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Saturday Morning from This Side

Even though some of you may read this on Friday evening, it's already Saturday morning here. Our first week of classes has already ended. That's just amazing! The time is flying by! We all are enjoying our classes, and the students seem genuinely interested, for the most part. I learned from the parent of one of my students yesterday that most of my "middle school" students are the children of teachers here at Hainan University. In fact, she herself is an English teacher. She sat in on the last hour of my class, just to pick up some ideas and teaching techniques. The students in my class change from day to day - some don't show up, and new ones do. The other three teachers have had the same experience. Some of it is that the students go from one class to the next, seeking the level with which they are most comfortable. The reason I put quotation marks around middle school in describing my students is that they range from age 9 to 13. Below is a picture of my class taken early this week. They're really cute kids and some are really sharp!

my middle school students

Last evening (Friday) our Chinese doctor and his wife who is also a doctor came by to deliver our medicine. We were to begin taking it last night. Before I took any, my symptoms were already worsening. Then after the first dose I had a rough night of coughing and a seeming inability to clear my throat, even after having taken an expectorant I'd brought along. Once I finally got to sleep, I was fine, but it was a short night of sleep. This morning, though, I am having fewer symptoms, so we'll see.... Below is a picture of me after I poured out the first dose. I had not yet experienced the taste of the vile stuff, which, to be perfectly honest, was really not bad. Becka's hoping she's not going to lose that shiny image of "picture of health" - she began blowing her nose at bedtime last night and during the night. I'm sure after seeing everyone else's luscious bottles of Chinese medicine, she wants to share the experience. By the way, I have only 3 bottles to down in 3 days. Jean and Yvonne each have 7 bottles to down in 7 days. The dosages for all three of us is one-third of a bottle, three times a day (being sure to exclude the sediment at the bottom of the bottle). I have not spoken to either Jean or Yvonne since they went back to their apartment last evening. I'm anxious to learn how each of their medicines tasted to them. 🙂 On to the picture....


In an hour and a half, we are supposed to leave for our weekend down south. When I have the opportunity after our return, I'll share some of what we saw and experienced. Bye for now!

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Last Class and Some Goodbyes

Yesterday was our last day of class. Becka and I combined our classes for the last two hours so that we could do some things together. Becka dictated ten questions to the students in English. After writing them down, they had to answer them according to their lives and preferences. Then we set them about the task of finding other students who had the same answer for a question. The winner was the first one to have ten names written down - a different name by each question. At first the students were quite timid, but by the end they were mixing well and it was difficult to get their attention to end the game. Below is a picture of the students playing our game.

the students playing 10 questions

After the game we sang several American folk songs, several French folk songs, and one final song in English, French, and Chinese - Silent Night. Earlier this week we had both talked about holidays and their origins, and so singing this song was quite natural and thoroughly enjoyed by the students. The final hour was spent in a room with a ping pong table that was perfect for enjoying the cookies and Coca Cola we had brought for the students. They did not seem to know quite how to respond since they are not used to teachers doing nice or special things for them. We had a good opportunity to talk to some of them one on one. Many expressed appreciation for our teaching and several were interested in things that are vitally important to us.

After classes were over, we were treated to lunch at a fine restaurant in town. This special meal was going to be breakfast on Sunday, but for some reason it was moved to Friday noon, which was just fine with us. Almost all the same people present had been there in the same room for our welcome dinner three weeks earlier. Below is a picture of the dean and her husband.

the dean and her husband

On the menu was a special cold soup called YinYan Soup. This must be a challenge to make! In the plate to the right of the soup is something called "fish lungs."

YinYan Soup

This morning (Saturday) we were treated to breakfast by the parents of Ruth's helper, Carter - the little boy whom I mentioned in several earlier blog entries. The restaurant where we had breakfast was huge and there were hundreds of people having breakfast there early on a Saturday morning. Carter's parents have been wonderfully kind to us during our time here. Below is their picture.

the parents of Carter

Many of the items were wheeled by the little room where we were eating, and our hosts chose items for our breakfast. Below is a picture of Carter's father checking out the food "Ã la carte."

some of the food carts

We were *finally* able to try Hainan noodles, one of the regional specialties that, for the entire three weeks of our classes, our students had been telling us about and asking us if we'd tried. Here's a picture of the famed Hainan noodles:

Hainan noodles

One of the items on our menu today was the seemingly ubiquitous chicken feet. Becka and I somehow artfully dodged them, but I was able to snap a picture of Carter's mother's plate with an uneaten chicken foot and the remains of the ones she had already enjoyed. I have become shamelessly adept at making it look like I'm photographing one thing when I am actually taking a picture of something else. On to the picture of the chicken feet...

chicken feet - before and after enjoyment

After breakfast we did some grocery shopping to get the final ingredients for dinner at our place this evening. We are having our closest associates and friends here in for a meal together before our departure on Monday. The shopping trip was capped off with a trip home in one of the other type of taxis I showed you in a previous post. I would post a picture, but our driver would not allow me to photograph her and, at my most devious, I had no way of doing so clandestinely. Once again, the mind's images can be even more vivid....

Tomorrow if I am able to, I hope to post some final random pictures. If I'm not able to, I'm sure everyone will understand. Please remember us as we begin our trip home Monday morning. For those of you in the good ole USA, that will be Sunday evening your time. We will spend Monday in Hong Kong, before taking the long flight home on Tuesday. I don't know how I'll continue a blog after we're home. Our daily lives there are so drab in comparison to the colorful life we've lived this past month! But then, our experiences have been the result of our time here being a special event - the university officials and Ruth and some of her friends wanted us to experience as much as possible during our visit. Ruth's normal life here is nothing like what we have experienced, and we could not last for long if we lived year round the way we've lived this month!

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