Saturday, February 25, 2012

Preparing for Work, and the learning curve of teaching is truly high. I feel the burn.


8 February 2012

Dear Family,

I should tell what is going on before I have to write another long chapter to my China Life story. By the way, it still sounds like a warzone outside. 
I hear that it is the Lantern Festival today. Yesterday  I went on QQ, a social networking instant messaging website, and I said hello to all my friends. 等一个人, a cousin of Yacht's, explained the occasion of the day. This day is the final day of the Spring festival. The lantern festival is themed after an ancient inventor that invented the flying lantern. It is an unmanned hot air ballon. They used to use this in war. 等一个人 said that sending these lanterns to fly symbolizes that thinks are well. We got to the temple after ten pm, so we missed the big event when hundreds are sent flying at once. I did see them though. I was very windy, so it was difficult to let them go successfully. 等一个人's family bought a few, and we tried to fly one, but it failed. I have a couple, so we can do it at home. Flying these lantern are illegal now, since they cause fires, but Traditions are hard to stop.
I woke up Monday morning, (This is monday, the thirtieth of January.) wanting to go practice Tai Chi, but I figured that this well be a beginning of a normal week or something new, so I should wait for Mary to tell me what is happening. She indeed had something big, having me meet with some education experts at 9:30 am.
I was use making lesson plans, and this is the main thing that we did at first. At 9:25 a girl walked in, calling herself Shirley. We have become very good friends hanging out for the past week. Shirley is seventeen years old. Shirley was a child of learning disabilities, so her parents and her decided, since she is a girl, who should 'stay home;' instead of going to high school, she goes to an institute, skipping high school. She is studying for a bachelor's degree to be an English teacher; although, she has never taught a class. She has been a great help and my translator too. We made our first lesson plan before lunch and a couple others in the afternoon. She helped me get in to a prespective of teaching six to seven year old children.
The next day I practiced the lessons before Mary; Shirley; Mr. Yu, the real education expert; and an other friend. (They vary.) Mary expected me to bring material to China. I see what type of material that she wanted how, and I could not have provided what she wanted. Kindergarden is for children age 2-6. It is basically preschool for all those years. The reason that I could not provide that material is because they have a completely different perspective on education. All this week they have been teaching me to be a performer. Kindergarden teachers have to be active because this shocking fact. I had to ponder a while to accept it. Chinese parents do not teach their children to read or write. They depend on primary school to teach them these skills. This is necessary according to their language, since there is no alphabet. I would think that the parents could teach their children. Maybe the government instilled this in the people to promote trust. I just got back from church, and a man named Mike moved into the branch. His wife got a job practically identical to mine; however, the school system that she works for is a lot more organized. It is organized by Disney, and she likes the job saying that it is her easiest teaching job. She is learning to be a performer like me. Learning this things of the Chinese Education system has been shocking, and I have needed to humble myself to these traditions. When I learned this, I thought to myself. "So much for bring the American style Kindergarden to China as sought after by word before I arrived."
One adventure that I had with my friend Shirley is that we went to a library and a book store. I was looking for a dictionary, pulling a Brother Duckworth.I got a Madarin Book of Mormon last Sunday. Sunday I learned that it is simplified Chinese. Traditional Chinese is more real and comprehendsive in the writing, so I would rather begin with that I think to understand where the simplified Chinese is coming from. Simplified Chinese is more modern though.
I rode Mary's bicycle. It was fun to try to participate in the madness of the road. Shirley wondered why I would laugh at her when she would walk in the middle of the road, and a car would have to stop suddenly. In front of most places there is an area, which people would park there bicycles, since cycling is more common than cars. Riding in the libraries bicycle parking lot and seeing that for the first time was interesting. They rarely use bike racks. They just lock a wheel of the bike to itself.
We visited the library first. It was kind of week. They did not even have a dictionary that we were looking for. Shirley and Irene showed me the English section of the Library, and they only had one series of books. They were the Chicken Soup series for the soul.We went up to the childrens section of the library, and That place was a mess. I was surprised to see that the books were very big like novels. I did not see any children style books as we know. This makes sence now that I know that parents don't teach there children to read or write.
At the book store we were lead to a new good friend. His name is Wind, and he is from Ru Gao, the place of Mary's family. I visited there last week, so I have friends there, pondering visiting him as he did me Saturday. Of course since we were in China, finding a Chinese to English dictionary was hard. Shirley would pull out primarily English to Chinese dictionaries with a very small Chinese to English dictionary in the back. Wind pulled out a fat dictionary though more than two thousand pages long, weighing like eight pounds. I was in my Jamaican understanding of foriegn money, thinking that holding a more than a couple hundred dollars was normal. After buying the 238 yuan dictionary, I realized that the dictionary was about forty dollars. The book is old, and it looked like it was at the store for many years. I feel that God has been saving that book for me, since it is perfect.
