我57岁了!I’m 57!

birthday 57 display

January 12 had me celebrating my 57th birthday.

I awoke in the morning to find the above display, set by my mom.

The birthday bear plays “Happy Birthday to You”. It’s our tradition to bring out this musical stuffed animal for any birthday in our family. This is the second year I’ve been able to celebrate my birthday in America with my mom. Usually, I’m in China but Covid restrictions in Sichuan Province still aren’t allowing schools to apply for foreign teachers’ visas. My college continues to ask but so far, no word has been given except, “Please wait.”

Of course, I’d much rather be at my college in Luzhou but I did receive birthday wishes throughout the day from friends, colleagues, not to mention my current and former students. Made me both overjoyed that I hadn’t been forgotten (I’ve been waiting for 2 years) but also homesick that I haven’t been able to return yet.

Posting for My Chinese Friends to See

To commemorate the day, I made sure to take plenty of pictures to send to others through my WeChat account, located on my phone. (WeChat, if you didn’t know, is China’s equivalent to Facebook or What’s App)

Here were my offerings: A slew of cards mailed from friends, a very pretty store-bought ice-cream cake and the January 12 Dog-a-Day calendar page.

Of course, no birthday is complete without the birthday song. Voices heard are me and my mom.

A Note about My First Birthday Cake Experience in China

Speaking of cake, let me share this story concerning the first birthday party I attended in China. It was 1991, in October, and I had just arrived at Nanchang Normal University in Jiangxi Province. I spoke no Chinese and knew very little about the culture or customs of the country. A teenage girl, whom I met by chance on the street, practiced her English with me for quite some time and then suddenly invited me to her home for her birthday. She had already contacted numerous friends to join us at her house, all of whom were very excited to have their first ever foreigner in their midst.

The cake her parents purchased for her was huge and looked spectacular with heaps of fancy colored icing lathered all over it. This 2-layered wonder seemed to promise a magnificent taste. After candles had been blown out, I remember the birthday girl putting a gigantic slice for me in a porcelain rice bowl (I found quickly that plates were not used for individuals but more as serving dishes for woked-up stir fries). She next gave me chopsticks to use in place of a fork and, smiling all the while, watched with amusement as I tried my best to manuever the dessert into my mouth. (I wasn’t yet very adept at using chopsticks.) I finally managed a huge bite, which caused the group to clap at my success.

As for me, the success was short-lived as I suddenly panicked to swallow.

I was anticipating something wonderful but the surprise came when my mouthful proved to be what I would deem as inedible. It was undeniably truly awful, especially the whipped- cream frosting, which had no taste other than a slick, lard-based, nasty texture that stubbornly adhered to the roof of my mouth. There the slug-like concoction refused to dislodge itself no matter how much tea or water I drank to wash it down.

The entire experience, from the sickly heavy coating to the extremely course, mustard-colored yellow sponge, almost scarred me for life. Nor was I the only one at that birthday party who strained to grin through a mouthful of this birthday “treat.” The Chinese in my midst wouldn’t eat it, either. I quickly found it was the enacting of the foreigners’ birthday tradition, along with blowing out candles, that entertained everyone, not the consumption of the dessert itself.

For many years, I wouldn’t touch a Chinese birthday cake, no matter how many times I was invited to do so. It wasn’t until I returned to the mainland in 2001, after I had been teaching in Taiwan for 3 years, that bakeries across China finally discovered adequate recipes, with overseas ingredients to match, which made for more enjoyable cake indulging on my part.

As for my January 12 here in America, I opted for an ice-cream cake, which is very difficult to find in China but one which I certainly prefer and treated myself to.

A Birthday Swim Has me Treating Others

Aside from pampering myself, I followed the Chinese custom which is to treat others for your special day.

Four times a week, I swim at the Terre Haute Aquatics Center for their public lap swimming. I couldn’t resist sharing 40 mini assorted candy bars, placing them on the table entrance to the pool, with an invite for staff and swimmers to pick a favorite.

When I ended my work-out, 2 hours later, not a single goodie was left.  Now that certainly was a treat, knowing that my small offerings were appreciated.

Final Recording

I couldn’t resist this show-off video as a finale to my special day,  along with an “I miss you!”  to my students, friends and colleagues.  

Yes, it was a fun day but I truly hope that my 58th will be celebrated at my Chinese college in Luzhou, with birthday parties galore and another swimming post but this time, in the new pool on our new campus. That was my birthday wish as I blew out my candles.

