• 03Jun

    Things were a little boring around here lately.  No crazy men approaching me, no people in the middle of streets on ladders, it was hard for me to believe that I was really still in China! HAHA.

    But there were still a few fun adventures here and there…

    Ruth’s father was in town for 1 day and 1 night.  He had been working in the city’s outer limits doing manual labor work for the past 3 months.  I think he was drilling wells or doing something that was related to water.  He decided to go work out there for a few months as the money is supposed to be pretty good.  So the other day he stopped by our place on his journey back to his home for good.  After a great dinner Ruth and her dad wanted to go to Walmart and pick up a few gifts for him to bring home to Ruth’s mom and sisters.  I don’t know if it was his first time in a Walmart… but I’m pretty sure it was his first time on an escalator.  For those of you who have seen Elf… there’s a pretty good scene in that movie that describes his actions.  He was trying to time when the step was going to come out while holding on tight to the side-rail thing and ended up straddling a few of the stairs for a little while.  It was really cute to watch.

    Yesterday I met my neighbor that lives downstairs from us.  We were walking up the stairs together and when I realized that she lived in the apt below us I decided to chat with her a little bit.  Since I’ve been living here I’ve heard someone playing the piano throughout the day.  I really liked the songs that they played and I thought that they had pretty good skills.  I had assumed that it was a “grandpa” that was the one playing, as it wasn’t a rigorous practice schedule nor was it endless scales.  So I asked my neighbor who was playing the piano and she said it was her 13 year old son!  We chatted a little more and she invited me inside her home.  It was pretty cool, we talked for about 20-30 minutes all in Chinese and I understood I’d say about 85% of it!!!  I was really excited when I went home as I kind of surprised myself.

    I’ve recently taken on some little teaching “jobs”.  I’m teaching a 1 hour English class, 1-2 days a week to one gal who works in Ruth and Xiao Lu’s office.  Her English pronunciation is pretty good as is her reading skills, but she was telling me that her vocabulary is pretty small.  So I’ll be creating some curriculum for us to use, as she’s looking for some dialogue that might be more work related.  Their office has a lot of foreigners coming in and out so it’ll be helpful for her to know more work related things.  I have another “student” who’s more interested in learning more Bible words so we’ll just mainly be reading the Bible together.  She has a really good comprehension of English and her pronunciation can use some fine tuning, but she recently went to an all English conference and found that she was having trouble really understanding a lot of the Bible terminology.

    I’ve also taken on a “little” project.  Next school year we’re going to try to offer an after school English program.  It’s in the very rough stage of planning right now but the main focus is the schools that are for “migrant kids”.  What “migrant kids” means is that their parents have come from the village to the city to live and work.  However, since the government is afraid that ALL of the villagers will eventually want to do this, there is an application process type thing where you need “permission” to do move into the city.  What a “migrant” is, is people who have decided to forgo this process and move anyway.  So because they don’t have “city” status, their kids can’t go to “city” schools.  So there are “migrant” schools.  The parents generally work long hard hours for minimal pay and a lot of what they make goes to pay for the school.  (There are no public schools here).  So you can imagine that a lot of these kids don’t have the opportunities (unlike their “city” counterparts) to go to after-school programs that can either teach them music, English, and other subjects.  In addition, it can easily be argued that the quality of education is lower in these schools.  Very few teachers want to teach at a migrant school, as it’s just not as prestigious.  Here kids test into high school, so if these migrant kids aren’t given the same resources as non-migrant students, it can become very difficult for a migrant student to get into a “good” high school.  And if you’re not in a good high school then there is even less chance of you getting into ANY college/university.  So… the goal is to try to at least get some of these kids some type of resources to work towards a goal of higher education.  That’s part of the goal of the library that I’ve been helping out at.  We want to encourage these kids to be interested in reading and continuing their education as far as they can.  The big plan for this specific project is to offer different classes throughout the week (English, Art, and character building).  I’ve been nominated to be in charge of the English section so this summer I’ll be trying to create a fun curriculum that will hopefully encourage the kids to be motivated to learn more English and in turn be able to test well in the English section of their test!

    In school news, I have my Book 1 test coming up on Tuesday.  My teacher says it won’t be that hard… but it’s hard to believe her when she’s giggling after she says that.  It’s been pretty interesting having my “classroom” class be just me in it.  It’s sorta hard to believe that at one point we were 5 strong.  The recent classes have been good because it means that we can focus on improving my specific difficulties, but it’s also bad because we only focus on me!  There’s no break while it’s someone else’s turn to read or practice.  It can get a little tiring being the only one answering the teacher’s questions for 3 hours and the only one reading dialogue.  After class I’m definitely a little drained but at the same time I’m sure that I’m learning so much more this way!

    On Sundays I’ve been going to local church instead of the international one.  I love to sing the songs.  It’s a great way to learn a ton of new words.  As for the sermon, I can get some of what he’s saying but ONLY if I can find the verse he’s pulling from.  If I know the verse then a lot of the words are put into context and make filling in the gaps a lot easier.  But like last week I couldn’t figure out the verse so I was a little lost.  That’s when I just decide to do my own little private study.  The really funny part is after the service they do small groups.  In the small groups (at least the one that I sit in with) we first go around the circle and talk about what we learned or feel about the sermon and then we go around again and share prayer requests.  It’s a good way for me to practice more Chinese but it’s really really difficult!  It sure is hard to share in the small groups when you don’t even know what the talk was about though!  Hopefully there won’t be too many of those kinds of weeks!  My small group is nice and understanding.  Sometimes there are people there that can help me translate some things, but for the most part I just try to use the words I already know to convey something of substance.  My group is pretty nice about not laughing at me!

    I finally have all of my pictures framed (or a good portion of them… I’m still deciding on a few more).  All there is left to do is measure where I want them and then get my “friend” that works at the hardware store to come drill some screws for me.  He already came to help with 4 of them.  As soon as I get the rest up I’ll post a picture!

    Sorry no fun pictures this post!  This week was too normal!

    I’ve been really enjoying all the comments!  Keep um coming!

    Lup

   

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