Occupations in China

Yesterday we talked about occupations that my students might consider when they are thinking about their future.  I showed the poster and cut out many pictures from the newspaper of different careers.  Considering each one we talked about whether it would involve more schooling.

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It was very interesting to hear each student stand up and recite what career path they would like to fulfill.

Teacher, to help clever students

Zoo Keeper, to take care of the wonderful animals such as the panda bear

Businessman and Banker,  to make lots of money

Driver, to help people get around

Travel agent, guide, interpreter, to travel and see the country and speak English

Pilot, to see the world

Lawyer, This young man wants to be a lawyer in the US so he can make lots of money to buy a big house for his mom and dad to live in. I asked if he wanted to be a lawyer in China in which he replied no, I would rather live in the US.  I wish him the best.

I loved this picture of the pharmacist. The students had a difficult time understanding the concept of a pharmacist so I am not sure about that career in China.  I can’t decide if this picture has any resemblance to my pharmacist daughter Patricia!!!  :)

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I hope they are able to achieve their dreams for the future.

Attitude determines the vision!

I have noticed this billboard at the Beijing Airport on my last couple visits and the words have stayed with me. This time I decided to stop and take a picture.

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I think the words say it all.

Some days when I wake up and long for all my familiar surroundings from home, my attitude may not be the most positive and in return I may  not have the most uplifting day.  But when I wake up and feel that I am going to have a sunny day everything does look rosier.

Starting next Wednesday everyday should be a bright, new and sunny adventure as two of my dear friends from the school where I taught in Utah, are coming for a two week visit.  We will tour around Beijing and it will be full of jocundity  to see all the touristy sites again that I visited with Mark and our kids 5 years ago.

I think my vision will be bright and totally filled with excitement. Will I really feel like I am on the top of the world above the clouds on the Great Wall as the picture shows?  You can bet on it!!! :)

A walk in the park

I just got back from spending three relaxing days in Beijing.  The weather was HOT so I decided to take a towel from the hotel and have a picnic at Chaoyang Park.

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A perfect picnic lunch with a sandwich from Subway, a bag of barbecue chips, water and the China Daily Newspaper. Out of the four items I would only be able to get the water in Changzhi.

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A view of the mall across the pond where I purchased my lunch.

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It was great to people watch and actually listen to the birds sing instead of hearing the honking of horns.

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After lunch I should have done my exercises on all this equipment which is common to see at most parks.

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It is interesting the watch the locals get a workout.

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A young couple getting their daily exercise.

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After all the outside heat, a spirited walk, a full stomach, I was ready for a nap. No, I did not eat the whole bag of chips!

My students

Yesterday I taught the students the name for the following animals. I found this book in Beijing and it has been a great resource for me.

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With China being such a huge country, it was interesting for me  to find out that many of these animals are found in China. They enjoyed learning the names of  the baby animals. One boy had watched the movie “Nemo” so he recognized the clown fish.

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I finally remembered to take some pics when the students were singing “Imagine”.

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Some of the English teachers

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I think the students are doing a great job as this was only the third time singing the song.


You almost forget that they are just learning English.



Yesterday in class, I taught the students the song “Imagine”. I have recently been watching the first season of “Glee” and loved their version of “Imagine” so I made a copy of the song to take to class.

Simon was sent on a mission to find some blank CD’s and  poster board to write the lryics on. A difficult task, and Mark did not have any large pieces of paper so I taped a few pieces of paper together. Mark only had a fine sharpie so going over the words a couple times used up that marker.

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It turned into an educational activity discussing the  meaning of such words as “imagine, greed, brotherhood, sharing, dreamer.” Fascinating to hear the students define the words, and lovely to hear them sing the song. They are very talented in reading so they were all able to read the words, and just needed a little help with the pronunciation.   A little more practice and they will have it mastered and all without the help of chicken or ketchup chips!!!

Teaching again :)

Last week after waiting for many months  to get back into the classroom, I started my volunteer job.  It is at a middle school in Hobu which is the mining town where Mark’s company headquarters is located. I have been told the population is around 25,000 people which is close to the size of the city I am from in Utah.

I am teaching around 40 students who range in age from 14 to 16 years old, with a good mix of boys and girls. Their grade level consists of over 500 students so only the top students were chosen to be in my class. At the school there are around 15 Chinese teachers who teach them English so I usually have a few of them attending the class also. For many of the teachers and students I am the first “real” English speaking person they have met.  Much of the emphasis is put on reading and writing English. I bet their knowledge of grammar is far superior to mine. Xueer has been able to do some translating which has been helpful since it is a 40 minute drive to the school and the same on the way home. I actually spend more time in the car as I am only at the school for one hour. The school has a  car and driver who transports me back and forth. When I mentioned to the teacher that our schools do not have cars and drivers he was amazed. Just a thing that is done in China. A different student will take the drive home with me which gives them an extra chance to converse.

I volunteer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4:30 to 5:30 so as not to conflict with their regular classes.  I thought they were staying after school for my class, so needless to say I was shocked to hear that their school day starts at 7:20 and goes until 9:30 at night.  Yes, you read that correctly as I asked a few different teachers and got the same answer.

