A Difficult Land

Who are the aborigines?  What impact did European settlers have on the aboriginal way of life?  What challenges do aborigines continue to face today?  Remember to answer all three questions completely.


South Africa Divided

You want to convince a friend in South Africa to work to end apartheid.  Write a letter to your friend presenting your case.  Be sure to include the laws of apartheid, living under apartheid both as a black man and as a white man, and the economic and political effects of apartheid.


?s I’m Often Asked By Friends Back in the States

1. What is the weather like in Tianjin?  Today the sun burned me pretty bad.  It’s quite evident that summer totally wants to bypass spring.  That’s okay with me.  I like hot weather, and I’ll take that any day over the freezing cold winters that we have here in Tianjin.

2. Do you still coach soccer?  Aside from an occasional practice or tournament, no.  Today I did work with almost 20 junior kindergarten and kindergarten players for about two hours.  There was more crying at my session compared to my high school coaching days, but the kids are cute and I had fun.

3. What kind of food do you eat in China?  We eat all kinds of food here – Korean, Thai, American, and of course Chinese.  I’m going to take my family out for dinner tonight as a Mother’s Day gift to Megan.  She might pick Pizza Hut or TGI Friday’s since those are restaurants we consider a little more special.

4. So how are the girls?  Grace is having a word explosion this week.  The girl is at times sayin’ two-three sentences now, and I’m absolutely blown away.  Of course, we can’t always understand what Grace is tryin’ to communicate, but it’s still so much fun to see her develop.  Rose had an interview at my school this week since she will be entering junior kindergarten this fall.  The past few days I’ve been doin’ the bedtime routine with Rose, and it has been a great bonding time with her.  We’ve bounced around a variety of interesting topics such as my childhood, walruses, and sin.  🙂

5. Do you miss Indiana?  Definitely, but this is where we are supposed to be right now.  It’s hard being away from our family, but we are thankful for Mr. Bell, the Wright Brothers, and of course we can’t forget Mr. Gore.  Megan and Grace will make a two week stop in Indiana this July while Rose and I will stay here.  We hope all four of us can go back to Indiana next summer.

6. How long do you plan on staying in China?  Good question.  Ask the Boss because I really don’t know.  We have a contract to work here until 2010 which would mean I would be here for at least seven years.  That makes 13 years for Megan.

7. How’s the job?  I really enjoy my job, and each year only gets better.  My duties this fall will no longer include world history, but I will return to that position for the 2008-2009 school year.  Part of my “job” this next school year will be increasing my Book and Chinese studies.  I’m really excited about the upcoming school year and what our Father has planned for me.


May Day Break

Megan came back from LA late Wednesday night after being there for a week for the wedding of a good friend.  The girls and I are extremely happy that mommy is back home, and it’s just in time for my one week break from school.

Saturday:  I had to report to work and attend a staff appreciation banquet in the evening so Saturday didn’t quite feel like vacation yet.

Sunday:  I taught a lesson to the middle schoolers on how to be a grace giver.  If you’re angry, exclusive and/or jealous, you’ll have problems.  Megan, Rose, Grace, and I attended a going away bash for a couple of our colleagues – yummy Western treats and fun entertainment.

Monday:  I rode my bike to an electronics market with a friend of mine, and we made some computer part purchases.  In case you didn’t know, printer ink is a rip-off.  For dinner, our families ate like champs at TGI Friday’s.

Tuesday:  We rode our bikes to the People’s Park where they had a bizarre display of a robotic Ultraman and the monsters he fights.  Rose was a little fearful of these mechanical pieces of foam, but the two white tigers and monkeys were a hit.  Rose and Grace also enjoyed the airplane amusement park ride.  Grace said wee about a dozen times while we were flying up in the air.

Wednesday Rose was not feeling well so we canceled a trip to Beijing.  I took Grace on a little bike ride, and we purchased some fruit and vegetables on the street.  I had a mutton stick craving earlier in the day so for supper I brought back home a bunch of these guys.

Thursday:  Grace continues to use large quantities of tissue paper due to a runny nose.  Megan isn’t feelin’ so hot now.  Despite the illnesses the family is fighting, we go to Home Depot and purchase some goodies for the apartment.  Megan and I consume a couple bags of microwave popcorn and watch North Country after the girls go down.

Friday:  We discovered a new Chinese restaurant that we will definitely return to – close, clean, very affordable, great eats, picture menus, high chairs, and fast and friendly service.  Grace was a little scared of the soft-shelled turtles swimming in the aquarium, but who can blame her?  They are ugly critters.

Saturday The Wickershams visit the Tianjin Science and Technology Museum.  It can’t compete with Chicago’s Science and Technology Museum, but for only four bucks, the four of us can have an enjoyable and educational afternoon.  We eat dinner at a local Muslim restaurant with a former student of Megan’s.

Sunday The girls and I take a monster nap for a good chunk of the afternoon.  It’s a day of rest, and we don’t do the ten-minute power nap thing.  Like yesterday, another student that Megan once taught has dinner with us.

My vacation was a nice break from work.  Since havin’ the girls, we realize there is much of Tianjin we have yet to explore.  I’m thankful for all the vacation time I receive, and I’m especially thankful that I can spend it with mi familia.

may day