January 10, 2009

12:2 Times January 2009

10th Annual Harbin Ice and Snow World

Wintertime Ice

Winter has arrived in Harbin. Average highs during the day struggle to reach the teens and when they do, we are eager to get outside to take a walk around the neighborhood. Winter means the end of the semester, a break from teaching, some traveling, and more time to spend around Harbin.

The largest attraction in Harbin is the Annual Ice and Snow World so of course we had to make a trip to check it out. (In our next newsletter you will hear M’Lynn’s firsthand account of the adventure.)

We walked around for 2 hours in 0 degree weather and thought to ourselves, “This is such a great night to be outside. It’s so mild tonight.” Not once were we cold. Well maybe once our toes got cold as we stood in line on the ice steps waiting for the big slide. We soon realized it was too cold to be standing still and the line was not moving so we jumped out of line to get some frozen fruit and see the other sights.

Among the other sights we saw were great vistas of the entire ice world, giant ice slides, ice skating performances, frozen restrooms, and a snow model of the famous Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium.

Frozen Fruit Vendor

We managed to take pictures of just about every attraction in the park. With the weather so cold, we hoped the batteries in our cameras would last long enough for all the photos we were taking. The batteries held up and so did our hands as we took photo after photo without gloves. We had to remember to hold our breath when taking each photo, both behind the camera and as the subject. Any little breath would fog up the photo, and we have plenty of those. Be sure to check out all the photos from the Ice and Snow World online by clicking the photos link at the top of the page.

Visiting the park once just doesn’t seem like enough. We are already looking forward to next year, or when any visitors come, to return to the park and enjoy the winter wonderland. Don’t worry; we have more than enough clothes to let you borrow some to stay warm.

Indoor Basketball

With the weather being such a factor in all activities, I got to do something the other day that I hadn’t been able to do very often, play basketball. Not only play basketball, but play basketball inside.

Basketball is a one of my favorite ways to get involved with students outside the classroom. As I was walking about my errands around campus making copies and finalizing the semester’s grades, I received a call from my student. His roommates had just reserved the basketball court for later today and I was invited to play. While it is sometimes hard for me to accept the sudden change in schedule I knew this was a great opportunity. Throughout the semester we have been asking for chances to be involved with our students. This was an answer and couldn’t be rejected.

I put on some sports clothes and met the student outside his dorm to walk over to the gym. Soon after, we began playing basketball. We played, without keeping score, for 2.5 hours pretty much nonstop. I was exhausted!

Walking back to his dorm, we chatted for a while and furthered the process of getting to know each other. Please remember these relationships as they continue to be built.

Tonka Trucks

Boys love trucks. That statement is true for Kanyon as well. Christmas brought him at least 10 different Tonka trucks of all shapes and sizes. He has a set of little trucks that he likes to throw and I like to play traffic jam with (see photos online for different jams). Another set is just a little bigger. Then two race cars that when shaken rev up their engines and speed off. And finally a large dump truck to haul around all the other smaller trucks.

Playing with any and all toys

We have been teaching him another boy trick, to slam dunk. (I guess girls can dunk too.) He knows exactly what to do with the orange striped ball, take it to the rim and dunk it in his mini goal. Each dunk is followed with a loud grunt and then clapping. We are still working on the jump shot but maybe sometime soon he will be shooting 3s with the best of them.

The newest little kid trick he learned is to open closed doors. He is now tall enough to reach the door handle and pull it down to open the door. This trick has opened a whole new adventure for us all.

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