Be looking at this space a year from now to see if that birthday wish came true. I have faith that it definitely will.

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Wishing my Students in China a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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Thanks to my older brother, my mom and Bridget for being such good sports to record this for my students. I received a lot of comments after sending it off through my WeChat channels. Thought those of you who follow this site might like to see it as well.

Happy 2022, everyone!

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Our Christmas Eve Church Service: Mother and Daughter in a Tricky Trio

Me and Mom Christmas Eve 2021

There’s a story here concerning my mom and me performing in a trio during our Marshall First UMC Christmas Eve Service.

We weren’t meant to be a trio.

We were only meant to be a part of the choir but when the college student who was to sing with her friend became exposed to Covid by a roommate, thus bowing out of the service, our organist/choir director Jo Sanders was desperate. Who could she turn to at the last minute to step in?

My mom was choir director for over 30 years at our church. She also is a retired music teacher, a music major who specialized in voice. She can read music at the drop of a hat so she was a logical choice as a stand-in.

I, on the other hand, am not that adept at reading music but if it’s the melody, I can hold my own. Thus I was also enlisted to complete what was to be a duet but now became a trio.

On Thursday the 23rd, our trio had a short, 30-minute practice session with recent college graduate Jocelyn, who was to sing first soprano. I was to be second soprano and my mom, alto.

Let me just say there were a LOT of words in that song, The Innkeeper’s Carol. The copy we all had wasn’t so great as there was no original music score to Xerox from. Jo searched in the music files but couldn’t find any, thus my mom and I really struggled to piece together the verses. Jocelyn, being much younger than us, didn’t seem to have visual difficulties but remember, she had a lot longer to practice this thing than we did.

At home, my mom and I went over our music at the piano numerous times. At first, it was an agonizing procedure squinting at our copies, trying desperately to make sense of the faintly visible print while we harmonized our parts. The pressure finally got the better of us. We began giggling so much at our interpreted guesses that we barely made it through the piece from beginning to end.

“Wonder who that baby possibly can be?” became “Wonder who that baby probably can be?”

“Now a baby sleeps upon my stable floor” became “Now a baby sleeps upon my standup door.”

“Up above I hear a host of angels sing” became “Up above I hear a hoard of angels sing.”

“Yonder there are shepherds kneeling by his bed” became “Yonder there are shepherds kneading by his head.”

“Somewhere there are bells, I’m sure I heard them ring” became “Somewhere there is hell, I’m sure I heard him sing.”

It goes on from there but you can see why we got so punchy. While we had great fun during our at-home rehearsal time, the kicker came when it was time to sing for the final performance. This took place in front of the congregation with Jocelyn and was recorded, going out live on Facebook.

Did we slip up and move into our comedy routine during this solemn, holy occasion?

Take a look and find out. Hear anything amiss? That’s my tantalizing invite to get you to listen. Enjoy, folks!! We certainly did.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=search&v=1256695571488339

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The Mooncake or The Fruitcake: Which do your prefer?

     It was a fight to get through the lower levels of the Mouer Department Store in Luzhou, China. The entire population of this Yangtze River town seemed to be here. I pressed in close and peered over the customers, who were sampling and discussing some item of great importance.

            What was the big draw? None other than the yue bing, or mooncake.

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            Much like the Christmas fruitcake in the United States, the mooncake is not really a cake at all. It is a heavy mass of pasty substance, usually the size of your palm, encased in either a soft dough or flaky crust. Fillings abound, such as hard-boiled egg yokes, shaved dried beef, sweet red-bean paste, coconut, minced walnuts, sesame seeds and pine nuts.

            All year, thousands of yue bing make their way into every shop, grocery, market and department store across the country.  It’s especially prevalent around festival times, and when I was in China, it seemed that a majority of these traditional goodies found their way into my home.

            As a teacher in China, never had I been able to escape the bombardment of yue bing, especially during Christmastime. After every Christmas Open House I held, over 14 parties for 350-plus students, colleagues and friends,  everyone would bring what was considered the perfect gift for a foreigner: mooncakes. 

Student Party

These would descend upon me with a vengeance. In my small apartment on the college campus , the mooncake pile kept rapidly growing all through December, much like a persistent fungus.

          “We want to share our culture with you!” my holiday guests called out as they thrust into my hands boxes and bags of this festival snack food. Even the school administration officials got in on the act. On formal visits to my home for Christmas, they were often laden with regional mooncake specialties presented in ostentatiously decorated boxes.

