Sunday, September 26, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Another drizzly day in Yantai but great jeans weather!
Gotta love the Chinese-way. We had money wired to BOC (Bank of China) on August 20 per BOC’s instructions. We were told it would take a week to get posted. Sure enough, on the 27th we got confirmation that the money had arrived with my name and customer number identified but since it didn’t have my account number, we couldn’t get the money. [FYI: joint accounts evidently don’t exist!] So another email was sent to our bank requesting they identify which account. That took yet another week! So today we got confirmation that the money is in my account. I STILL can’t get to it--it’s in U.S. dollars. We have to have our passports to switch money from USD to yuan. We went to the police station on the 26th to get our resident permits and they kept our passports. At 4pm today, we finally got our passports back. We got to the bank by 4.30 but it was too late so I have to go back tomorrow--yes, Saturday the banks are open. The moral of this story is--carry lots of cash!
Otherwise it has been an unremarkable day. We took Chang with us to the bank. In the event the money hadn’t been posted, Chang’s mother was going to go to bat for us. She is a force to be reckoned with! But, fortunately such last ditch efforts were not required. Instead we made arrangements to have dinner with Chang and Ping. Anqi was supposed to join us, too, but got caught at Jusco (shopping center) instead.
Some last minute scheduling changes occurred at school--does this sound familiar?? Andy’s schedule remained the same but I lost 2 oral English classes which were replaced by a 2 hour English writing class for the 2 (yes, 2!) students in the most advanced class. I’m in tears (of joy!) over this event.
We did make another stop at the local grocery knowing that we had money in the bank. Picked up some school supplies as well as peanut butter for Andy and a bottle of wine for me--not sure who’s cost less per ounce!!
I worked with Anqi tonight on prepping for her TOEFL (English as a 2nd language) test and Andy will provide another session tomorrow morning. While he’s busy with Anqi, I’ll be meeting with some parents about 3 middle school students who need an English tutor. That will keep me busy on Saturday mornings for a while!
That’s all the excitement one can handle for a day!! We will post more tomorrow and Sunday we have been invited to a 5 star restaurant here in Yantai (Chang’s mom strikes again!). Full report to follow.
I started my morning with yoga--now I can’t move! Maybe after tomorrow’s session, I’ll be better! Our neighbor is organizing sessions in the dorm hall--I am sure it would be hilarious to watch--but for now, it’s just painful to do!!
Andy and I got our teaching assignments yesterday and our books today. I have been informed I will not have one of my reading classes but will replace it with an IETL class (only 2 students!!--they are the most advanced). Still 5 class preps but small classes (15 maximum). The text are well arranged and basically tell us what to do when.
After our meeting, 5 old farts (well, one is only 23 but the rest are over 60!) were out playing frisbee much to the delight and amusement of the passing Chinese students. We quit when Andy’s arm refused to throw any more.
Chang called today and invited us to lunch Saturday. A friend of her mother’s had sent us wine already and now she wants to take us to lunch. We are sooooo spoiled.
We found the meat and vegetable market today. From star of anise to Helmann’s mayonnaise, they had it all. Eight kinds of rice, vegetables we couldn’t begin to identify and some meats we probably would have preferred not to know about! The chickens looked very fresh; gizzards and hearts were plentiful. We saw some pork loins I wanted to bring home! We got peaches yesterday; they are delicious!
For those of you have been worried: there are cold sodas on every corner along with ice cream. The Chinese love their ice cream.
Anqi was by today. She is the first to take her English exam for graduate school (10 days from now). She will visit with one of us for an hour each day for the next couple of days to do practice work. Both Ping and Chang have them scheduled for the coming months, too. All of the students are busy studying for the GMAT exams, too.
We went to the upstairs dining room of cafeteria #6 tonight. You order off a menu and are served [rather than cafeteria style downstairs]. The manager was a sweetheart! She found the English translation copy and walked us through the various options. After the meal, I showed her one of the dishes we were curious about and she sat down with us to find the name. We will definitely go back to see her again. We had a broth bowl with green vegetables, green onions, clear noodles, wheat noodles and shrimp (we asked that they leave the chili peppers out!). It was yummy but the vegetable dish was GREAT: sauteed pieces of eggplant and thin sliced potatoes in a brown gravy with green onions and garlic. We added fried rice to our order but were so full by the time it came, we brought it home. It has got to be some of the best flavored rice we’ve had.
All in all a great day in Yantai (weather cooperated, too!).
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
First, by writing this entry and dating it, I just realized that tomorrow is our anniversary. I am an incredibly lucky man. Also, Joan is an incredibly patient woman.
We had our second teacher’s meeting today and were given our class assignments. We both will teach a class called Interchange which is a basic communications class. I have the entry level kids and Joan has the second year, second semester students. In addition to this lass I will teach writing to second and third year students for a total of 4 preps. Joan also will teach reading to second year, oral English to second year, and world cultures to third year for a total of 5 preps.
A special note to those of you who have taught comp. classes:
Our director gave me only 18 hrs. of class instead of 20 like everyone else. He stated that teaching writing required extra grading time and that anyone who disagreed could trade me schedules. I was nearly stunned out of my chair. After 28 years of English, I’ve never had an administrator do this! There is hope!
Our faculty is having a discussion about electronic translators. We are divided on allowing them in the classroom or not. Remember, for all intent, these are foreign language classes. Some feel that the translators become a crutch. Others see them as a useful tool. Because students try to divide and conquer, we feel we need a united front on this issue. Your input is welcomed. Remember to email your response as we cannot see our blog site.
This also gives me a chance to thank our daughter, Berkeley, for updating our blog. We email her the text and pictures and she cuts and pastes them to our site. Thank you, BDA!
We haven’t posted pix for a while as we don’t always carry the camera on campus. I did see a couple of unusual things yesterday. I saw my first Chinese lawnmower. Usually mowing is done by sending six guys out with weed eaters. Yantai U. has a mower. I also heard this godawful noise and turned around to see a Harley. Up to now, we have seen small electric scooters and a few small engine motorcycles. This one was a Hawg!
If you want to Skype with us the best time is during your evening. During the U.S. morning, we are frequently thrown off the internet. There are 7,000 providers in the U.S. There are 3in China. Once this place awakens and gets going, internets fill up. Our skype name is jnalindauer
My two index fingers are now tired. I am a two fingered typist. Hope all is well in the states.