Fun weekend

This weekend was relaxing, busy and just wonderful with Laura. Mark is in China, Trish and Tom are at Disney World, and Matt in Washington state at a music festival. Laura and I spent 8 hours shopping on Saturday, for her wedding to-do list, and found time to do some shopping for an outfit to wear to my niece’s wedding in a couple weeks in Canada. It was a successful day as I found a dress and some “cool” shoes.

The rest of the weekend was filled with eating out, a movie “Water for elephants” which we enjoyed, late nights, and many items checked off her wedding list. We didn’t even notice the cold rainy weather.

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Red, White and Blue

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Memorial Day takes on new meaning for me, now that I am an American.

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Love that red, white and blue !

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I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day.

Joan closes a chapter

Today I went to my old Transitional Kindergarten classroom in Springville. Some of you may not know that I worked for Nebo School District for 10 years, all in the TK class. I was a technician for 4 years, and enjoyed the class so much, that I went back to school to get my special education license to teach the class. I spent 6 years as the teacher working with some wonderful, dedicated assistants in my class, and some remarkable children. It was a job I truly enjoyed and looked forward to going to everyday.
I was granted a leave of absence a couple years ago, so the job would be held for me if I did not want to stay in China. Since we moved to Beijing, my life has taken on some new meaning again, and I am happy to be there with Mark. So, I gave up my job that I loved, and will remember fondly “the good ole days in TK”.
Here a few of my remembrances from my room- My class rules

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I still remember Patricia helping me with the clip art to make my poster.

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I went by Miss Joan (the apron was a gift from the teacher Miss Jill before me), and wore it on Fridays when we would cook.
The bells I would use to help direct my little students.

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A couple meaningful gifts from students.

I am happy to be in China, and will just wait to see what unfolds for me in the next chapter of my life.

Blue toes

Yesterday I had some work done on one of my toes. I figured it was a good time since I am home for awhile for the recovery. In the morning before I went I bumped my baby toe on my other foot, which hurt but was surprised to see the pretty colors this morning. A little blue on each foot. I think I will take it easy today.

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Last night Matt gave me a review on doing my blog on my iPad. In China I tried but ran into problems, so I am excited that this is going to work.

My tomato plants

Since I am going to be home all summer, I thought it would be fun to have a small garden. With all the rain and cool weather I was delighted to find these tomato plants at Costco, that are off to a good start.

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At-least all the rain is helping them grow. Now I need Mr. Sun to come out.

Blue sky, clean air, white snow

Mark leaves for China in a couple days so we thought we would go for a drive up in the mountains to enjoy the beautiful sunny day.

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Amazing to still see all the snow.

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Drove around the area where Laura will have her wedding reception.

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It was just a perfect day for both of us.

Happy Belated Mother’s Day

This was a very special day for me, to be able to spend it with my mom, and my mother-in-law, and my kids.

Last year I was in China, so this year was extra special to be able to share the day with all the important women in my life.

This picture was taken after our free breakfast at church.

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My mom and mother-in-law, love their silk rugs from China.

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Patricia’s graduation at the University of Utah

I am very proud to say that we now have a doctor in our family. Patricia graduated yesterday with a “Doctor of Pharmacy” degree. It was an amazing day to celebrate with Patricia, and to rejoice with the whole family the completion of eight years of school.

Patricia before the graduation

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Patricia after receiving her degree.

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Laura, Jonathan, Trish, Tom and Matt

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Laura, Trish, Matt

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Grandma Wayment, Trish, Grandma and Grandpa Halk

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The family

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The Wayments and Jerants (Tom’s family)

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My hat!

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The day was just spectacular, and the weather was perfect.

The day brought back many memories of four years ago when all three of my children graduated. After all these years looks like schooling is finally over for the Wayments.

Noodle heaven that is also a safe haven.

I submitted this article more than a year ago to the China Daily Newspaper when I still lived in Changzhi. As you can see it  took more than a year to get published. I like how they jazzed up the article with a more descriptive vocabulary.

CHINA DAILY

Life  Section

Noodle heaven that is also a safe haven

By Sun Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-05-04 07:58
Large Medium Small

Noodle heaven that is also a safe haven

Noodle heaven that is also a safe haven

EDITOR’s Note: “Home & Away”is a section about the life experiences of expats living outside of the major metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai. If you are such an expat and have an interesting story to share, please send an e-mail to expat@chinadaily.com.cn.