         I appreciated their kindness, but at the same time, I was always at a loss what to do with my nightmarish hoard.

         Strangely enough, like the Christmas fruitcake, mooncakes were something of a joke. My beaming well-wishers proclaimed them “delicious,” but when the Chinese were questioned, their responses were not so complimentary.

“Too sweet,” students said with a frown.

           “Too fattening,” my colleagues declared.

           “Too many!” my friends groaned.

So while it seemed that everyone gave these things away as gifts, no one really liked to eat them.

Now here I am, still in the States, where it’s not the mooncake disposal dilemma I’m stuck with but the fruitcake.  There are 3 sent from family and friends sitting in my mom’s fridge, and another just arrived in a Harry & David 3-tiered gift box. 

 I thought I might be able to pawn some of the stash off on Bridget, our immigrant dog from China. 

Perhaps she would appreciate having a little taste of Americana.  But, alas, she took one tiny nibble and spat the rest out on the floor.

I guess every culture has its preferences, and looks like in this family, whether you be from China or America, fruitcake isn’t one of them.

“The worst gift is a fruitcake.  There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.”   Johnny Carson

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My Overseas Christmas Stocking: Breaking Traditions

(This piece was published in the Christian Science Monitor’s Home Forum section, December 3, 2004. Thought it was appropriate for today’s entry, before Christmas. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!)

One of my overseas Christmas Stockings decorated my apartment wall in China.

       My Christmas stockings have followed me around the world.  No matter what teaching position I’ve held overseas, my mother always mailed mine early enough so that I’d be able to adhere to our family’s Christmas day tradition of opening stockings before breakfast.   

       I consider the opening of my Christmas stocking a sacred holiday tradition.  Never would I open my stocking before Christmas.  But I have learned that breaking a tradition can sometimes be more meaningful than keeping one

            My first overseas teaching position was at the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association)  in Kyoto, Japan.   Aside from teaching English classes, I assisted the staff with various YWCA programs, including all the holiday events crowded into December. Yet it was the ladies’ Christmas luncheon which would require the most preparation on my part.  I’d been invited to be the guest speaker and introduce American Christmas customs to the guests.  This was quite a task, considering most of the women attending were not Christians nor familiar with even the most common Yuletide traditions of my country.   With this thought in mind, I began planning how best to give the ladies an understanding of Christmas in a mere 20-minute presentation.  

            A few days before the luncheon, my first overseas Christmas stocking from my mother made a timely arrival.  It was beautifully made from old quilt pieces sewn together by a local seamstress she had commissioned just for this occasion.  The goodies inside threatened to burst the seams and I anticipated the coming of Christmas morning when I could finally be able to see what wonderful things my mother had stuffed inside. 

             It logically followed that my Christmas stocking make an appearance in the YWCA program.  Seeing such a traditional American holiday itemwas bound to impress the Japanese ladies, and having a genuine one to show would make my presentation all the more memorable.    

            On the day of the luncheon, over 100 YWCA members filled the small hall.  After a light meal, I was introduced to begin the program.  One by one, I brought out various Christmas items to show the women seated around me.  When I sensed everyone was at an emotional high, I dramatically pulled out my Christmas stocking.   

            The reaction was just as I had hoped.  Delighted exclamations filled the room.  Everyone was taken by the beauty and uniqueness of the holiday stocking my mother had sent from America.  But what fascinated them the most was my explanation of stuffing the stocking and then opening it on Christmas morning.   

When my program ended, I thanked the ladies for their invitation, wished them a Merry Christmas and sat down.  A strange silence followed.  No one clapped.  No one spoke. No one moved.  People were obviously waiting for something, but what?

            Kawabata-san, the YWCA director, quickly approached the platform.

  “Connie did a wonderful program for us today,” she announced.  “I think we all learned many things, but maybe now she will show us what is in the Christmas sock?”

Kawabata-san smiled.  The ladies brightened.  I panicked.  

My reluctance signaled one of the Americans in the group to come to my rescue.  She proposed I leave the room, allow her to open my stocking for everyone to see and then give her time to repack it again before I returned.  

It was a brilliant solution.  

Kawabata-san escorted me outside of the room where I stood by the door, awaiting permission to rejoin the group.  Inside, I heard comments in Japanese arise as my stocking’s contents were revealed.  

“How cute!”  

“How delicious!” 

“What a good mother!”    

