Otra vez

0 visitors Wednesday, July 30
If you remember last year about this time, the Foreign Experts Bureau (FEB) in Beijing wouldn't give our schools the necessary documents to get our visas. The reason? Technically we can't teach in China without two years of experience. The three schools that our program works with were able to obtain special permission to waive the rules for Cedarville teachers and that's how I was able to go to China. We were promised that this wouldn't be an issue in the future.

But for now it is. The new teachers at two of our three schools this year are having trouble getting the papers they need from the FEB. We think it's because of the new visa restrictions and the heightened concern from the Olympics. I'm fairly certain that the new teachers at my school will eventually be granted permission to come, but we will probably have to wait to press the rule until after the Olympics.

So we are hopeful and thoughtful about these things, but it is discouraging and I feel bad for the new teachers who were excited to fly to Beijing in three weeks. Now it looks like their ETA will be pushed back until some time in September. Eleven of us are getting ready to leave August 20ish, but we hope that the remaining twenty five can join us soon!
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Students in the US!

0 visitors Saturday, July 26
A number of my students are in the United States this summer for school-related trips, but I didn't know if I'd be able to see any of them or not. But I got a phone call tonight from one of my juniors! She told me all about her experiences in LA and DC. She'll also be traveling to NYC and Boston before she returns to Beijing to attend the Olympic Games. She was in a shopping mall today and someone gave her literature in Chinese about the book and she wants to talk about it when we all get back to China.

It's good to be home, but it'll also be good to get back to life in Beijing and see students again!
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08-09 ERAP training weekend

0 visitors Thursday, July 24

The training weekend in Ohio at Cedarville University went well. The new people are great and it's going to be a fun year. Among other things, we talked about differences between American and Chinese cultures, began to study the language, and participated in teaching workshops. Training benefits the new teachers the most, but it's also a good review for the veterans, as well. We spent a lot of time in the classroom, but also made room for some water balloon volleyball on the tennis courts.

Here are new teachers this year, but they're not all in the picture above:

Kate Talbott
Micah Chambers
Jessica Whitehair
Colleen Derry
Josh Knilans
Tim Neetz
Greg Briggs
Olivia Dolph
Andrew Staab
Michelle Vanden Berg
Cherie Tryon
David Skillings
Laura Robison
Ann Foley
Caleb McCollim
Tim, Ginger, baby Macaiah Sietman
Jacinda Gillette
Liz Korkosz
Karisa Millington
Christine Schindette
Viki Kooiman
James McClenahan
Micah Martin
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Check out my house

0 visitors Tuesday, July 22
Google Maps is really neat and really scary. For a while they had winter images of my house from several years ago when we had an above the ground pool. I randomly Googled my address tonight and saw that they updated their images. You can see the new pool now and everything's green.

Here's the link if the image below isn't working: my house.

View Larger Map
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Too late

0 visitors Friday, July 11
I was watching a back episode of Oprah today where the guest was Alexis Stewart, daughter of Martha Stewart. On it, she tells her story of being single and divorced at age 42, but desperately wanting a baby of her own. She spends $28,000 a month on fertility treatments, but has been unable to become pregnant after three implantations. Some months she spends that money on drugs but when it's time to harvest her eggs, there aren't any viable eggs and she's left to wait until the next month.

She is on a mission to let women know not to wait too long and not to buy into the lie that modern medicine allows you to have a family at any age. Sounds like many articles and authors at www.boundless.org.
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The summer I took photography class

0 visitors Thursday, July 10

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Unacceptable, Apple

0 visitors Wednesday, July 9
I've been having trouble with the speakers on my MacBook for several months now. It comes and goes, but the speakers don't work and a red LED light shines from the headphone jack. System Preferences show that it's set to "Digital Out" instead of "Internal Speakers." Well yes, I know that, how do I fix it? My usual cure-all (restarting) doesn't work.

I haven't encountered the problem in maybe a month or so and started to forget about it until it happened again today. The last thing I like to do with my time is wait on hold for hours on end for tech support, so I turned to techy forums for some solutions. It seems like it's a common problem with a strange solution: people say to stick something inside the headphone jack and wiggle it around until the speakers start playing again. Suggested items include paper clips, the rubber-ended tip of a bobby pin, a pin, a match. They were right, it works.

But if I shell out the cash for a piece of less-than-a-year-old expensive Apple technology, should I have to wiggle a foreign object around in my computer just to listen to some music? I say it's an unacceptable fix and you'd better believe I'll be cashing in on my "AppleCare Protection Plan."
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Misadventures in the US of A on Independence Day

3 visitors Saturday, July 5
I accidentally fell asleep on the couch yesterday in the middle of a Prison Break episode. My family tells me that I slept through dinner, my Mom's birthday cake, the timer going off in the kitchen, and Caleb playing Marble Works in the next room. Needless to say, I was pretty disoriented when I woke up alone in the dark in the family room at 1:00 AM! Now that it's pushing 4pm I really want to sleep. I found a Sichuan restaurant in the next town over that we're going to try tonight, and I'm determined to stay awake for that and to not go to bed until 9 tonight. We'll see!

Here's the part about the misadventure. Caleb really wanted to go for a bike ride so the four of us who were home (Jenny was at work, Caitlin's in PA for the day) decided to go on a family bike ride. My Dad was on my Mongoose so I got Jenny's bike out of the garage.

Now, if there's going to be a bike accident, it's going to be in Beijing. Biking around that city is like driving in NYC, and maybe worse. I've got hit from behind by a taxi, someone opened their car door into me, I've been squished between two buses, and I've lost track of how many head-on collisions have been averted with pedestrians and other bikers. Maybe the fact that the only accident I've had during my ten months in China was a running into an inanimate object is telling.

So we're getting on our bikes. I was turning around in the cul-de-sac at the end of our street when the next thing I know I'm sailing over the handlebars and landing on the ground... on the same wrist I busted in March by running into a pole. And all I did was slightly use the brakes!

But I forgot one very important thing: the left hand brake controls the back wheel and the right hand brake controls the front wheel in China. In the United States it's the OPPOSITE. Since my last literal run-in I typically grip the left brake harder because my right wrist is still sore. So that's what I did this afternoon and I can already feel some of the worst bruises of my life coming on. :-/
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Jersey again

0 visitors Friday, July 4
I had an interesting wakening experience this morning. The bedroom I share with Caitlin is upstairs and one part of the ceiling is slanted. My bed is under this part of the ceiling, which also happens to have a skylight. I'm still getting over jetlag, but I slept decently late this morning - until 7am. Caitlin and Jenny were both on their way to work at this time, but I slept through their morning routines. I was in the groggy, almost-awake stage when I heard a really weird noise. I opened my eyes and there was a squirrel three feet from my head, hissing and growling on the screen and staring right at me.

My body thinks it's 5:15am right now, so I'm fighting the urge to take a nap. I succumbed last night after dinner and missed our town fireworks. They woke me up and I watched them out the window from my bed. I've been slowly unpacking and getting re-acclimated to US living. I still haven't had a drink from the tap or driven a car, warm water from the faucet is strange, I cringe at certain words and phrases that people can use freely here, and I find myself calculating how long it would take me to bike to various places. I guess I'm too used to life in China!

My little brother became my big brother since I moved to China ten months ago. I now have to look up to him in conversation!

A random piece of plastic broke off the case of my MacBook this morning. Wouldn't you know that my warranty expired on June 29? I had to suck it up and pay for the extended warranty so that I can get that fixed and get it cleaned out from all of China's dust and dirt. It'll be worth the money if something happens to it while I'm in Beijing. I'd be up a creek trying to teach without a computer!

For your amusement:


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