Last Notes from Illinois Before Taking Off

The Big Snow of Last Weekend

The Wieck House, covered in last week's March 1st snowfall

The Wieck House, covered in last week’s March 1st snowfall

With the prediction of snow last weekend, Saturday had our local Walmart teaming with people loading up on supplies.  Then it was a matter of waiting for the flakes to fall, which started at around 8 p.m. that evening.

By 9 p.m., the inches were accumulating to the point where I pulled out the shovel to make a pathway over the deck, down to the yard stepping stones and out to the dog’s favorite tree. Lao-lao gingerly hopped down the back steps and swaggered along his cleared-off trail, a happy camper,  until 11:30 p.m. when one last toilet run was needed before bed.  Yet another shovel clearing by me proceeded with the packed banks on either side being higher than the dog.

Sunday Morning: A March 1st Surprise

By 7 a.m., the snow had stopped and left our entire town with about 6-8 inches on the ground.

Sure, it was a great morning to sleep in but my mom and I have been attending choir practice at our church.  We knew that Paula, our director, would be in need of voices for our introit and anthem.  And since we live in town, about a 10-minute walk from our church, we didn’t even bother digging the car out from under all the snow.  Donning high boots, we trudged along the snow-plowed streets to get to church.

Walking along our snowy Marshall streets was a wintry  fairyland experience.

Walking to church along our town roads was a fairyland experience.

DSCN3881

DSCN3880

My mom, approaching the Marshall UMC on the left.

My mom, approaching the Marshall UMC on the left.

Our church men, out early to plow out car-parking for those who dared drive to worship.

Our church men, out early to plow out car-parking for those who dared drive to worship.

Our choir had 8 of us present, about half the usual number, with around 40 in attendance in the pews.  Many of the country churches in our area closed because no one could get to worship.  Everyone was snowed in.

15 minutes before service, this was our congregation.  A total of 42, including the choir, came in time for our 9 a.m. service.

15 minutes before service, this was our congregation. A total of 42, including the choir, came in time for our 9 a.m. service.

Despite the slim numbers, our choir’s anthem sounded quite good.  Everyone stepped up to cover the parts that stronger singers (not present) usually take over.

The early birds has a practice in the choir room before church.  My mom, Priscilla, is on the right and I'm next to her.

The early birds had a practice in the choir room before church. My mom, Priscilla, is on the right and I’m next to her.

Thank the Lord our organist made it!  We're very proud of our 1911 organ, and in awe of anyone who can play it.

Thank the Lord our organist made it! We’re very proud of our 1911 organ, and in awe of anyone who can play it.

Melting Down; Heading Off

It was nice to have a bit of snow toward the end of to my time in Illinois. Now the Midwest is sliding higher into what my temperatures are in China, 50s – 60s. Slush has overtaken our Marshall sidewalks and roads, causing Lao-lao to sidestep muddy puddles on our afternoon walks. Looks like all my new spring outfits I recently purchased will be making their debute next week when I’m back in the classroom again.  Can’t wait!

If you’re interested in my upcoming flight plan:

Monday, I’ll be flying out of Indianapolis to Detroit, changing planes to continue  onward to Shanghai.  An overnight in Shanghai at my favorite airport hotel will next have me on a morning flight bound directly to Luzhou and our small airport there.

After disembarking into a hazy 60-something predicted forecast, a 20-minute, $10 taxi ride will have me whizzing along dusty country roads that skirt the Yangtze before crossing the river bridge that leads into the city.  From there, it’s a 5-minute steep climb up Wa Yao Ba Road, through the entrance of my school and a drop-off in front of my apartment building.

I imagine being gleefully greeted by SP (Stairwell Puppy), who is an abandoned stray still with the community after the holiday break.  I’ve already been told via emails from Peace Corp folk Angela and Geoff that she is now the neighborhood pet, being fed leftovers by concerned individuals worried she’s hungry and too thin. (Don’t think that will ever be a problem.)

I have been emailed my schedule already so I know which classes I’ll be teaching on Monday, March 16, when I finally return to the classroom.  I’ll  be arranging make-up classes during the weekends and evenings for the 2 weeks I’ve missed.  This is normal in China for teachers who haven’t been in the classroom due to sickness, work-related or personal family absences.  No substitutes.  You just put in the hours needed by coordinating with the students what’s a good time to do so.

As you can see, I’m eager to get back to work and catch up on the latest gossip from colleagues and friends. Be checking out stories and news of my Spring semester in a few weeks.

In closing, here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) for your day and a very Happy Spring!

Farewell, Illinois!  (None of this weather in sight where I'm goin', thank goodness!)

Farewell, Illinois! (None of this weather in sight where I’m goin’, thank goodness!)

About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 18 years as an English language teacher. 13 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my second year in Guangxi Province at the 3-year college, Guangxi Normal University for Nationalities. The college is located in smalltown longzhou, 1 hour from the Vietnam border.
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2 Responses to Last Notes from Illinois Before Taking Off

  1. Sharon White says:

    Beautiful pictures!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. Kate Lindsay says:

    Your home is beautiful…..with the snow surrounding it and the trees outlined in it. My goodness the wrap-around porch what a treasure. You reminded me of my days at home in Kansas….as a girl I walked everywhere bundled up against the cold/wind with boots when the sidewalks were deep in snow……the quiet beauty and frosty nose! Thanks for the memories. Know who much my kid sister counts on her choir members on those cold Sunday mornings. Your photos share a special piece of America that one would miss if living only in a city or visiting it as a tourist. Safe travels as you head back to Luzhou. Do you have an American treat for SP? ‘Know your students will be pleased to have you back in the classroom. Hugs to you and your Mom!

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