Solution, by Hillsong

0 visitors Sunday, March 29
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Life lately

0 visitors Saturday, March 28
I teach my history classes in an extra classroom. When I arrived for class I discovered two students there before me. One of them was changing - taking off his long underwear. I guess he was too warm? I can't ever remember wearing long underwear when I was a kid, and certainly never three or four layers of pants. The Chinese do, however! They'll probably wear more than one layer into May, even when spring is well underway. They think I'm crazy for wearing one layer all winter!

That student should have kept his long underwear on, because while temperatures hit hit the upper 70's two weeks ago, they're back down to the 40's or 50's during the day. The only problem is that the government turned the heat off on March 15 so us laowai need to pile on the layers at home because our apartments are cold! I've been sleeping under five blankets at night and the forecast for tomorrow says snow.

Here are a few happenings of late.
  • I helped out at a new English corner on Tuesday night. It's held in a dental clinic for the employees to better communicate with their foreign patients. We practiced scheduling appointments, accepting new patients, and calling and leaving reminder messages. I love my students, but it was a nice treat to work with adults. The facilities are really nice and we should get some free or discounted cleanings at some point.
  • I studied Noah during a meeting this week and then saw a rainbow splayed across the wall the very next day.
  • The McDonald's on our corner has a new walk-up ice cream window that serves chocolate soft-serve and four flavor twists: mocha, green apple, strawberry, and grape. Mountain Dew is now available at your favorite corner drink shop for the same price as a Coke. You left Beijing too soon, Mark!
  • Up until this point I've learned Chinese by listening, studying a little on my own, and using language CDs but Anna and Andrew and I are going to begin taking Chinese lessons soon. Soon = when we stop procrastinating and go take our language placement exam.
  • Beijing met it's blue skies target for 2008 on November 30. Beijing has a big pirating problem, and I don't just mean DVDs, fOakleys, and North Fa(r)ce. Government statistics should be taken with a healthy dose of MSG, if you know what I mean. Even so, I think I've seen more blue skies lately than when I first arrived. We haven't seen any sandstorms yet this spring, either.
  • We are beginning plans for our massive annual Easter egg hunt. Last year we hid somewhere in the range of 3500 plastic eggs that the students could redeem for candy and money.
  • Anna and I are excited to visit Sichuan Province with the Joel, Mary, and baby Jacob at the end of April. We'll be visiting Mary's parents in Chengdu and her hometown of Nanchong for five days.
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Job update

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It looked for a little while that Anna and I would be moving to teach at Renmin University for the 09-10 school year, but things have changed since my last post. Anna and I and our qualifications were initially okay-ed by the Foreign Experts Bureau to go to the University, but we forgot that nothing is final in China until it's a completed action. Ren Da changed their minds on two accounts.
  1. They will allow the first-year teachers to return to teach their second year, so they don't have to leave the school as originally thought.
  2. They have told Anna and I that we cannot teach at the University without two years of university teaching experience or a masters degree - our experience at the high school and middle school level don't qualify. They're looking for foreign teachers who can bring more prestige to their school, but this is the school's rule and not the fault of government regulation.
After a few weeks of not knowing exactly what next year would look like, we are staying where we're at. Nate and Jess, the couple I mentioned in the last post, are still going to Ren Da next year so the University team will number six. Our overall team is growing again - Shi Yi asked for ten teachers and RDFZ (my school) wants 22 teachers among its three campuses. Teachers and spouses bring the grand total to 40, plus three children under the age of two!

I said above that we're staying where we're at. We'll keep the same teaching positions, but we're moving into a new apartment building . . . sometime. Sometime could mean anytime between tomorrow and August. Since the school promised us we would move by September 1, 2008 I will only believe we're actually moving after my stuff is over there. :) The overall space is somewhat smaller than what we have now, but it has a few things I'm excited about. There is a lot of storage and closet space, cabinets under the sink in the bathroom (we have a pedestal sink right now), a big shared walk-in closet (if that sounds weird, it's because it is), washing machines in each apartment, central heating/air (no more radiators!), and a small glassed-in balcony/clothes drying room off each bedroom. The living room has several functions - the walk-in closet is on one side with sliding doors (I told you this was weird), the kitchen counters and cabinets are built in along one corner, and the rest of the space is occupied by the couch area and dining room table/chairs.
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When in China, do as the Chinese do

0 visitors Thursday, March 19
Yesterdays temperatures made it almost to 80 degrees. Spring is in the air! Well, it better be because the government turned off our heat on March 15.

I began teaching about the Roman Empire this week. We were discussing the origins of the phrases "all roads lead to Rome" and "Rome wasn't built in a day." When I asked the class about the meaning of "when in Rome, do as the Romans do," a kid responded "when in China, buy pirated DVDs!"
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Good news!

