26 Letters is Better Than 50,000+ Characters

Learning Chinese has been very difficult for me, but a # of people have been very supportive of my pathetic efforts.  A couple Chinese ladies at TIS who have limited English skills will strike up conversations with me, and this forces me to use my Hoosier toned Chinese.  Megan has of course been my biggest encourager.  It’s amazing to see her read Chinese.  Some people say Megan is the brains behind Team Wick.  What is Mark?  I am the Wick.    I’ve put in a little more effort lately in reading characters due to the fact that my lessons contain a significant amount of characters now.  I have a really fun teacher that I enjoy a great deal.  That helps so much ’cause the passion of my black  causes me to not want to study.  I take language classes twice a week for just under an hour each time, and it has been so humbling.  I used to think I was smart.  Now I realize I’m only kind of smart.
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Our 1st Official Fall Weekend

After school today I played  with a few teachers and students while Megan coached volleyball.  I have a couple nice bruises on my legs that make me say ouch when I press really hard on them.  Maybe I shouldn’t press really hard on them.  We hunkered down at TGI Friday’s  for dinner with some friends and purchased a few DVDs afterwards.  I didn’t watch any of our movie selections when we got home though because I crashed.  I was a rebel and failed to even take my contacts out.  The previous day we didn’t get home from Beijing until way past my bedtime.  Tomorrow I plan on doing much of the same things I did last weekend – pump some iron, work around our home, watch a DVD, and read.  I’ll also work on my lesson plans, grade a few papers, bike to the post office to mail some postcards and pay our phone bill, and take Megan’s bike to a repairman.
 
 

TIS 2005 Fall Camp

I got back from the 2005 TIS  Middle School Fall Camp a couple days ago, and it was a good time.  I’m glad to report that the students are more excited about house activities this year.  We were able to defend our paddle boat championship and finish in first (along with Whatever) for our flag again.  Our cheer finished at the bottom, but we can work on our delivery.  It has been catching on with some of the members of other houses.
 
Feel the heat, feel the heat.  We’re the Flaming Eagles, and we can’t be beat.  Feel the heat, feel the heat…
 
Are you ready?
Ready for the best.
We’re the Flaming Eagles.
And we’ll beat the rest.
 
Can you feel it?
Feel the heat.
We’re the Flaming Eagles.
And we can’t be beat.
 
Getting burnt?
That’s our fire.
We’re the Flaming Eagles.
The ones you admire.
Rabid Dawgs, Whatever, Who Cares?
We’re the Flaming Eagles.
Fried Chicken with Flair.
 
 

A Relaxing September Weekend

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning in Tianjin.  Due to the recent rain,  we have a clear blue sky. That is uncommon due to the heavy pollution created by all the factories and vehicles.  Megan is taking a nap, and I’ve been working around our home – watering plants, putting up our clothes, scraping paint off the bathroom walls, etc.  We don’t have anything planned for the day which is really nice.  Usually we have something scheduled with others.  We might search for some stuff for our home, work out, watch a dvd, study Chinese, and/or read.  Tomorrow I might play soccer with some co-workers as well as attend a professional soccer game.

Hangin’ Wit Da’ Boyz

Every few weeks or so, a bunch of guys from my work hang out to play pool, watch a movie, or eat some crazy food.  Last night we consumed raw beef, lamb testicles, and dog.  Ruff, ruff.  The raw beef was actually pretty good.  I had some in Japan a few years ago, but there wasn’t any flavor.  I’ve eaten sheep and goat testicles before, and what I had last night tasted different.  Would I order it again?  No, but I would eat them again if served.  Last night was the fourth dog dish I’ve eaten, and it wasn’t bad.  There wasn’t much flavor though.  We ate so much that we didn’t have to bring home a doggy bag.

Our 1st Month Back in China

     Megan and I have been back in Tianjin for almost four weeks now.  We continue to fix up our apartment.  A couple days ago our dining room table was delivered.  Yesterday we had ADSL and cable tv installed.  Today a wardrobe and dresser were brought in.  No more suitcases on the floor.  We have a very nice home, and we are so happy to be living here.
     I’ve done a lot of bikin’, liftin’, and soccer playin’ in the last month.  Unfortunately I hurt my knee Sunday in a soccer game, but I’m healin’ fast.  Megan has been doin’ the Tae-bo thing from time to time and will be doin’ it every Sunday with a bunch of ladies while I’m kickin’ a ball.
     Work has been going awesome.  My students are extremely well behaved and working hard.  I really enjoy teaching just sixth graders.  Megan begins Chinese classes at a local university starting this Monday.  This will be a Monday – Friday thing for 3 1/2 hours each day.  We both are taking language classes for about two hours through my school and that has been good.  Although my language skills are not strong, I continue to improve and feel very encouraged.