This entry is for my Chinese students, who will be logging on soon to complete their back-to-school homework assignment. Because I am still in America, and our school year in China has already started, I want to keep them busy before I return. Their current assignment is: 1) read 3 blog entries (one from 2008, one from 2009 and one from 2010 or 2011) and give impressions of your reading in 100 words or more 2) choose any blog picture to describe and tell why you chose it (50 or more words) 3) Ask Connie 3 questions about what you’ve read or seen. This written homework is to be handed in on the first day of class we have together, which will be the week of Sept. 12.
Why am I late in returning to teach in China for the 2011 school year?
Foreign language teachers who teach with the Amity Foundation have sending agencies in their different countries. The sending agencies hire the foreign language teacher to send to China to be an Amity Foundation teacher. Every sending agency usually asks their teachers to return to their home countries to talk to others about China, their work and the Amity Foundation. In this way, people from other countries learn about China, the educational system of the Chinese young people and what it’s like to teach in such a big country. Also, this helps to recruit more teachers. If someone is interested in becoming an Amity teacher, he or she can contact the Amity Foundation (amityfoundation.org) or the sending agency to discuss more about possibly being a teacher in China.
The word used for traveling to different places and giving talks is itineration. So this trip has been my itineration trip, about 2 months.
For myself, I return to America every 3 years for itineration. I travel to different cities and small towns. I talk about my work in China and explain about the Amity Foundation. This summer was my turn to visit my area of America to do just that. For 2 months, I drove all around Illinois (my home state) and gave talks to large and small groups of people. Most of the groups I talked to belonged to the United Methodist church, which is my sending agency sponsor.
I don’t have a car in America but my parents were very kind. They loaned me their car so I could travel easily to many different towns and cities. In total, I drove 3,150 miles and gave 24 presentations. Many kind people invited me to spend the night with them when I had to travel too far. My longest drive was 7 hours in one day.
Illinois is very famous for sweet corn and beans so I enjoyed looking at the beautiful countryside on my long drives.
Illinois is also very flat. There are no mountains or hills so you can see for miles and miles in every direction. Illinois is known as the prairie state because we have a lot of flat land. A prairie is a wide range of flat land. Years ago, the land was filled with grass but now its full of farm fields — corn, soybeans and wheat.
When driving along countryside roads, we have to be very careful in Illinois. There are lot of deer and deer families that cross the road late at night or even during the daytime. They are living in wooded areas or eatting the corn in the corn fields. The deer run very fast and we have a lot of accidents when cars hit the deer. My mother hit a deer once. It took over $800 for her to fix the car! Fortunately, the car insurance paid for the repair work.
On my drives, I saw several families of deer. I was fortunate not to run into any deer, though. Lucky me!
After my talks, there was a short Q & A session (Question and Answer). My listeners gave their impressions and thoughts about what I had said and the pictures I had shown them during the powerpoing presentation. Some of the things that surprised them and that they asked about:
1) Almost all Chinese have cellphones (In America, cellphones are used but not by everyone. They are a little expensive but in China, they are very affordable.)
2) Chinese college kids look so young! They look like they are in junior high school.
3) Why are there so many girls in your classes? It seems the boys don’t like to major in English in China.
4) We always heard that Chinese families can only have 1 child. Your students, however, have brothers and sisters. In fact, some have very big families. Why?
5) Does the sweet corn in China taste the same as the sweet corn in Illinois? (Well, I think Illinois corn is sweeter and juicier. But maybe that’s because I’m from America. Perhaps Chinese think their corn is better)
There were many more questions people had and I was happy to answer for them. Everyone was very interested in China, just like my Chinese students are interested in America.
On Saturday, Sept. 3, I am flying back to China. I will land in Shanghai first, then Chengdu (Little Flower is in Chengdu at her sitter’s home) and finally Nanning. I am really looking forward to returning to Longzhou. I hope all my students will study just as hard this year as they did last year. We will see!
From America’s Illinois state, here’s wishing you “Ping An” (Peace) for your day. I hope you enjoy the following slideshow from my many presenations and visits throughout Illinois. I truly loved every minute!