0 visitors Monday, March 9
Anna and I have been approved to teach at Renmin University next year. Even better news is that Nate and Jess Smith have decided to stay on a fourth year and move to Ren Da! This brings the count at Ren Da next year up to five team members. What the adversary meant for harm, our father is turning into good.
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Obama's gift gaffe

0 visitors Sunday, March 8
Check out this unbelievable story about the gifts that the Obama's gave Gordon Brown when he visited the U.S.
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Renmin University

1 visitors Friday, March 6
If you've been following my tales in China, you know the visa troubles that have plagued the other schools in our program (Shi Yi and Ren Da) in recent years. China's Foreign Experts Bureau (FEB) has a law on the books that says that all foreign teachers need to have some combination of a bachelors degree, two years teaching experience, and/or ESL certifcation. A new Renmin University VP decided that beginning next school year all foreign teachers must have two years teaching experience or a masters degree. The University has gone before the FEB in years past to petition for an exception for Cedarville teachers, but they will no longer do that.

With the exception of one, all of the teachers who were planning to return to Ren Da next school year have one year of teaching experience, which means they are unable to return. This leaves one position filled and seven empty. While it's probably a step in the right direction for China to start obeying its laws (hello Sanlu-melamine-milk scandal, lead-toy scandal, poisoned-medicine scandal, etc.), it leaves our program at Ren Da in a lurch.

I have two years teaching experience (clearly this qualifies me to teach at one of China's top universities*) so I may be changing schools and going to Renmin University next school year with Anna. Our small team of three next year is only five minutes by bike from where I teach right now, so I'm not moving far. I'll be sad to leave my school and my students, but I'm up for a new challenge. I'm also okay with fuwuyuan at the new school cleaning my bathroom and changing my sheets. I'm pretty sure I won't miss doing that. :)


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There's no one as Irish as Barack Obama

0 visitors Monday, March 2

No one as Irish as Barack OBama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

You don't believe me, I hear you say
But Barack's as Irish, as was JFK
His granddaddy's daddy came from Moneygall
A small Irish village, well known to you all

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

He's as Irish as bacon and cabbage and stew
He's Hawaiian he's Kenyan American too
He’s in the white house, He took his chance
Now let’s see Barack do Riverdance

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

From Kerry and cork to old Donegal
Let’s hear it for Barack from old moneygall
From the lakes if Killarney to old Connemara
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama
From the old blarney stone to the great hill of Tara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

2008 the white house is green, their cheering in Mayo and in Skibereen.
The Irish in Kenya, and in Yokahama,
Are cheering for President Barack O’Bama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

The Hockey Moms gone, and so is McCain
They are cheering in Texas and in Borrisokane,

In Moneygall town, the greatest of drama, for our
Famous president Barack o Bama

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

The great Stephen Neill, a great man of God,
He proved that Barack was from the Auld Sod
They came by bus and they came by car, to celebrate Barack in Ollie Hayes’s Bar

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

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GE meets Qin Shi Huangdi in Atlanta, GA

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Chinese Relics and Relationships
Source: Internal
05 January 2009

Late last year, GE welcomed 500 guests, including nearly 200 employees, to view an exhibit at Atlanta's High Museum of Art chronicling the reign of Qin Shi Huangdi - one of history's most notable rulers. The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army is on display through April 2009.

Qin Shi Huangdi is responsible for standardizing Chinese writing, currency, law, weights and measures; building a system of roads, the first phase of the Great Wall, and even a 7000-piece warrior army to guard his tomb.

Comprised of more than 100 objects, the display includes 15 life-sized terracotta warriors, officials, horses, and entertainers. The High Museum exhibition is the largest grouping of these objects China has ever loaned to the United States.

As lead sponsor of the exhibition, GE hosted a welcome reception, where John Rice, vice chairman of GE, summarized the importance of the exhibit and the partnership between GE and China. "This is really a celebration for us. It's a natural relationship with the country of China where we've been doing business, led by our Energy business, for 100 years," he said.

"When [the High Museum] approached us about being the lead sponsor for the Terracotta Warrior Exhibit, we agreed because it symbolizes something that's obviously important to the country of China and clearly of importance to our company: leadership, ingenuity, and longevity."

A similar sentiment about GE's relationship with China was shared by Zhou Wenzhong, Chinese ambassador to the United States, "GE is a good partner, and GE's success story in China is a good example of this win-win relationship between China and the United States. We want to thank GE for their participation in China's developed program."

The mood and significance of the reception was further underscored by the fact that it served as the kick-off to GE's 9th annual China CEO Program, which hosts CEOs in the United States and offers them a first-hand look at GE's best practices.

"I think this is a very good opportunity for CEOs from China to come to the United States to have a good exchange of views and to figure out what to do in the future in terms of more cooperation, and closer ties between the two countries," Wenzhong added.

GE's sponsorship of the exhibit is a way to celebrate GE's growing relationship with China, from a commercial, cultural and personal perspective, and China's willingness to share the exhibit with the American people for the first time holds perhaps even greater significance.
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Rohming Outside The Ropes

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What happened senior year? Apparently the videos at CU got good again after I graduated.

Flash back to the past. The Facebook Song.

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