Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day From China

July 4th
Our students arrive here at the campus in four days. Tomorrow is the fourth of July and the first time that I won’t be celebrating it in the usual way. We will be celebrating with ice cream! Ice cream snacks are a common item with vendors and shops – its common to see many people walking down the street eating them too. A popular one among the teachers is the magnum bar which is reminiscent of a vanilla ice cream bar with nestle crunch coating. Its quite delicious and refreshing in this hot dry weather.
The name of the campus we live, train, and will teach at is the Yuan Ming Yuan Campus. It is part of Peking University, but the main Peking campus is only about 10 minutes from here. The day we were released from quarantine, I went running in the morning with five other male teachers. We ran past several of the main campus buildings – one of them was the gymnasium which housed the Olympic table tennis championships. I have yet to play table tennis. It seems the staff must have lost their equipment for the sport in the move. We have outdoor stone table tennis tables – all weather tables if you will; with wire netting. I get the urge to fire a ball across those tables whenever I walk by.
We were at last assigned our roles for when the students arrive. I will be running games for my class. My class meets in the morning for two hours Tuesday through Saturday. On the weekends (Sun – Mon) I am a morning facilitator, which means I will be monitoring students during their study times, helping them with assignments. I am also co-leading a sports club and a relationship club. Other than this, other regular duties include dorm visits and breakfast greetings. We get one complete day off each week, but while it might seem like our days are full, we do get many breaks. Even the students get an hour each day specifically designed for them to take naps.
It will be very difficult for the students while they are here. For three weeks, keeping with the rules of TIP, they are not allowed to speak their native language. Anytime they are caught speaking their language, they receive a citation given by the teachers and staff. After their fourth citation they cannot graduate. They can remain or go home. Pretty strict but its proven to work! Its rare that people go home from this though. Majority of the students have a strong desire to succeed. So the staff and alumni tell us!
I am looking forward to the students finally arriving. Training can become long and tiresome. We have been blessed with some sightseeing however! We visited part of the Great Wall and that was fantastic! I am hoping for a chance to post pictures to facebook when I have my day off. We also had a day where we strolled through a larger shopping area. Its nice to be out of quarantine! Thanks for praying!
On Sunday we will be attending one of the government sanctioned churches called the Haidian (the name of our district) Church. Im looking forward to this!
Some things to pray for:
Good health for all teachers. Loving hearts for our students. Strong bonds among teachers. Internet situation.
Thank you for praying. God bless! Love, Jeremy ( (I cannot access Yahoo here)

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