Friday, October 31, 2008

Saturday, November 1 2008

Good morning

It's hard to believe that I have been here a week already. I guess time goes quickly no matter where you are in the world.

Yesterday I had a wonderful opportunity to spend most of the day with a group of Pastors from the states who are here as part of a Leadership Training program. In the morning we did some sightseeing. We took them to the Protestant cemetery and to the 200-year old Protestant Chapel founded by Robert Morrison, the first person to translate the Bible into Chinese. Then we visited the ruins of St Paul's. There was a Chinese man passing out little tote bags with Christian goodies in it, and telling the crowds that "Jesus loves you", but he wouldn't give one to anyone who wasn't Chinese. It wasn't clear which church he was from, but he was adament in his message of Christ's love.

We came back to the Center for lunch and the pastors and their wives had a chance to meet many of the students and eat lunch with them. We spent part of the afternoon visiting the Kun Tam temple and maritime museum, and then came back to the center for services and communion. It was a very uplifting day for the peole working at the Center.

Those of us working at the center stayed for evening classes, ect., and then met the Pastors again around 8:30 for bilingual Bible class which ended around 10:15. It was a very full day, and I am sure they were all tired. It was also very hot yesterday...upper 80s and very humid. It felt a lot like July in Illinois.

Two of our teachers and one of our students left this morning for a 5-week trip around the US visiting churches and presenting a short program about the English Centers in China. They are Doris, John and Flora. Lift them up in your prayers that they have a safe and successful trip (and that Flora gets to see snow, her one wish).

I enjoy reading your comments. They keep me connected to home. I am a little homesick, but I also know that this time will pass quickly.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Later on Thursday

Yes, I am willing to tell on myself. Everyone here had a good chuckle, so you may as well, too

On my way to work this morning I stopped at the Pink Supermarket to buy some lunch and get some candy or cookies to bring home. I figure if I buy them a few at a time, they won't be so heavy to carry back to my apartment (about 1.5 mile walk). There was a group of Chinese tourists inthe store who were obviously getting snacks to take on a bus with them, so I stood back to watch what they bought figuring they know which stuff was the best. When they left I picked up the same package they several of them had bought. It looked like chocolate and toasted coconut.

After I got to work, I thought I would taste one, and share the rest with the students and the rest of the staff, and then get another package tomorrow to take home. To my surprise it wasn't chocolate and toasted coconut, but dried fish and seaweed. It was a little bit of a shock when I tasted it.

My question to the Chinese staff here was, "Why was it right next to the candy?" The answer was is a snack. Snacks are all together on the shelf.

So when you come to China, don't assume that something on the same shelf as the candy is something sweet. The Chinese staff really got a giggle out of my cultural ignorance, but they were very kind.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thursday October 30, 2008

Hello all!
I just finished my first assignment and the team leader liked it so I feel like I am on the right track.

One of the things we do here is have a lunch chat everyday with students. Students come into the center and eat their lunch and practice English. Yesterday one of the students told us that someone said she looked very skinny and wanted to know if she'd been sick. The student didn't know how to answer her in English. She was offended because she didn't feel this person really knew her well enough to say something like that. We told her we would probably say MYOB, and told her what that meant. All of the students at the table got a big kick out of that and turned it into the YMCA song. We all learned another universal topic....the YMCA song is known around the world. We also tried to explain what it means to be a sponge, or to sponge off of others. The lunch time chats are so much fun because we get a chance to talk about things that we wouldn't talk about in a class. One of the students is a TV reporter and she and I talked today about possibly taking a 3 day jaunt to mainland China to see the Great Wall. She was born in Macau and hasn't ever seen it either. We will see. I would like to go with her because her English is a lot better than my Chinese.

Last night when I was opening the third door to my apartment I put in the wrong key and it broke off in the lock. Fortuneately Mary gave me a cell phone to use while I am here so I called the Center and one of the workers who speaks Chinese called a repair person. He got to my apartment in about 45 minutes and got the broken part of the key out of the lock in about 2 minutes. I hadn't broken the key that opened the door. The key I broke was a key to the Center. I got it replaced this morning. When I paid the workman, it was $20 US. When is the last time you had a repair done in your home for $20?

Tomorrow I will have an opportunity to do some sightseeing in Macau with a group of Pastors who have come from the US for leadership training. It will the first time I have had a chance to see any of the more famous sites.

