September 9, 2008

12:2 Time September 2008

Stepping Out

I can hardly believe we’ve already been at training for over a week. We’ve settled into the hotel room in La Quinta, California where we’ll be living until September 23. Just in case you’re wondering, we’re not actually staying at a La Quinta in La Quinta. It’s the Embassy Suites. We hear they got a really good deal for our group to stay here as it’s not exactly peak season since the daily weather reports are varying versions of “Abundant Sunshine. Currently 109 degrees.” Word to the wise: don’t leave the hotel if at all possible!

Before stepping out onto the plane

We had quite a goodbye gathering at the Lubbock airport last Friday. We sure were glad to have enough help with the six 50 lb. suitcases we checked (this doesn’t include the two backpacks, one diaper bag, one rolling carry-on suitcase, one computer bag, and the stroller)! To tell the truth, I felt royalty when I finally got to the hotel room in La Quinta because I never had to carry a single one of the big suitcases! We arrived in California and there was a large group waiting to help, then there was more help to get them all to the rooms. I did carry Kanyon & my backpack all day, though! He was a great little traveler! We had 3 take-offs and landings because we were on one of those flights that lands in El Paso but you don’t get off the plane. It was a little harder than a direct flight because as soon as we reached cruising altitude and Kanyon’s ears adjusted it was time to descend! He sure did sleep well when we finally got him to bed that first night.

Training Classmates

There are about 50 of us in the University Teaching Program and around 35 in the China Teaching Fellowship at training. It is awesome to meet people in every stage of life here at training as they are all preparing to serve in China. To name a few, we’re inspired by Andy, the recent college grad who’s never been to Asia, Gene & Michelle and their two daughters, who are three and nine, and Woody & Sherry who are leaving behind their grandchildren! We’re learning a lot about Chinese culture from people like Joanne who is an American who speaks fluent Mandarin and has served in China for the past 24 years.

The training continues through September with the meaty courses in TEFL training. This is not to say the other courses are not meaty, as we have been soaking in everything presented.

30 Hours of Travel

The last day of training can more accurately be described as the longest day ever. We are boarding a bus from our hotel at 2:30 AM on September 23 to travel to the airport in LA. Then board the flight over the Pacific Ocean to China before arriving in Beijing at 2:25 PM on September 24. To try to “beat” jet-lag, we will then try our best to stay awake until an appropriate hour that night to go to sleep. All totaled, we will be traveling, dozing off and on, for at least 30 hours. All that on a less than a full night’s sleep the previous day. So we will be awake for 47 of the last 50 hours.

Stuffing Diapers

As we were preparing to check in for our flight to California, we had some last minute packing to do at the check in counter. Not being able to accurately weigh our bags before the airport, we knew that some of them would be close to the 50 pound limit.

We carefully put each bag onto the scales at the counter and anxiously waited for the weight readout. The firs bag on the scale weighs 52 pounds, over the limit. The next bag weighs in at only 48.5 pounds. So we quickly took things out of the heavy bag and stuffed them into the light weight bag. This continued through all the bags.

Finally the last bags were weighed and were all underweight. To make the most of the opportunity, we stacked diapers on top of the bag on the scale until it reached 50 pounds. It was amazing to see how many diapers we could stuff into the bag.


Anonymous said...

I looked at these photos and just found myself crying...oh how he takes us to places so far from those who love us most so we can show others his love witht he same intensity. I cna't believe how adorable Kanyon is! And how he's going to be missed. (Yet admired by all the Chinese!) :) I felt better after watching to video about the guy with a box on his head! Thanks for keeping us up to date on your timeline. We're thinking about you lots!
Jen, Greg, Ellie, and Mollie

Unknown said...

We are glad to be able to share the adventure with you guys. We wish we could have seen you before you left but will have to work out a way to see you one of these summers when we are home.

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