There is another Californian that is working with us. His name is Eddie. He came to teach too. His teaching opportunity is with freshmen in college. Earlier in the week I was scaried that my stay may be cut short, since I learned on Friday that this job is only a weekend job. I wonder how many job openings there are, since Eddie is being recruited too. I still don't know how many the answer of these ponderings. Eddie has another job at a local restaurant, so I may have to work on getting another job.
This past week another small was worked out, but it is necessary. I want a clock on me one with an alarm because I want to be able to control when I wake up in the morning. One day I wanted to begin waking up at six o' clock, since I want to study the scriptures and Chinese; however, I did not have an alarm. I prayed to God to wake me up at six, and I prepared by going to sleep at ten o' clock. The next morning God woke me up at six o' clock, and I studied the Book of Mormon in Manadrin for two hours. With my knowledge of how to use the dictionary I only found the meaning of four characters. Well although it felt like a little. I learned a lot. 摩 means mo. It is part of the name Mormon. Looking at each part of the character of mo. I see the 摩 means the journal rubbings on the surface.  I was surprised to see that is the definition of 摩 it says conflict of two nations caused a war too. 广 means wide and extensive (knowledge). 手 shou means hand, a person doing or good at a certain job with hands, handbook, handy. He is a real crafts man. 摩门 mo+men. 门 is pronounced as men, and it means door. In more of the definition of 门, I saw whole family, blessings has descended upon the house, school, and a branch of study.
The title of the Book of Mormon is 摩门经 见证耶稣基督的另一部约书。 见证 means witness, and it is pronounced jian zheng. 耶稣 is Jesus pronounced yesu, and Christ is spelt 基督。耶 ye of 耶稣 has no meaning, but it is part of pronouncation. 稣, su, of yesu 耶稣 means revive and come to. The pronouncation is jidu. 基, ji, means foundation or base, and 督,du, means super-intended or direct. I think that this means the foundation of Christ is intended directly and especially for you. 的 means nothing, but it is a character used to connect adjectives to a noun it is pronounced as de. 另 is pronounced as ling, meaning another. 一部, meaning volume, is pronounced as yibu. 约 is pronounced as yue, meaning to make an appointment. This same character can be known as yao, meaning weigh. Shirley said that it may mean that the book is appointed. 书 is pronounced as shu, meaning book. There is the title of the Book of Mormon in Mandarin,Momen jing: zheng yesu jidu de ling yibu yue shu.
Yesterday I had my first lesson. I teach 6-7 year old children; although, they seem younger than that because I am trying to teach them with another language. I did well in the lesson for about twenty minutes; then, since I overestimated my skill and kids, the lesson fell apart. I was hoping to do a role play of the movie that we watched, but the class got out of control before I can try. I did not approach the class correctly that is why it fell apart. I am trying to teach them the key phrase: How old are you? I am #. I need to figure out how to teach them, and keep their attention for a hour. A child that I named Jason was literally practicing break dancing when things were out of control. Luckily there was a back up song that we taught them with the tv. We play the some like ten times; until, we said Good Bye.
I went out with Yacht's cousin last night again to hang out. We went to play pool after we had dinner. I asked them to get me something that I never tried before, and they got me Duck Liver soup. Yao is the name of the Cousin like Ming Yao, the basketball player. They were saying that Ming is actually his first name. Chinese tell there last name first and so forth backwards. I won somewhat against Yao in pool; although, be hit all his balls into the pockets before me. He scratched twice on the eight ball, and the Chinse don't lose when they do that. At the rate that we were playing, trying to hit the eight ball in, we would have played forever. He introduced me to a couple of his best friends: Xu and Xue. After the everlasting game, Yao and I tried to beat Xu, since he had good skill. Both of us totally lost to him. We hung out at McDonald's, talked, and played 21, the card game; until, Xue and I had to go home, for we wanted to be home by ten.
Saturday evening was an adventure, I had to take the buses alone to Church. I stayed at the Okeson's household. Gratefully Mary arranged for someone to take me to the bus 178 from the bus station. I would have been lost. Trying to get off at the Okeson's bus stop was fun too. I had help somewhat there too.
Church was good. It was good fast Sunday. During priesthood, we practice the memorization of the Oath and Covenant. I know that I had to learn it, so I memorized it during the past week. The spirit is strong here; although, I feel weak. Sabbath supper was good. The host family seems to embrace life so much that they don't let others to talk. It was good though.
Thomas there is a guy from Ecuador here named Andre Galan. He is on an Exchange program, learning Chinese. He knows president Lara, and he was raised in the Guayaquil North Mission area. He is super friendly, and a friend that you may recognize that lives near President Lara is named Franandez.
There were a few guys and a few girls in the YSA here everyone is a teacher of English. I want to go out with a girl named CC, but she seems to be really into Andre. Another girl that I think is cute, which I ponder going out with on Saturday is named Nicole from Taiwan. She is interesting because she got a PhD in English, studying at England, so she has a british accent.
 
I tried so hard to email you earlier, but I have been unable.
 
Love Alex

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