March 13, 2009

Volume 3, Issue 3

Spring time is here! Well actually, the weather is warm one day then snowy the next. The constant change reminds us of the crazy weather back home. Today’s full of snow and next week will be quite warm (35-40 degrees). Each time we walk out in the snow, we are reminded how much we love living here in Harbin. Then we remember each and every one of you who have encouraged and supported us as we work here. We can’t wait to see you guys this summer and share all that’s been going on in this city.

Harbin 2009 – 24th Winter Universiade

“A passionate Winter Universiade in glamorous Harbin China” was on the banners that were all over town. Harbin hosted the Winter Universiade during February for student athletes from all over the world. At first we were a little skeptical about the “international-ness” of the event, but we were surprise to learn the event was truly international.

We jumped at our first chance to watch live sporting events China and immediately researched the event times and locations. A few text messages and emails later, we booked tickets to watch Canada vs. China men’s ice hockey game. The game was on the birthday of a Canadian teacher at another school here in Harbin. Both he and our Canadian teammates were just as excited as us to see live hockey.

Once in the arena, freshly painted for the Universiade, the stands were packed with 3,000 people cheering for the host country. We remained neutral through most of the match, but couldn’t help but cheer for China as the final minutes ticked off the clock hoping for one last chance for a goal. Final score, Canada 13 – China 0.

One event just wasn’t enough to satisfy our appetite for live sporting events and we were determined to watch another event. Back to the ticket office to purchase more tickets, this time women’s figure skating. We really got our money’s worth with this one as we watched over 4 hours of skating, 28 competitors, and a bonus event at the end, synchronized skating.

Synchronized skating is like cheerleaders on ice or synchronized swimming on top of the frozen water where 18 skaters (I would say women but Team Russia did have one man) take the ice for a synchronized routine. Who knew?

The excitement of the Winter Universiade really pumped us up for the beginning of the semester. We realized how much we love China, the people here, and especially the crazy randomness of life.

BREAKING NEWS: Schedule Change

The semester began on Monday, March 2nd like any other semester, full of butterflies to meet the new students and hopefulness that the lesson plans with not flop. So with that I entered the classroom to begin teaching my Selected Readings of British Literature class to junior level students. When I entered the first classroom, I knew immediately that something was not right. I noticed that all my students had a blue textbook on their desks titled “Readings in American Literature”! What a way to begin the semester!

We called the deans, department chairs and talked with the students and indeed found the course was to teach both American and British literature! OK, I can do that. So I made the plan and went back to class Tuesday. By Sunday, the course had been changed back to British Literature only. I informed the students and am finally ready to move forward.

But wait, this just in…the foreign affairs office has a new schedule for our teachers. Another teacher on our team is teaching my Literature class (because of his love for literature) I am now teaching Advanced Oral English beginning Monday, March 16th. I am really excited and hopefully can finally settle into the routine of planning lessons and teaching. But I just never know!!

Happy Birthday M'Lynn!!

We hosted a birthday celebration for M’Lynn’s birthday. The dinner doubled as a Texas Independence Day meal for our teammates. We pounded out Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes, corn, and for dessert, chocolate pie. Some of our teammates had never had Chicken fried steak! We considered it absolute that they have it and made them promise to order one if they were ever in a restaurant in Texas!

We never realized we had everything we needed for the meal. But now that we know, we’ll be having this meal again, hopefully soon.

Misc. Others

New Website: Our company just launched a brand new website. Check it out to learn more about the work here in China! We are excited about the work and want to share this new resource with you!

Kanyon News: He weighs in at 12 kg and is getting into more and more things. He recently learned to climb on the couch and sit (well really stand and reach for everything he knows he’s not supposed to have. He had be grumpy lately because he’s working on getting more molars. Rib eye steak, here he comes! He still doesn’t speak much (English or Chinese) but can say Daddy in two languages, “dada” and “baba.” Yet he doesn’t say “mama,” except when he’s hungry.

Return to the States: We are setting our return this summer to the US for June 28th. We are excited to see each of you during the two months we are home. We’ll try to get in contact with you guys to set up some times you are available and free to say hi and thank you for all your support!

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