            When I re-entered the room, I was relieved to see my stocking was exactly as I had left it, but I noticed a change in the ladies now facing me.  They realized that the Christmas stocking itself was not the remarkable thing they had at first imagined.  All those knick-knacks crammed inside did not warrant much fuss or attention.  It was the love that went into the preparation of the stocking that made the tradition so meaningful, and it was this understanding which had been passed on to them that day.

My overseas Christmas stocking has never since made another public appearance, but if my students in China were ever to ask me to share with them its contents, I would do so without hesitation.  My Christmas traditions are very important to me, but some traditions, I have found, can be just asmeaningful being broken as being kept.  

May your stockings be full, your hearts glad and your holiday gatherings blessed.

My overseas Christmas stocking is always full.

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My Mom’s Weekly Newspaper Column: “Walk with Me”: Ornaments old and new

My mom continues with her weekly column in The Marshall Advocate, our local newspaper. She’s been in the Christmas spirit as we’ve been decorating with all our favorites. Numerous Christmas items from 5 separate bins have been emptied and placed inside the house and out. Each has found its special nook or cranny in my mom’s smaller house. So many memories!

In the newspaper’s December 11 issue, my mom shared her favorite tree ornaments, some new and others old, plus their stories and special meanings. Here I share her article with you.

Walk with Me by Priscilla Wieck

Christmas Tree 2021

It is beginning to look like Christmas in our small mid-western town. During my daily walks this week I saw a lot of outside work being done. Some folks were finishing a late leaf raking in preparation for winter snows. Others were in the beginnings of stringing lights on roof eaves and hanging green garlands with red ribbons around lamp posts and on porches. Lighted trees sprouted up everywhere, inside and outside. It seemed to me that they made their appearance later than usual this year but that may be because at our house a Christmas tree was up and lighted the day after Thanksgiving.

For the past few years, decorating trees with various themes has become popular. We see Grinch trees, Disney trees, all one color trees, country trees ,whatever that makes a tree different . It seems that anything goes as long as it stands out from the others. For some people, Christmas trees have become the “eye candy” of the season featuring glitz , glitter and spectacle. For me, however, my tree has become a tree of memories and I enjoy a trip down memory lane with each bauble I hang on its branches.

When I moved into a smaller house, I downsized my Christmas tree ornaments and kept only the ones that had meaning for me. I’ll share with you some of the memories that the “keepers” invoke .

Two of my oldest ornaments are a 3 inch cardboard house partnered by a 4 inch cardboard church both with painted windows and doors covered in glitter.

Cardboard church

 

When I place them on the tree each year I think of the church and parsonage in Massachusetts where I spent the first seven years of my life. They are always hang near a paper angel with foil wings that held the place of honor on the top on all of my childhood Christmas trees.

Tree top angel, 1950s

Each year I carefully remove from their cardboard nest of tissue , a dozen blown glass balls of various colors and designs that I purchased at Cauldwell’s Store the first year we lived in Marshall. The 1958 sticker price remains on the carton–$1.35. What fun it was to wander the aisles of that emporium!

Old glass bulb

Mildred Frazier, our former school librarian and good friend, gave me a tiny molded , painted wax angel with halo many years ago. She became my mentor and friend for my first years of teaching in Marshall. Lots of memories from those years!

Wax shepherd,Aunt Millie

There is a small composite lamb that daughter Connie placed on the church tree as part of a Christmas program when she was three years of age. It hangs near an intricately woven bamboo tree ornament that she brought from China along with a golden , red tasseled Buddha. It’s good to be able to share Christmas with her this year.

Sally Carpenter once gifted me with a lovely glass icicle that I place on my tree each year in her memory while saying a prayer of thanks for her many years of friendship .I miss her dearly.

One year, my former sister-in law sent me a little long nosed felt mouse with a granny cap that makes me smile every time I see it. We may never meet again in person, but I treasure the years spent with her in our family. 

Christmas mouse

A picture of my granddaughter, Meredith in a baby’s first Christmas frame is also a welcome sight each year and a reminder of how fast time passes. She is now 35.

Meredith's 1st CHristmas

More recently, I have added to my memory collection , a felted, fiber ornament in the shape of an alpaca made by a Sister Of Providence at the nearby St. Mary of the Woods College on the outskirts of West Terre Haute. It is a reminder of a visit to see the college’s alpacas with my brother and his wife when both were able to travel here.

