Called to Serve

We have loved traveling and being with family for the past two years but we felt the call to serve another mission so here we are in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for the next year.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

This and That

These are just random pictures to show some of the things that go on here in Jinan.

You would never guess what is happening here.  For church, we have virtual meetings.  We meet in the apartment of one of the BYU teachers who lives in a hotel.  We Skype to listen to Sacrament Meeting together and then we break into groups for Priesthood, Relief Society and Primary.  This picture happens to be David Cox and Wayne "listening" to the Elders Quorum Meeting.  I think they should have been tested on what was said.  They meet in a bedroom while the women are in the living room.  I meet in the other bedroom with my one little Primary boy.  We call him handsome Hanson.  He is 9 years old.

After our two hours of meetings, we always have lunch together.  It is potluck but Wendy (lady in the black top) always makes about 5 different things so we always have too much food.  Sundays are our favorite days for eating.

Normally the only time I really cook is for our Sunday potluck.  Several times we have invited some of our Chinese friends to sample American food though.  These are some of my students from last semester.  They organize English Corner for us.  Ivy (Cindy on the left, Hailey in the middle and Ivy on the right) was saying she wanted to taste mashed potatoes so we invited the for pork chops and mashed potatoes.   Next week they are coming for lasagna. 

In our classes, our aim is to get the students speaking English.  To do this we try to have activities for them to discuss things.  The picture is from the day we did "Who Gets the Heart".  The students role played doctors deciding which of 7 patients would receive a donor heart that had just become available.  They really got into this activity.  One boy told me he did not want to discuss it because the heart should just go to the person who was on the list first.  Most of the students were really considering health condition and family status.

Student did Readers Theater earlier in the semester.  They love to do Power Points to accompany the presentations that they do.  This particular story was the Brave Little Tailor who killed "seven in one blow".  Seven flies that is.  The picture shows the giants that he out smarted.
Another activity that the students really like to do is the double circle questions.  Each student has a question which they must ask the person in front of them.  That student must answer and then ask his question.  I give them a minute and then they rotate to change partners.  I have between 50 and 60 students in each class and so it can get really noisy.  I am supposed to be listening to them so I can correct any problems with their English but I can just barely hear individual voices.

I have been asked several times by my students to judge some activities they have planned.  The next group of pictures is from an environmental contest that they had.  Each group was given a bunch of materials to recycle into outfits.  Then they had a fashion show where we judged them.  It was fun and there were some really interesting outfits.
The shiny silver is actually DVD's that have been broken up.
A wedding dress made out of recycled paper?  Very economical.
This group had a cute presentation taking them around the world.  They painted all the designs on the material.
Another group did Chinese minorities costumes.
I don't know what is with the guy but the girls look pretty glamorous.
This is NOT a recycled outfit.  For the last two months we have been attending concerts at the Shandong Arts University.  The graduating students have been giving what I guess you could call their senior recitals.  We have listened to pianist, trombone players, urhus, and singers.  Some have been better than others but we have enjoyed them all.  The school is about a 40 minute walk from our campus so we use this as an evening walk.  It doesn't hurt that there is a really good bakery on the way.
All of the people involved in these concerts are always dressed in very fancy dresses and we have wondered if the dresses belong to them or does the school have a costume department that they choose from. 
We never know when there is going to be a concert so sometimes we just go to the school and take a chance that something is happening that night.  This past Wednesday we showed up at 6:50 and my "friend" the guard indicated that there was something going on on the third floor.  We walked in and were a little surprised that so many people were there already.  Then we found out that it was a play and it started at 7 instead of the usual 7:30.  We had made it just in time.  The play was of course in Chinese and we could not understand a word. Wayne slept through a lot of it or he might have gotten a few things from the actions.  It was a Russian play so I googled it afterwards and found that I had guessed correctly on several things that had happened.  After 2 hours and 15 minutes we got up and left.  

Each semester the teachers are given a free lunch for every day that they teach.  Credit is put on our faculty cards to buy the lunch.  Because of our teaching schedule, we rarely are able to eat in the canteen so occasionally we will rent a room on the Central Campus canteen and invite all of our Branch members here and anyone else we can and we buy dinner for them.  This picture was taken when we did this in May.
Front, Hansen. Middle row: Nancy Pace, Wendy Purnell, Stan Pace, Eva (the Cox's co-teacher).  Back row: David Cox, Me, Wayne, Jim Purnell, Simon and Kathy (Hansen's parents) and Lily (another Chinese friend).

A few weeks ago, all of the Jinan group went to spend the weekend in Qing Dao - famous for Tsing Tao beer.  Germans had settled here many years ago and we had been told there was still a strong German atmosphere.  This city is on the coast so it is supposed to be very beautiful with clean air, something we do not see too often.  Unfortunately, it rained most of the time we were there.  Just outside of town they were holding the International Horticulture Expo and so we had arranged to go with the BYU group that teaches there.  This really was an amazing exhibition but the rain kind of doused our enthusiasm.  It was spread out on several hundred acres and we had to walk quite a ways from one exhibit to the other.  Remember it was raining.  We did enjoy it but it left us with very little time to see the city. 
Wayne went with several of the other teachers to walk down near the beach.  This was a monument they have to honor some battle.  You can find these in most of the cities commemorating one battle or another.

Saturday night we had a room reserved for us in a German restaurant.  The restaurant thought we were all ordering the set meal and had everything set out very nice.  When we saw what that meal was and how much it cost, most of us decided we wanted to just order separately.  I guess the fancy settings do not apply to individual orders.  They came and took away the dishes before we ordered.  The food was good but the service was not the best.  When there is a language barrier it really is best to go with the set menu.

This is what our table looked like after being cleared of the fancy dishes.

Well I am sure that this is enough for now.  We have finals all next week and so our work load has lightened immensely.  One of us should be able to add some more China Experience then.

1 comment:

Renee Hart said...

Absolutely fascinating! What great adventures you are having. My favorite is the fancy plates versus no fancy plates. Just cracked me up��