Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hi Friends,
Wanted to let you know we made it to Weinan okay! We are glad to be done traveling. Right now we are working on getting moved in and cleaned up. The apartments are very nice, also very dusty. So we're trying to get settled a little. Apparently classes have already started...hmm. We will probably start next week though. After we find out what we will teach. We will soon get internet hooked up in our apartment and then we can give some more updates. Thank you for your thoughts!

Monday, August 25, 2008

T-Minus 10 hours

By Kevin

We're there. Well, not THERE, but our bags are all packed. We're under the required weight limits, and ready to go drive to the airport bright and early at 6:30 Monday morning, then take three flights (Atlanta-Chicago-Beijing-Xi'an), watching the extravaganza known as the Olympic Closing Ceremonies, oohing and aahhing at the spectacle of a countdown in fireworks, bicycle helmet clad drummers, one-wheeled glowy bikes, vertical runners, foating red banners and statuesque white-painted mimes. The London part isn't quite as impressive so far....I mean, transforming double-decker busses are nice and all, but psychadellic umbrellas, lipsynching pop stars in ginormous dresses and a really old Jimmy Page kinda pales in comparison to the spectacle the Chinese created. Almost seems like the Chinese worked on their part for four years and England worked on theirs for a month....

China definitelyy raised the bar for the Olympics.

Anyway, I thought this might be a good chance to share the comments former students shared about the Olympics in recent days:

"We are very, very excited," wrote a former student. "A lot of people do their best to make efforts,we hope this Olympics can give a very good memory to all the people, we hope people can see a new and developing China, during Olympics, we see a lot of stories, some of them happen during the players, some happen during Chinese and some foreigners,they are very excellent."

"I am very glad that you enjoy the Olympic games in China," wrote another. "It's really wonderful. But I think it is a pity that you haven't in china during the OLYMPICS. Beijing is more beautiful during that time. I have tried to be a volunteer for the game, but unfortunately I failed. Now I have been watching it everyday."

A third wrote, "Of course we all saw the Beijing Olympic, especially the Opening Ceremony. It's very successful, and that brings great pressure to London Olympic. All the athletes performed well in this Olympic games."

Anyway, all that to say, while the prospect of 30-some hours of travel (door-to-door) isn't particulary appealing, we are excited to head back to China and glad to have you along for the journey.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Repacking Again

by Ruth

Three days left before we head out, and we've been working on packing again. I must say, we're getting to be quite experienced at this whole process. I packed my bags up yesterday and was delighted to them find several pounds under limit (even after buying a brownie mix, two boxes of mac and cheese, and a bag of chocolate chips). I have decided to add a box of Multi-bran Chex. I was pleased that the new black shoes I bought to replace my old black shoes are not only more comfortable, they also weigh a lot less. Yet another reason to avoid heels. Who needs that extra weight?

Kevin's had a bit harder time packing because for a while he didn't have any suitcases. His bags, which have lasted through several years of international rough handling, got all bashed up on the way to back to Georgia. One was torn and the other had a bent frame. Thanks Delta. After a good 40 minutes of arguing whether they were damaged enough to qualify for a "damaged luggage claim," the airlines said they would fix the bags and send them back. Kevin got a call about a week later to say they were so badly damaged they couldn't repair them; instead they would send new bags of the same kind. Good deal! Thanks Delta. Unfortunately, they also said that the bags may or may not arrive before we left for China. Slight problem. We were quite relieved when the new suitcases did come with days to spare, and Kevin was able to commence with repacking. He bought several bags of tortillas and a couple of baseballs to bring along. So far he seems to be okay on weight too.

We on the other hand, have put on a few pounds as we try to eat everything we might possibly crave in the next year: pulled-pork bbq, pizza, Chick-fil-a, burritos, Rice-Krispie treats, biscuits, donuts, fried okra, bagels, milk... It's hard to fit it all in. Hopefully once we get to China we can establish a more reasonable eating routine, at least until we go to Thailand and the food craze starts all over again.

I am also trying to scarf down as many books as possible. I sat in front of my bookshelf last night and was very sad. I have so many good books. I want to sit down re-read about half of them right now. Instead I have to settle with lovingly browsing the shelves and book hopping. I am currently reading three books, and I just finished a fourth. It's hard to settled on just one when I know I won't see them again for a long time. Once I leave them behind, I think I will re-read
Till We Have Faces for the sixth or seventh time, since I haven't re-read it yet this year. I am looking forward to what it will be like this time. It's always nice to have a familiar book in an unfamiliar place.
Except I just remembered that the book is inconveniently packed at the bottom of my suitcase. Oh well, I'm sure I'll have to repack again anyway.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

12 Days til China

by Ruth

12 days til China and I am
to stand in front of a classroom,
to invite students over to our apartment,
to see a new part of the country.

12 days til China and I am uncertain:
what will we teach?
when will our classes start?
how will we get to the school?

12 days til China and I am nervous,
remembering the exhaustion of every day activities,
remembering the smell of sewage,
remembering that I don't really speak Chinese.

12 days til China and I am eager
to see how our team fits together,
to put away our suitcases,
to buy another bike.

12 days til China and I am hesitant
about yet another round of goodbyes,
no more fresh milk,
staring eyes and hazy skies.

12 days til China and I am glad
that we have a nice apartment,
that we can walk to the countryside,
that I won't be going alone.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The two blogs shall become one

By Ruvin

We warmly welcome you to our new, combined blog. Since we will both be in the same place doing a lot of the same things, and since many of the same people read both of our blogs, we decided to combine.

This new updated version includes:
*More frequent posting (hopefully)
*Two unique perspectives
*Fantastic photos
*The color blue
*Exciting stories
*And a bit of the usual randomness

Not only will you get the benefit of two people's perspectives, you will also be able to enjoy two different writing styles. We will sign our names at the beginning of each post to let you know who wrote it, but you could probably tell anyway. Writer Kevin contributes a journalistic style, delving into the cultural significance of events. Ruth provides a personal memoir type style, with random, often unimportant, but sometimes interesting glimpses into daily life. But sometimes Kevin writes personal stories (say, how he met his lovely wife) and sometimes Ruth writes cultural stories (for example, about Stinky River).
We hope you will enjoy this new and improved version and virtually visit us regularly during our time in China!