chinese family for a week during National Day.
Oct. 8: My classes started for the majority of my classes, the freshmen have finished their mandatory military training.
Oct. 12: I was asked to speak at an English Association meeting, talking about the importance of English and learning it well.
Oct. 13: Lunch with Echo. A Chinese custom to thank those who gave her give her gifts when her daughter was born.
Oct. 16: Nate’s drum lesson but Dodo’s dog Cookie was the star.
Oct. 16: First lesson with new piano teacher. Wang YiChen/Athena
Oct. 23: Drummer Nate, and impromptu English lesson and lunch
Oct. 24 and 31 Shopping at the Textile Market
Oct. 25 Guardians of the Galaxy
Oct. 26 Farewell dinner for Sean
Oct 31 Halloween Party/English Corner
I went to Fuyang 阜阳 with Emily and stayed with her family over the National Day holiday week. We travelled to the hometown of Emily’s brother in law or jiefu 姐夫(elder sisters husband) Qianshan 潜山, China. We saw a temple on Xiao Manzhu Mountain in Anqing City in Anhui 安徽province. We also went up Tian Zhu Shan 天柱山 which I found much more fun as I was alone and other people could approach me. When with Chinese to interpret people ignore me or the foreigner and talk to the Chinese person. When alone there is no choice but to talk to me and I can practice my Chinese.
School started after National Day. My second year class has been going since September but now my first year students have finished with their military training.
I was asked to play and sing and speak at the English Association meeting tonight. It was very nice. Like last year, there was a lot of traditional Chinese music, clothing, and life that was discussed. Tonight they wanted me and Jennifer to talk on the importance of English. Recently I had to go get my bike repaired. I was nervous as I didn’t think I could do it in Chinese, much to my surprise the clerk spoke to me in English. While people think about English for larger companies, a small local store where an occasional foreigner is going to stop in is a wonderful place to have English skills. That is what I talked about.
Echo had a little baby in December and I went with some Chinese teachers and gave her a baby blanket. Chinese custom says that she must have a lunch to thank the people who did this. So for the second time I was able to sit in on a Chinese tradition. My oral Chinese lessons are paying off as I was more able to understand some of the Chinese being spoken at the table.
Nate’s drum teacher Dodo has a cute dog named Cookie. This is her picture.
Today was also my first piano lesson with my new teacher Wang Yi Chen 王怡辰or Athena. She lives on the 6th floor and has a baby grand piano in her living room. I am a little envious as Chinese teachers have a much larger home than the dorm room I am in. They have room for a proper piano.
Singing and splashing in the rain! I got rainboots and when it rained recently I wore them and looked for all the puddles I could find. I took pictures of puddles and my boots.
Drummer Nate…enough said.
Impromptu English lesson for friends of Dodo then we went to lunch after his lesson.
Shopping at the same Textile market QiYan and I went to the first year here in Zhengzhou. Because of construction it will soon be all gone but for now it is there still.
We have a movie theater near us called Oscar and we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy in English when it opened. Foreign teachers Tom, Myrna, Darren, and I were there. Nate and Boni also came. We went for the 3:40 showing but it was sold out so we waited for the 5:30 and it was worth the wait. Zoe Salada who plays Lt. Uhura was in the movie and it had lots of music from the 60’s to the 80’s. This was an awesome movie and we caught it in English.
Farewell Dinner to Sean. We have had a lot of teachers leaving this year.
Tonight was the Halloween Party. I asked Jennifer if the students could sing happy birthday to my mom and they did in English and Chinese. Movies were watched, a costume contest was held and everyone had a great time.
13 September, 2014
Yesterday I was out for lunch with a friend and he then took me to visit another friend of his at his office. I got to experience a traditional Chinese tea service. We had green tea 绿茶 lucha and red tea 红茶 hongcha. As you will see in the pictures the tea table has a lowered center section. This is where the hot water is poured into the tea pot and the tea is then poured into an other vessel for servicing. The first brew is not drunk it is used to wash out the cups. Since the center of the table is like a drain board with slats for water or tea to flow down to the drain the cups are emptied right where they are then refilled with drinkable tea. Green tea is still my favorite although red tea has a nice flavor as well. I am eager to try oolong tea which a student told me about. It is a fermented green tea. I was promised that it has a stronger flavor but it is still nice. Chinese tea is traditionally drunk without any sugar or honey masking the taste of this clean brew. I’m a convert to tea this way. Thanks to my friend William and his friend John for introducing me to the delights of Chinese tea time.
Well today was a rainy and wet day in Zhengzhou but for my son it was a good day. My new friend Dodo (like the pre-historic bird) teaches drums and she arranged for Nate to get a sample drum lesson. If he likes it then we can look into getting him drum lessons. Only hitch is the location…CBD which is two bus rides and a subway trip away.
