Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Swine flu?

We heard before traveling that we would be stopped at our final destination and be checked for symptoms of Swine flu. So we were doing what we could as we were landing to not be caught with a sudden temperature or sickly looking appearance. And what we were told would happen did happen. A few people boarded our plane covered head to toe in hazmat suits, goggles and gloves. One of the guys had on a pair of ski goggles!

So we waited as everyone had their temperature taken by the black radar gun! Everyone was ok on our plane. If anyone was suspicious though they would have been quarantined along with three rows in front of them and three rows behind.

It reminded me of a time in elementary school when the fire department came to our school to teach us stop, drop and roll . . . They also suited up in their fireproof garb so we would know what they look like if ever caught in a fire. They asked us "Now are you going to be afraid if someone dressed like this ever comes to rescue you?" All the kids said, "NO!" But secretly I was scared of how they looked . . . all covered up, huge masks on, big boots. I was a little scared of these goggled faces too!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

learning the language . . .

we spent 4 weeks beginning to learn Chinese. Our team was in class everyday with a tutor. We learned the phonetics of their alphabet and learned some basic conversational stuff. We could get by on our few phrases "hello, how are you?" "My name is ___, what is your name?" "That bag is expensive, cheaper?!" "I don't have any bread" "I like coffee" We all loved using the the Chinese word, kafei because it sounds the most like our english word coffee, and because we were all thirsting for some coffee in a land dominated by tea!
John really picked up what we learned and quickly started putting sentences together. It also might be because he looked over what we learned once every night. (He had the book we shared . . . thats what East Asia gets for putting us in separate dorms!)
Here is our beloved teacher Anna. She was very patient with us 10 Americans. We got off track only a few times with her!

these videos are very representative of our time in class. As we learned different phonetics, we would practice by repeating them three different times. They sound a little strange, and you might notice us laughing a little as we repeat. Our laoshi (teacher) would also ask us questions in chinese, we would ponder a minute wondering if we have any idea what she just asked, and then try to assemble an answer that made any sense to her! In the second video she asks if I have a younger sister. Once I actually understand what she is asking, I say "no, I don't have a sister."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

We are back!

Most people know where we have been. But if you are not awares . . . we have been in the far East for 6 weeks! We went with some college students to learn some beginners Chinese and get to know the culture and some great people. I have hundreds of pics to share, and tons of stories to tell. It might be slow-going but I would like to share some of those bit by bit.
But for now know that we are home safe and sound! This pic we took while on a bike ride through a town we visited for a few days. We rented the bikes and went for it in the crazy, no-rules, anything-goes just don't-get-hit traffic of this East Asian land!