St. Mary's Alpaca

I have too many Christmas tree memories to share them all in this column. This year I added two more. One, a white long bearded gnome(this is the year of the gnome ) was purchased last week on a shopping trip with Connie and the other is a glittery winged angel in traditional Guatamalian dress made in that country by the Louis Garcia family. These new additions will be entered in my time capsule, stored carefully away at the end of the season and welcomed back next year as the newest members in my Christmas Tree bank of memories.

“It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters,it’s who is around it.”–Anon.

Peace

Wieck, Ornament Article

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Thanksgiving Day Greetings from China from Students, Colleagues and My Church Choir

Last weekend, my WeChat messages from Chinese friends and colleagues exploded into my account.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Connie!”

“Wishing you happiness!”

“Are you eating the turkey?”

The answer to the last text was definitely “yes.” This was apparent in my later picture postings that gave visuals of the quiet, simple Thanksgiving Day celebrations my mom and I enjoyed. While a full turkey wasn’t exactly on our menu, a turkey breast sufficed. We further downsized the meal, adding sweet potato fries rather than the full-versioned candied yams.

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One surprising Thanksgiving Day message came from my Chinese church choir in Luzhou.

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The above, dated November 25 2021, translates as follows:

“Happy Thanksgiving! God’s Grace.

“Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

This was posted in the sopranos WeChat group by one of the faithful members who wanted to send me blessings for this, my American holiday. Excitement soon followed.

Ming Ming: Where did you find this picture? It was years ago. I see so many old friends. It must be saved for us.

Zhang Ming: The photo is precious. Most of the brothers and sisters are not in the choir anymore.

Wen Ding: There are so many who have left the choir now. This has triggered a great many memories. It is really precious.

Huang Hong: This is probably around 2012. I see Hongjun’s sister is there. She has long curly hair. So beautiful!

Shou Ying: Mr. Pan is so thin! Now he is a little fat.

Ming Ming: I see Ms. Cui is directing. She looks enthusiastic.

Xiao Di: May God bless our efforts; may God bless us!

The messages surrounding the photo soon tapered off as other subjects overtook the conversation.

At that point, I felt such a spirit of thankfulness to be connected in this special way to my choir in China. How I miss joining in on all that back-and-forth banter in the sanctuary during our rehearsals! Despite the continued wait, I know I’ll be singing joyfully among the sopranos once again, if not this year then surely next year.

I have faith!!

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In China, A Thanksgiving Day Weekend Travel Gone Ary

          As I continue to wait to return to my Asian home, I’m reminded of a holiday experience that took place years ago. I hope your Thanksgiving Day travels went a lot smoother than this one. 

While in China, on our American Black Friday, I decided to take a 3-hour trip to the provincial capital city, Nanning. It was time to stock up on new Christmas ornaments, butter for holiday baking and a few other specialty items, all which I couldn’t find in my small city of Longzhou.  

           I had wisely purchased my bus ticket the day before to make sure there’d be a seat since buses fill up fast going to the big city.  A 2 p.m. departure would give me plenty of time to check into the hotel room and hit my favorite chain store, the Trustmart.

My travel packing was spot-on. I had U.S. dollars, Chinese yuan, my credit card and my Chinese ATM bank card tucked away in my purse.  I had my smaller, compact suitcase carefully packed with necessary items.  I had my sack of to-go snacks, from peanuts to apples to dried sweet potato strips.

In other words, I was ready for my afternoon, several-hours journey.  
          I was especially smug at the bus station when I ran into one of my Chinese colleagues from the English Department. It seems she  was going to Nanning as well. The 2 p.m. bus was full so she had to wait an entire 2 hours until 4 p.m. when the next bus was leaving. 

         “You should have bought your ticket yesterday, like me,” I announced with great pride in my excellent planning. “You wouldn’t have to wait so long.” 

          She smiled wanly. 

           I next gleefully waved her goodbye, made my way through the terminal door, clamored on board my bus and settled into my seat. 

          Right on time, the 40-passenger vehicle pulled out of the station and headed along the countryside access road that led to the expressway, 20 minutes ahead of us. The attendant passed out our free water bottles. Tissue packets followed. Her duties done, she floated to the front to sit next to the driver. The bus’s occupants then fell into a peaceful lull while the overhead TV played Chinese music videos of modern singers. 

          We had just crossed the bridge out of town and were cruising along when, in a frenzied panic, I started digging around inside of my purse. 

          Oh, my gosh. 

          Where was my passport??!! 
          Sure enough, after all my self-satisfied prep work, I had forgotten to bring my passport, the one thing I was never, ever to be without. 

