Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Xiguan in Chinese means to get used to or to be accustomed with. People often ask us if we xiguan food or life here in China. For the most part we have taken to life here with relative ease. This has been due to the great people, tasty food and the natural and cultural beauty of China. That being said there are still many things that we must xiguan but have not yet.
1. Being called Mr. Mo.
2. Squat Toilets
You would think I would get used to the idea
3. The blaring morning announcements at 6:30 am Monday through Friday.
Better than my alarm some mornings
4. The fact that you can step off the treadmill and smoke a cigarette right in the middle of the gym --> True Story
5. Being so interesting that people stare at you.
I had a small group of children follow me home chanting "Hello, Hello!"
6. Having most people be very nice to us. I have had street vendors and shopkeepers give me free food. I have no idea why.
7. Seeing an Audi A6 followed by a donkey cart followed by a tractor down the street.
8. Eating dinner for 50 cents.
I hope that these things do not come off sounding negative, because I am not complaining. These are just things that have caught me off guard or things that I find very interesting. One moment china can feel very western, only to feel culturally like a different planet the next moment. All in all we are enjoying learning about our new home and look forward to xiguan'ing more in the future.
PS. We can't get to our Wordpress blog right now so that is why we are again posting here. Feel free to pass the info on to interested parties.
Friday, August 28, 2009
US Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman
We are at the beginning again. Today we stood up and raised our right hands and swore in as the 15th group of Peace Corps Volunteers serving under the unique subtitle, the US-China Friendship Volunteers. This is our second time we have taken this oath. We are now committed to go out and fulfill our organization’s and our country’s three goals for PC. For those of you who may not know they are:
· Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
· Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
· Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
These may seem like very easy tasks, but at times these are very difficult to put into practice. Not only must we be good at our teaching jobs, but we must also be good ambassadors to the Chinese on the part of the US and to our fellow citizens on the part of the Chinese culture. We are constantly reminded that this is not just during business hours, but 24 hours a day 7 days a week including our vacations. We are PCVs period.
Even on those days when we are struggling to adapt we must put on our smiles and be a good friend to our community. Even if we do not like some aspect of the culture we are obliged to understand it or accept it. The speaker today spoke of challenges and I look forward to them for the next year here. All in all we look forward to the opportunity to yet again serve the US and China.
We had the rare opportunity to be sworn in by the brand new US Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman. He has just sworn in himself and before meeting with the Chinese President, he decided to come to Chengdu to administer our Oath of Office. This being one of his first official acts, there was a lot of media that came to the ceremony. So it felt like an especially important day. He spoke of our importance as friendship makers and this is how understanding happens between nations. I found his speech and the words of our director to be very motivating.
Today was a good day to reflect on what it is we are doing here. We all join this organization for different reasons, but we all have one mission and purpose. Sometimes during the long hours of training we forget what that is and how important we can be if we are effective volunteers. We are here to strengthen our two nations understanding of each other, which will hopefully insure peace here and throughout the world. Talk about pressure. Well tomorrow we are off to Zhangye and the work (in the classroom) starts on Monday. We hope to be able to post more often as we are settled in Hexi University.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
We made it. With minimal hassle and discomfort we made it to Chengdu. I will say though that flying around the globe is not good for one’s sleep schedule. I realize that this is obvious, but if you haven’t experienced the 13 hour time difference after a 24 hour trip, you really can’t imagine what it can do to you. Last night was the first night that I slept all night. Que Rico!!
We started our training Thursday and we have been going strong the last few days. We and the other members of China 15 (75 in all) will spend the next 9 weeks learning Mandarin, culture, TEFL techniques, about safety and security, and all we need to be happy and successful Peace Corps Volunteers. One difference, we found out that we will be living together during training. We have decided this is good and bad, but in the spirit of flexibility we can roll with it.
Our overall first impression of China is that it is an amazing and dynamic country. The people seem to go out of their way to talk to you and help you get around. We have already been lost on two occasions and had people walk us around. We were invited to play Ping Pong by a student who saw us watching from afar. All in all it has been a great first impression. Sure we have not seen the sun come out yet, but the people and the organization of Peace Corps has made up for it thus far.
We look forward to updating you all when we can, but I have a feeling that in a few days we are going to get very busy and may not be able to post as often. We hope that you will bear with us and check in to see what is new from time to time. Like always we appreciate comments.
We hope everyone is well.
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Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009