We were there for an hour and he learned quite a lot about playing the drums. Dodo gave him a set of drum sticks to practice with and he took a picture of the drum music so he could practice what he learned today. After this we took the train to the Western Dennis store where I got a few groceries for my house. Shopping there is always pricey so I like to do that once or twice a month and shop at the Dennis two doors down from my house more often.
Nate and I ate at a Korean Restaurant in the mall with the Western Dennis. I had Kim chi Fried Rice and Nate had Curry Beef. We then got back on the subway for Tong Bai Lu Zhan (Tong Bai Road station) and once we got there I spotted a young man that looked familiar…Michael my first Chinese tutor. Michael graduates this year with his Masters. He was also in CBD on a job interview that was successful. I took Nate and Michael’s picture because the first time we met Michael, Nate was no where near as tall as Michael but now…things have changed.
A few days ago I received a notice of a ‘Foreign Teachers Summit Forum and Essay Contest’ being held here in Henan. This is the first time that this event is being held. I was asked to write something for the essay contest and am currently getting it translated. I will post it if I am able to do so once it gets translated.
25 August, 2014
This is year 3 in China! Life is very different than it was three years ago. Today got started like many Mondays this summer with me going to CBD to tutor. On my way back from there several children waived and said hello. Today was the first day of school for many primary, middle and high school students in the area. And the sidewalks were crowded with cars parked on them. That will probably be something that no matter how many years I live in China I will always have to do a double take on.
Today Angel, one of the other teachers at Top Ten gave Ethan and me these wonderfully large peaches. I of course had to photograph mine before I made it disappear. J
On the way home something unheard of happened, I actually got to sit down on the subway and the bus from the subway to the university. I was shocked for a good part of the bus ride home it was me and the driver so I enjoyed the silence and took pictures along the route home.
Once home Boni and I went shopping in search of writing paper. My first serious piano instructor Mrs. Eluhow, lives in the US in the same house she lived in when I was her student years ago. She doesn’t use email so I’m writing a letter to her. But before we could leave the house I noticed a lizard sitting in my kitchen. Ofcourse I had to take its picture. While Boni and I were out she took me up to her room where I saw some wonderful pictures that her boyfriend has drawn and art work from two other friends of hers. She has some very talented friends. She also has some artwork on her was that says Songs of Joy which made me think of the Captain and Tennille song “Song of Joy” and I played it for her. She was wowed because she just thought this looked nice and had no idea that there was a song by a similar title.
21 August, 2014
Well this will be almost two weeks here goes.
On Tuesday the 12 I did nothing, it was my day off. I was a lazy girl just practiced and did nothing else…it was GLORIOUS!
Wednesday the 13th found me walking around Manhattan in the CBD area taking pictures before I taught the last lesson with Victoria. I didn’t know it was the last lesson but it turned out that way. She was baking so part of our English was to talk about baking. Something I miss from America.
Thursday was another teaching day as was Friday. My Friday student was in the CBD area and his lesson is in the morning. This gave me a chance to see RUSH HOUR in Zhengzhou. I usually have a project I am working on while on the bus and miss the traffic, but on this day I opted to check out my surroundings. Rush hour hear looks like Rush hour in Atlanta, GA or Washington DC. I’m also certain that any major city in America would look the same. A person going to work is the same everywhere.
Saturday and Sunday the weekend! As always since January; I had my piano lesson on Saturday and with a student started a Bible Study on Sunday. I also got up early both days to try eating a traditional Chinese breakfast. Very tasty with soya-bean milk doujiang, 豆浆 and a leek, and egg pancake that has several names. Xian bing 馅饼，and cai he采合 are two of the names I’ve been told.
Monday was Ethan’s lesson in the morning and then lunch with a friend. I learned that I am a one beer limit girl. Life is real special with two beers in me…LOL!
Tuesday I had lunch with a new friend and some old friends.
Wednesday sadly I was home sick but my wifi did get fixed so now I can surf on my phone at home without huge charges. My student friend Ted and I had dinner together.
That brings us to today which has been full of experiences already. In a few hours I will teach so this morning I went to get some materials printed for today and tomorrow. I totally forgot that my curly hair would make me stand out. (like that is the ONLY thing that makes me stick out…hehe) anyway several people had to come up and inspect my hair so I learned how the sentence ‘my hair is naturally curly’ looks in Chinese. Once again, thank heavens for my cell phone translator! I cooked lunch for me and I thought of my friend Nena who gave me her rice cooker when she went back to America. I’m looking forward to dinner tonight. Myrna another foreign teacher and I are going out.