I look forward to reading your comments. Thank you for them. They keep me connected to home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wednesday October 29

Good morning everyone

I have begun my job here and I think I am finally getting over jet lag. Just when I think I'm okay, I hit a wall and have to rest.

An interesting thing about my apartment is that there are no hot water taps. To take a shower, I need to turn the gas heater on 3 or 4 minutes ahead of time. The bathroom is the only room that has hot water. In the kitchen I heat water on a two burner gas hot plate. There is also no central heating or cooling. Each room has a wall air conditioner, and I only have it on when I am in my apartment. My apartment has a second floor which has the bedrooms, but it is really hot up there, and since I am already cooling the living room, so I have decided to sleep on the couch. It is really quite comfortable, and saves a great deal in cooling costs.

To enter my apartment, I have to unlock three doors. The first door opens an area where there are three apartments off a foyer. The second door is a heavy iron gate in front of my entrance door. Its purpose is to allow me to leave my entrance door open for air flow if I chose. With the air on, I keep my entry door closed, but some of my neighbors open their entry door and through the iron bars of the door I can see the inside of their homes as I pass. My neighbor across the hall from me has a big dog, and it barks like crazy when it hears my key in the first door. How many days before I remember to expect it? I always feel like Hyacinth falling into the bushes at Daisy and Onslo's (for you "Keeping Up Appearances" fans.)

I like to go to the park in the morning and read the English newspaper. Since the streets are narrow and the buildings are tall, there isn't much air moving in the streets. The park is open and breezy. Since we are 13 hours ahead of Illinois, does that mean I will know who won the election before you do? Should I call and tell you?

I love reading your comments.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesday October 28

Today I start to work. If anyone has any ideas about what kinds of words or phrases would be particularly helpful to know for someone working the service industry, I would appreciate input. We were talking this morning about how a cab driver would not understand if he was asked to "Pull up", something we say to each other all of the time.

I read the South China English newspaper this morning is the Vasco de Gama Park near my apartment. WhatI know right now is that the Phillies are leading 3 - 1 and the pitcher hit a homerun. Remember when Rick Sutcliff hit a home run against the Padres in 1984? And I read that the largest newspaper in Alaska endorsed Barack Obama. That was interesting.

My apartment is in the old part of Macau. The streets are very narrow, and the side streets are full of fresh markets. I have been spending a couple hours in the mornings taking in the atmosphere and walking around the neighborhood. Today I ventured farther than yesterday, and found a medicine shop. In Macau one can buy any medicine over the counter, including antibiotics, blood pressure, ect. The medicine shops also sell a huge variety of herbs and roots and so forth. In these shops the vendors donot speak any English, and I have only learned how to say Thank You and Pardon me (an important phrase for me). So until I find someone who speaks and reads Chinese, I won't be putting any strange roots in my suitcase.

To get to my apartment, I have to climb 7 flights of stairs. It's sort of like going down to the river at home: I try not to forget anything. However, I really like where I am staying. The neighborhood has so much atmosphere. It always smells like garlic and sesame oil. There is a restaurant on mystreet that has live seafood, including turtles, in the window that one can chose for dinner. I am trying everyday to eat soemthing I couldn't get at home. Yesterday I had dragon fruit, which is white and has tiny black seeds. It was mostly just sweet, without much flavor, but would give great contrast to a fruit salad.

I must get to work.

Thank you for your prayers.

Monday October 27

Hi everyone!
I arrived in Hong Kong at 4:30 yesterday. We are 13 hours ahead of Illinois, so right now it is 3:30 in the afternoon here and you are all sleeping.

Today I took a walk around the neighborhood where I have my apratment. Itis in the older section of Macau and full of character and street vendors. I found a place for breakfast, and today I had macaroni with ham in a soup base. The team leader here told me that I will find the same menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It actually makes it pretty simple.

The temperature is very it is about 85, and I brought mostly fall clothes. So we went to a part of town where there are several export liquidators. I found some nice tee shirts for about a buck a piece.

We are having dinner at one of the other teacher's home tonight. Everyone here is so helpful, and I am looking forward to starting my job of developing curriculm tomorrow.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Morning October 24

IN one day I will be on my way. This is a test, this is only a test.