My job is to help with oral communication and the pronunciation of words which I find quite enjoyable to walk around the room and talk to each student. Our first lesson was on “family” so I brought pictures of my kids, my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews. The students love to see the pictures and it has helped to know a few Chinese words that I can throw in to help with communication.

The next lesson was on clothes, which was fun to teach about zippers, plaid, stripes, bracelets, rings, sandals, pony tails.

Last week we talked about American “comfort” food as I had a big calendar which included great pictures. I first asked what they knew of American food, the answers were “hamburger, pizza, hot dog, french fries, ice cream, milk shake”. Finally someone mentioned “apple”, at least one heatlhy food. A few commented that the food we eat is not the healthiest and perhaps that is why America has so many overweight people.

They were fascinated by the picture of jello, as they had never heard of jello before.food 005

They thought the pancakes looked great.

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A first look at chocolate chip cookies.

food 003Xueer and I decided to treat them each to a chocolate chip cookie, so we spent the morning making 5 dozen cookies. A learning experience for Xueer as most kitchens in China to do not have an oven, so no place to bake cookies. Their kitchen would have a wok to cook in.

The students found the cookies “delicious” a word they like to use. Only one boy refused a cookie so I would call that a success.

Yesterday I taught the students about Western holidays so once again Mark printed pictures for me to take to class. If I could only have easy access to all my things at home. Improvising is the name of the game. It was great fun looking at some older pictures to take.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Joan's eyes 022They had a difficult time figuring out we were crayons, not a common item here.

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They did not understand “witch” until I grabbed a broom from the corner and pretended to ride it. A good laugh for everyone.

Brandon as penguinI guess it is universal to love a picture of a child. I was shocked when someone yelled out “jack-o-lantern”. Brought back many memories of me trying to teach my little class that word.

After we talked about all the holidays, there were given an opportunity to tell what their favorite holiday might be. I loved to hear “Thanksgiving” so they could tell what they were thankful for and perhaps the chance to eat turkey. A food that is not common in China, as none of the students have ever had it.

It is great to back in the classroom teaching again. I think next week I will give one lesson on Olympics (yeah Canada). I  will be able to take some of my hats and pins to show.

Chaoyang Park

Saturday in Beijing was an absolutely beautiful warm day so Mark and I decided to check out Chaoyang Park which is only a 20 minute walk from our hotel. We have walked by this park numerous times but just never took the time to walk through it. We have been told this is the biggest nicest park in Beijing and it only cost 5RMB to enter (75cents).

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This is the park in the far background where Kerri Walsh and Misty May Treanor won the Gold in beach volleyball at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

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A section of the park was filled with cherry blossoms.

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Another section was an amusement park occupied with many familiar rides. An additional fee was charged to enjoy the rides.

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Mark and I were surprised to see little tents set up all over the park. On our way out we noticed this shop selling or renting the tents . I guess a nice shady place for an afternoon nap.

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At the entrance of the park is a replica of the building that is the major exhibit in the China section at the World Expo in Shanghai.

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Happy Mother’s Day

This year Mother’s Day is quite different for me since being in China, as I am not with my children or my mother.  Mark and I just flew back this morning, so last night in  Beijing  we went out to celebrate with a delicious Blue Frog hamburger. I must say it really was tasty.

After arriving at the apartment Mark fixed me a steaming hot gooey grilled cheese sandwich, so another comfort food to help me make it through the day.

I would like to wish my dear mother and mother-in-law a very special Mother’s Day. I am thankful that we were able to visit on the phone which made it feel like we are not so far apart.

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My dad and mom

grandma, Matt, Joan

My youthful energetic mother-in-law, Edith, Matt and myself.

I am looking forward to Patricia’s wedding when we will all be together again.

As a special Mother’s day wish I would like to share some of the flower pictures I took this morning before leaving the hotel.

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Beijing park and flowers 021Flowers to brighten your day for Mother’s Day.

Last pictures from China

Laura really did visit rural Changzhi, as this picture was taken at the airport. Looks prettier when the flowers are in bloom. See if you can find Laura in the picture.

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Laura enjoyed her free minutes sitting in the massage chair.
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Laura found some great deals on clothes and shoes while shopping with my friend Xueer.

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When we entered our hotel in north east Beijing we were stunned to see all these young girls giggling and standing next to these posters to have their picture taken. The actor is from Korea and he was staying at the hotel while on tour. Interesting that the hotel was advertising his stay. I guess there is a huge Korean population in that part of Beijing.


Summer (not spring) has arrived in Changzhi

May 1st is a national Labor Day holiday in China, so Mark and I decided to take a walk in one of the bigger parks in Changzhi. It was a beautiful hot day, as we seemed to have skipped spring and jumped right  into summer as it got up to 86*.

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It really felt like summer to see all people floating around in the paddle boats.

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These little girls seemed to be having a great time floating around in the inflated balls.

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Good thing they were tied to shore by a rope.

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I wonder if they have these at the parks in the States.