         A passport, the only official overseas ID, is absolutely necessary for all foreigners in China. Not only could I not spend the night in a hotel without it, but in that area of China, we had a checkpoint before entering onto the express highway. Everyone on the bus had to show their ID cards to the checkpoint police.  If the Chinese forgot their national ID card, they were allowed to sign their names on a paper and continue onward. But a foreigner?  What would happen if I couldn’t produce my passport? I didn’t want to find out. 

         On the silent bus, this foreigner’s lone voice shouted out in Chinese to the bus driver and attendant,  “I’m so sorry!! I don’t have my passport. I have to get off the bus.” 

        The driver, startled, immediately began slowing down. The attendant popped her head up over her front seat and gave me the “Uh-oh” look. Every single person on the bus stared at me. 

         Within moments, an all-passenger discussion erupted as to whether the foreigner could continue onward or not. Not wanting to delay the journey any more than our crawling pace was already causing, most insisted it would be fine.

        I, however, said I didn’t think so. The foreigner must have a passport to proceed onward past the checkpoint. 

           The driver nodded in agreement. 

         My solution was to be let off the bus, which was basically in the middle of nowhere. We were surrounded by sugarcane fields and rice paddies but I figured I’d somehow manage to get back to the town. Perhaps I could flag down one of the local van taxies that ran people to and from smaller villages in the area. The driver, however, insisted on returning me to the station, much to the annoyance of those aboard.  

          At that point, I could only profusely apologize to everyone while our driver skillfully turned the vehicle around on the narrow country road and floored it back to town.

            15 minutes later, we pulled into the station as astonished and surprised employees looked on. 

         With my luggage in tow, I hopped off the bus, again apologizing to all and thanking the driver for his kindness. The coach then sped away in obvious hast, already now 30 minutes late. 

         I was soon ushered into the ticketing agent’s back office for a ticket exchange. There I discovered the buses were already full for the day with only tomorrow available. I had no choice but to leave early the next morning.

          My embarrassment would have ended there had not my colleague, who was patiently waiting for her 4 p.m. departure, spotted me. 

         “Why are you back so soon? What happened?” she asked with great concern, rushing to my side. 

          “I forgot my passport,” I groaned. “I’ve never forgotten my passport before! I feel so stupid.” 

         Her words of sympathy? 

         “Yes,” she oozed with obvious delight at my misfortune. “Next time, you mustn’t be so careless.” 

         

        

           

    

       

 

     

                   

     

         

         

         

   

 

         

 

  

         

        

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A giggle for your Thanksgiving Day

(Taken from: A Monk in the Inner City: The ABCs of a Spiritual Journey by Mary Lou Kownacki)

Two farmers were walking through a field when they saw an angry bull.

Instantly, they made for the nearest fence, with the bull in hot pursuit. It soon became evident to them that they were not going to make it, so one man shouted to the other.

“We’ve had it! Nothing can save us. Say a prayer. Quick!”

The other shouted back, “I’ve never prayed in my life, and I don’t have a prayer for this occasion.”

“Never mind,” his friend panted. “The bull is catching up with us. Any prayer will do.”

His friend, huffing and puffing, managed to verbalize, “Well, I’ll say the one I remember that my mother used to say before meals. That’s the best I can do.”

“Say it! Say it!” the desperate companion urged.

“All right. Here goes: For what we are about to receive, O God, make us truly grateful.”

Happy Thanksgiving, Folks! And be truly grateful you are NOT those two farmers.

Connie for T-day

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Another Result of My Halloween Posts for the Chinese

In a previous post, I shared one of my former student’s pictures of students in her classroom enjoying my carving-a-pumpkin video clips. They tried their hands at carving pumpkins themselves and did a very impressive job of doing so.

A few days ago, another former student (Hero) sent me pictures of his classroom of 3rd graders enjoying the trick-or-treat video clips.

Our WeChat conversation went as such:

Hero: I shared your Halloween videos with the kids. They are so excited! They love it! Children liked the candies a lot. They all want to join in.

Connie: Thank you, Hero, for sharing my special tradition with them. Next year, I will come to your classroom and we will do it together, you and I, in person. What do you think

Hero: Yes, that would be great! They must be very happy.

I definitely know that I would certainly be very happy, joining my former student in the classroom as a co-teacher and a colleague.

A year from now, check this space for pictures of me, Hero and his students enjoying some Halloween fun.

It’s a date, Hero!

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