Monday, January 18, 2010

Village School

Today was a day I was proud and blessed to be teaching in China. We took the students to a village school about 2 hours north of DAIS. The school was in "real" China, something our students don't see much of. They are very privileged and don't really understand that everyone isn't as fortunate as they are. This was the culminating trip for our Backpack Project. We started in October with the Move-a-thon and then the students went to the local Jin Shi Tan market and purchased new backpacks, coats, scarves, gloves, hats, school supplies, and toys for the students at the Village School. (I just remembered I forgot to upload pics of that...later). We loaded the buses at 9:00 and were on our way. It was a two hour bus ride through the country side of China. Unfortunately it was very foggy out so I didn't get any good pictures of the scenery.

The plan was to arrive and play games with the students. Since our students only speak a little Mandarin and their students only speak minimal English we came up with games that didn't need much communication. The kids had a blast playing games with one another. Kids are so amazing, they don't look at their differences with one another, just their similarities. After playing we ate lunch with our new friends and talked (as much as we could). At the end of our visit our students quietly went and got their Chinese New Year backpacks for the village students. They went up to them and gave them their gifts and said Happy New Year in Mandarin. The village kids were so shocked and grateful. It was one of those moments in teaching that just gives you chills. Our students were so happy to be able to help others and felt good about themselves. You can't teach that in the more reason I love DAIS.

As you can see from the pictures below the conditions of the school were less than ideal. The students eyes were opened when they saw the classroom that had no heat, hole in the ground for the bathroom with no doors or heat. The classrooms were tiny and the desks were uncomfortable. All the students spend all day in their coats because it doesn't really warm up in the classroom. It was actually warmer today than it has been, but it was still cold none the less. Our students got to see how blessed we are and how other children around the world learn. Here are some pictures from the day.

We arrived to these smiling faces...

The "heater"

The bathroom

The view from the back of the classroom

The school...this is from K-6

The girls after playing a game

Some of the boys playing

Team building games

Eating lunch with our new friends

Hanging out

They were so surprised and happy to get new backpacks for Chinese New Year

Checking out their new backpacks...I love the boy on the left facial expression :)

Waving goodbye to us

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday morning market...

Monday, January 11, 2010


stinks. I have been up since 3 AM and it's pointless to go back to sleep now when I have to "get up" in thirty minutes. My first day back at school was great. I have a new student from America, she seems like a sweetheart. My students were all so excited to share about their breaks with everyone. It's funny because almost all of them traveled somewhere...some to the States, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Southeast Asia, and even Austria. I wonder if they know how fortunate they are to do these things. I am sure they don't know any different, just like I didn't know any different when I got to do things most kids didn't when growing up. That's the beauty of age, you get to reflect and put value to things done.

You would think I would be productive and put away all the ridiculous amount of stuff I brought back from the states, but no I have been reading, blogging, and spending time talking with God. I want to live my life for Him, He has me here for a reason...I just don't know what that reason is. I get so frustrated with myself because I want to glorify Him in all I do, but fail miserably. I am going to try and volunteer with people in need in this community. I have talked to a woman that organizes charity and she gave me a name of a boy that would love visitors, I just need to set aside the time to do it.

At book club tonight I talked with Courtney (a parent)about running the Great Wall Half-Marathon. I am so going to do it. She is an avid runner and said she would help us train. I think it is going to be a big group of us that do it, I can't wait.

As Dave Matthews would say...

...Don't Drink the Water

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Traditional Chinese Wedding

Before going home for winter break I had the chance to go to one of our Mandarin teachers, Judy's, wedding in Beijing. Here are some pictures from the beautiful day. In China red means good fortune and happiness, which explains their clothing.

Gomer riding through the city

We followed the double happiness symbol throughout the city

These men carried Judy for over two hours

My favorite carrier, he danced the entire two hours

The gang with the beautiful couple

Judy and Gomer at the start of the ceremony. She was covered with the red cloth until the start of the ceremony.

After the reveal...

Drinking to a life of love

Wedding favors were alcohol and cigarettes

Judy pouring drinks for the guests, it is sa sign of respect and thanks