11 August, 2014
First I want to thank my Best Friend Ellen. Saturday after 3 days of rain I was feeling a little blue or sad. She reminded me of all the things I have done since I got to China two almost three years ago. Learning to communicate was and is the most visible but there are SO many things that I forgot that I learned and adapted to because for me it is life. Thank you for your words, they helped me feel much better about me. I also want to thank Wang, my piano teacher and a very important person to me. With all the not really easy piano music I’ve been playing I was starting to wonder if piano playing was really something I’m good at. You gave me some new music that is just as beautiful and much more pianist to a friendly! Not only did you introduce me to a new composer but you trusted me with something of yours that means a great deal to you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 谢谢你王。
Today I walked from my first lesson to the subway to get to Manhattan and my second student of the day. It was a nice walk and of course I was able to take more pictures than if I had caught the bus (that didn’t come while I while walked so maybe I’d still be standing the waiting).
As some who know me already know I love bridges and there is a lovely bridge that crosses a waterway on the bus route that I walked today. You can see so much more when you walk than riding the bus! However, I remember when I first got to China after my life with my car I’d never thought of walking three blocks but today it was no big deal, or as Chef Anne would say a POC (piece of cake)…LIFE has indeed changed. I took lots of pictures and to answer the question Ellen asked about my communication skills here’s an update. On this walk I was reading some street signs with and without pinyin. However reading large amounts of Chinese say in a book is still something that I’m working on. Sitting here in Dico’s I can understanding a few of the words I hear in conversations around me. I can also tell taxi drivers how to get me home and I can answer a few questions like Where are you from? What do you do? How long have you been in China? And probably the most frequently asked question especially after my young female students meet my son. How old is your son?
Please do look at the pictures. And yes this happened on Monday 11 August. I’ve been without internet and unable to post for a few days.
It's a rainy day in Zhengzhou and autumn seems to have come to town. The temps are much cooler and since it is rainy today like yesterday it feels even cooler.
Well I'm early to teach in the CBD district so I thought I'd take pictures and write my blog. All this month and part of last month I've been coming out to the Manhattan and CBD areas to teach English. The students are part of an English Training School named Top Ten. It is run by friends of my boss at the university Zhang Yi.
Anyway this is a very nice new area of Zhengzhou where there are western stores like Metro and western style restaurants like Burger King, Subway, and KFC. Seeing foreigners isn't quite the surprise it is and here I can often move unnoticed. I say often because today on the subway a boy saw me when I looked up and pointed me out to his friend. I smile and say hello I take my unofficial job of Goodwill Ambassador seriously and I know that some foreigners have not been as careful with how they present themselves.
On the bus I usually get a second look but once I'm on the subway normally I'm just another person. Today was different a boy glanced my way and was excited to be on the same subway car as a foreigner. He waived and then poked his friend and pointed my way. That was different from most days.
I'm in the CBD or Central Business District and to get here I took a bus from my home to the subway station and then took another bus to the school. I've posted pictures about downtown Zhengzhou before so I'll post pictures that are of the CBD. Once I get of the subway I then I take a walk to the bus stop. There are lots of office buildings for the city and province. The PSB, and the building where my expert certificate comes from are here. I get on the bus and then there is another stop and then a beautiful bridge. After that there are two more stops until I get to the street I need. Across the street from where I get off is a bus parking lot and a primary school just beyond that. There are numerous car maintenance shops on the street. I walk down one block and turn right. Top Ten is on this street on the left. Today’s lesson was marked by lots of the children coming from the English class stopping to say hi to me. My student said the children love me and I said it is often this way with me.
Qixi Festival 七夕莭
This is Chinese Valentine’s Day, the day when those in love go to the temple to thank their God for the love and a day for those who aren’t in love to go make petitions for a good love.
This is the day where in Chinese mythology the weaving maid and the cowherd are allowed their yearly meeting. For those of us on earth and in China now we are hopeful that this will not be a one time meeting with our loves. Traditional gifts for women to give me are hand made gifts like a scarf or hat. These will display your domestic skills to your potential mate.
The literal meaning ‘night of sevens;’ this falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. It celebrates the meeting of the cowherd Niulang with the weaver girl Zhinu. Zhinu was the youngest daughter of the King of Heaven and she had a special gift for weaving the clouds and rainbows in the sky. She along with her six older sisters had come to earth and bathed in a lake. Niulang saw her and fell in love, stole her clothes and would only return them once she agreed to marry him. Her sisters could return home but without her clothes she couldn’t. The king was upset that his Heavens were not as pretty without his youngest daughter. The king sent the girl’s grandmother to retrieve her and his daughter was placed on the star Vega and her husband the cowherd was put on the star Altair. This one day a year is when they have been granted an opportunity to see one another by the king.
This is a famous myth and first appeared during the Han Dynasty over 2600 years ago.
Other names for this day:
Qing ren jie 情人莭, Chinese Valentine’s Day, qiqiao jie 乞巧莭, night of sevens, and double seventh festival.