Joan Wayment says it feels great to walk around Changzhi city, in North China’s Shanxi province, and not be nervous.

Noodle heaven that is also a safe haven

“You can walk down any street in town, and not worry about being assaulted or robbed,” Wayment says.

Having lived in peaceful small towns in the United States for 30 years, Wayment is happy to have that environment replicated in a small Chinese city.

But her favorite part about living in Changzhi is that she gets to see the rustic side of a city on the fast track to development.

“I am impressed by the construction that seems to be going on everywhere,” Wayment says.

“It is fascinating to see there is still so much manual labor today,” she says, referring to street sweepers, delivery boys, and people cleaning the snow using brooms to shovel it into carts, instead of mechanical cleaners, coin vendors and snow plows.

Wayment adds she is also captivated by the picture of donkey carts on the streets alongside sleek buses and fancy cars.

The 53-year-old landed in the city in 2009 to join her husband, who came to Changzhi six years ago to work for a coal mining joint venture.

Given the city has just one KFC and Pizza Hut, the couple don’t have much choice when it comes to Western food. But Wayment says both she and her husband relish the food that the province is famous for: noodles and vinegar.

Wayment is amazed she can get the noodles for a very reasonable 3 yuan ($45 cents) and swears by her special noodle seller who will generously throw in a couple of hard-boiled quail eggs for that added taste.

“Wherever I go, I bump into diners eating noodles. Everyone here seems to have their three meals a day on little stools, at sidewalk tables,” she says.

Asked about her “culture shocks”, Wayment mentions the 24-hour traffic and “streets packed with pedestrians and bikes”.

She adds that riding a bicycle in all that traffic is mentally and physically exhausting and her husband and she are probably the only ones in town to wear a helmet.

“When driving around, I have to take many detours owing to road blocks and the muddy roads,” she says.

“At one point, instead of four lanes of traffic going in two different directions, we had five lanes going in one direction. That really zapped me.”

Once, when Wayment walked down the street, she almost caused a traffic accident because people were staring at her and not looking where they were going.

“As I am the only Western woman in this city of about 3 million people, I am stared at wherever I go,” Wayment says.

According to her, people often strike up a conversation in Chinese and normally she replies by saying “ting bu dong” (I don’t understand what you’re saying.)

“But no matter how many times you claim that you don’t understand, they just continue to talk and their voices get louder and louder.”

Despite all this, the Canadian says she enjoys participating in or being invited to festive occasions, especially Chinese weddings.

She was surprised when a wedding was held outdoors although it was still January, and none of the guests seemed to mind the bone-chilling weather.

Since settling in Changzhi, she has been working as a volunteer teacher at a local middle school.

She takes delight in driving a couple of students to school and chatting with them. It’s both an opportunity for them to improve their English and for her to practice her Chinese.

She describes her Mandarin as “very limited” saying it just lets her get around in a cab and order food and drinks.

During her spare time, Wayment likes walking through a park to feel the city’s vibe, sharing her China stories on her blog, going to the gym, and traveling around the country.

Asked whether she wants to live in the country’s major metropolises, Wayment says it would be fun to live in cities like Beijing where many people speak English, but plans on staying in Changzhi for a few more years.

“I like to see people’s daily lives in this rural area. Everything is very inexpensive and you can easily get around because it is small.”

China Daily

I made it home to Utah

Mark and I had a smooth and rather uneventful flight to San Fransisco. But, the pride I felt was just bubbling over when I walked up to the customs officer in the line for “American citizens”. He noted in a sweet way about my new passport. It was such a peaceful experience, and one, I am sure  that my nerves enjoyed.

Mark and I have been so busy, unpacking, shopping, and doing some cooking for our parents arrival tomorrow. My mom and dad from Canada, and Mark’s mom from Maryland. They are coming to attend  Patricia’s graduation on Friday at the University of Utah.  The last couple days I have missed the warmer weather in Beijing, but suppose to be nice this weekend.

Stay tuned for pictures of the big day.

On Monday my 5 siblings along with my mother made the trip to the US. Consulate in Toronto. After a couple hours they were all granted their American citizenship. A celebratory day for all.