Snapshots of Campus Life

Trip Start Jun 24, 2010
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Trip End May 18, 2011


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Flag of China  , Jiangxi,
Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nestled on a small hillside in the otherwise rather undistinguished southern part of the city of Nanchang is the small campus of the Jiangxi Civil Affairs School, our home-away-from-home for the past few weeks. We consider the school our little "oasis" with its gorgeous vegetation, lots of trees, and most of all, its endless supply of student smiles!  As we've said in previous blogs, as we meander around campus we hear a constant barrage of “hello”, “good morning”, “how are you”, and a variety of other personal greetings from kids who are enthusiastically trying their darndest to learn and speak English, with us as the obvious target of their practice, much to our delight!  These kids are happy, friendly, motivated to learn, and proud of what they have the privilege to do – get an education!  And even though it lacks the “fancy” amenities we may be used to in “our world”, this school has the heart and the drive to make sure that all the students have at least the basics to succeed in their endeavor to learn, and all of the teachers and administrators seem to bend over backwards to attend to the needs of anyone who needs help or guidance, including those helpless foreign folks who have landed in their midst!  ;-)

We feel very blessed to have such personal attention too, as we are surrounded by a bevy of “guardian angels” who make sure we are as comfy as we can be in our “home” here.  As an example, because the meal times at the student cafeteria are short and a little outside the rhythm of our body clocks, if the students notice that we haven’t made it to a meal, someone will inevitably come running to our room to “remind” us that it’s time to eat (wouldn’t want to run the risk of the “foreign friends” going hungry….;-).  In fact, on a couple of mornings when we simply decided to skip breakfast because we weren’t all that hungry, we got a knock on our door, only to find two of our student friends standing there with bowls of steaming red bean and rice congee (a thin tasty porridge) they brought for us so everyone would know we were eating enough!  ;-)

We also awaken each day at about 6:00 am to the blaring but otherwise enjoyable morning exercise music broadcast throughout the campus over the large rooftop-mounted speakers, but so far we haven’t been quite motivated enough to go out and join the students for their morning fitness ritual.  ;-)

In the brief time we've been here we’ve accumulated probably a billion stories, a bunch of them very special, some of them humorous, a few of them poignant, but all of them PRICELESS!!   We’ll try to let the pictures tell most of the stories for right now though………………..






 




























































 














                   
 














 



                       
 



































































































 































Note from Benjamin:  We’re at the school in Nanchang and I made some new friends.  I will tell you their names:  Liang, Shuzeng, Pong, Michael (we can’t pronounce his Chinese name), Lulu, and many others.  I have been playing ping pong with some of them.  Some have wanted to learn to play baseball, so we’ve been playing catch when it’s not too hot.  Even Daddy made a friend at the computer lab.  We found a piano that I got to play once, but sometimes the hallway doors are locked.  Otherwise, I can crawl through the window into the room!  The food is good, but one night we just had to ask our friend Lulu, who speaks really good English, to go get us pizza.  The pizza tasted VERY good!  Another thing that has been happening a lot is students and teachers giving us many moon cakes—it’s Mid-Autumn Festival this week.  We also got to watch fireworks out our apartment window.  Thank you for tuning in to “Benjamin Live.”  See you next time folks.

Note from Lisha:  In China one time it was very windy.  We had thunder and lightning and then the power went out.  We told ghost stories while the power was out.  I have made lots of new friends.  One of my friends is eleven years old and she can speak a little bit of English.  She comes here sometimes to stay with her aunt who is the Chinese teacher.  The Chinese food is very good, especially the steamed rice.  Sometimes we need American food, though, so once we went to KFC and when we had pizza, I ate three pieces.  Lots of the girls can speak better English than the boys.  I like to help out in our classes.  I got to sing a song and do a little ballet.  I also told about how we like to go camping at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm.  Some of the girls let me come to their dance class and we practiced a routine like “Kung Fu Panda.”  We do our math every day and we’ve been practicing writing poems.  I am very good at it.  Love, Lisha




And there you have it – some glimpses of the life on the Jiangxi Civil Affairs School campus as we’ve come to know and love it!  You’ll undoubtedly hear more snippets of our experiences here as time goes on, but I think you’ve now probably got a pretty good flavor of what we’ve been in the middle of for the last few weeks…………..and it’s all been quite “TASTY”!!  ;-)

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Comments

James Reddick on

I am enjoying your travel log with all the pictures. Don't know whether you get any news from here but the budget had another 6.3% immediate cut. Maybe by the time you get home the economy will be on the up swing.

Nancy on

John, you would sooo enjoy the Ducks this year. Down 21 to 3, they came back to beat Stanford 52 to 32! Ranked #3 or 4 nationally depending on the poll - a far cry from my days at UO. Am really traveling vicariously with you. What at fantastic experience for all of you. Can hardly wait to see you in TZ. Keep the news coming!

Cindy on

Hi guys! It is so fun hearing all your stories and seeing the pictures! Work is really busy still - I did get a promotion and a whole new job - not sure about it all yet...budget forecast is awful. Adrienne is getting better but still a long way to go. Eric's job just ended so I think he is moving from couch to couch for now... We have a TZ meeting on Sunday which I am really looking forward to finding out more about the trip. It will be great to see you all! All my love.

Shortstop on

Hey Marnak, Carrie, and kids. I am so enjoying following your adventures across the world. In fact, I'm thinking about calling in sick for the rest of the school year and simply living life vicariously through you. Needless to say, I'm jealous of your superstar status as English teachers in China. Heck, I've been teaching English for 32 years and never achieved such fame. I must say, Marnak, that your blog is beautifully written, not that I would have expected any less. No doubt all that training you had in putting out "Rumor Has It" prepared you for this stage of your life. At any rate, I very much look forward to the next installment. I know someone else mentioned the Ducks and the incredible season they're having. Did you ever think such a thing could happen? Holy cow, the most exciting thing I ever saw at an Oregon football game in the 70s was wasted frat boys throwing beer bottles (full beer bottles) at the cheerleaders. Times have changed! Every time I read the blog, Marnak, I feel as though you've stopped by to share one of your stories.

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