Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Our wonderful students ;)

At our school, we have a "No Chinese" competition, where the team of students who has the least penalties for speaking Chinese wins a pretty nice cash prize. The team that won decided to use a portion of their money to take the morning teachers and their spouses out to lunch. Here we are outside the local Muslim restaurant, (Daniel took the picture) our favorite restaurant in the village where we live.

Daniel and I remarked that we hope this team continues to win for the obvious benefits! But it is also nice to see that the students who are truly desiring to learn and practice English with us are being rewarded for their eagerness and discipline. The two students to my left are my faithful ones. I can always count on them to be in class and participate well. Please think of our school. It has been such a place of light and hope and we have seen many students come to know Him since our school has been in session. Next semester, many new teachers will come and we are hoping for full capacity- 75 students. This semester we only have about 30.

As we walked back to the school with our bellies full of deliciousness, one of these students told me of her recent prayer with a Chinese friend to accept Christ. He is at work in the unseen and our team here has a strong unity in showing his love, some planting seeds, some watering. What a privilege to serve Him who makes things grow!

Friday, April 29, 2011

a spring bike ride

Things have been a lot more green here lately, and this is refreshing to everyone here after a very brown winter. Daniel and I ventured out on our bikes because it was a gorgeous day and after we rode a few kilometers, this is what we saw :)It's wheat season.

The local shepherd.

We are at a countdown now of 50 days!

Friday, March 4, 2011

people in the snow

With all the snow in South Carolina, and then finally some snow in the village when we were away in Thailand, Daniel and I were getting a little jealous and thought we would go the whole winter without seeing any snow. Last week it snowed a couple of inches and it gave our village a beautiful blanket, concealing the every day dust :) I woke up pretty early and took a walk and snapped a few pics around our apartment complex, the Dadong Commune. I asked this first man if it was ok to take his picture and he just laughed and said yes. The snow made everyone really happy from my point of view so it was fun to capture:)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

dinner and a show

here's some more of our experience on the island of lanta. our hotel was about a stone's throw from the beach, which had restaurants right on the water. the beach was really calm, almost like a lake front. we stopped at a restaurant that had these little huts you could eat in. the huts were elevated off the sand a few feet, with a straw mat some pillows and a low table. we had thai chips, which are small pieces of fried dough, and some thai style barbecue. the waiters were young guys in jeans and t shirts, (how they wore jeans in this climate i have no clue) and they were laid back if not a little forgetful.

then they started playing with fire.

it was like i was back with my small group guys again, trying to explain to them why their plan was not such a good idea. alas, boys will be boys...

back from thailand :)

During our month off from school, we went to thailand for ten days based on the recommendations and help from some of our friends here. It was ridiculously beautiful and clean and warm. We went from heavy coats to bathing suits in a 6 hour flight. Here is a taste of what we did one day on koh lanta, an island in southern thailand.

It was our first time driving a moped and that means some people won't rent to you, but we rented one from the place where we were staying where they were really laid-back about it. The moped was pink and gray with a floor board that said "playboy" with multi-colored bunnies (The playboy brand is everywhere in asia, we have playboy brand towels in our flat).

We had it for 24 hours and couldn't have been on a better island to use it. On Koh Lanta, it's impossible to get lost because there are only 3 roads but the island was big enough to explore and discover lonely rocky beaches and joy-ride. One time we pulled off, we were hiking down to a beach, looking at rubber being collected from the trees and saw a monkey swinging around in them.

In one part of the ride I was filming, we saw a guy wipe out on his bike in the opposite lane and skid into ours and then off the road. I partially caught it on film. Amazingly, he was unscathed and he picked up a few broken pieces of his bike and then later passed us going way too fast again. Daniel did a great job driving, and it was so much fun and so good on gas, we are thinking about a Vespa when we get back to SC!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

chinese new year

some things over here are well, just different.

like fireworks. let me explain...

in america, those little red shacks crop up in gas station parking lots about two weeks before new year's eve and july 4th, and close up shop a few days after. chinese people can purchase and shoot off fireworks all year long. any time someone wants to celebrate anything, they shoot off fireworks. any time a new store opens, you'll know about it because they shoot off fireworks. and most of these new stores open in the morning. time isn't a factor when it comes to fireworks over here. i think they don't really care so much about the visual as the audio. there's nothing like almost being knocked off your bike due to an unexpected sound wave. and that leads me to the next difference...

when it comes to the chinese and their fireworks, bigger equals better. i remember when i was a kid, we had all sorts of creative (and when i say creative i mean destructive) things to do with fireworks. like taking the stick off of a bottle rocket, lighting and throwing it, and seeing what happened. we also liked to stand in a square and throw the little guys at each other, usually until one blew up in your hand. roman candle wars were great too. i have some friends who actually duct-taped bottle rockets to a skateboard. it was awesome. (sorry mom) but the convenient thing about all of these incredibly stupid things that most boys (and men) do with fireworks is that in america there are laws about how much power is allowed to be put in them, to keep the injuries to a minimum. even if i had a black cat blow up in my vicinity, the ringing would go away relatively quickly. i don't think they have laws like that in china, and if they do, they don't enforce them. you can walk right up to any vendor here and buy rockets that you would usually only see on the 4th of july at a fireworks show. the sound that chinese fireworks can create is amazing. like i said, the audio boom is more important than the visual one. in america you can get about 1 foot of little guys fused together that go off all at once. i saw one here that was like 12 feet long. it was insane. people don't even just light and hold sparklers here, they swing them around on wires. now let's talk about where they shoot them off...

when i was younger, i had a friend who would light m80s in his bedroom and throw them out the window. he enjoyed this until one throw went awry, hit the sill, and stayed inside. he stopped after that. (sorry again mom) chinese people will shoot off fireworks just about anywhere. the middle of the road, between apartment buildings, wherever. i think that as long as you give the cars and the buildings a few feet, you're good.

on new year's eve or the 4th of july in america, there's usually one or two guys in your neighborhood who go out and get a good amount of fireworks to blow up. i think the chinese feel it's one of their duties as a citizen of the republic to shoot off fireworks on new year's. and after new year's. and before new year's. really any time is a good time to be patriotic here.
we haven't been sleeping that well lately.
i think this video will help you understand...