Thursday, February 21, 2013

Successful first day back to school!

Arriving at school early set me up for a well planned out first day!  I was ready for anything!  I got up super early, had oatmeal (my feel good food) and plenty of water to awaken the brain!  Hooray!  The first day back to school is finally here!

As I briskly welcome my students back, I felt confident and ready!  WAAAAAAY better start than last fall..  yeah... I was pretty much a dead limp vegetable drying up from extreme dehydration as alien like foods entered my bloodstream... WOW Never have I experienced such wild sicknesses and feelings from traveling 14 time zones... AND STAYING!!!    HA

The bell rang and I opened our time with a warm smile, greeting and pr yer, then chuckled to myself of all the sleepy faces before me :)  They had no idea was about to hit 'em!  A prepared teacher!  Well, as I confidently turned on the projector to display my astronomical power point (okay, I was more than ready... alright?  HAHAHA) then suddenly, I realized with horror what was happening as the laughter from the class bellowed up from beside me.... The display on the wall was...upside down!!!  I took one look at all the chi nese symbols on that projector, let out a quiet HUFF, turned to the class, laughed out loud, and said "I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO FIX THIS!!"

Deflated, I hit the ONE button I knew --> the power button.  I then I silently yet irritatingly decided to commence my presentation with the best enthusiasm I could portray to get the information transferred to my awaiting minds HEE HEE

All of the sudden, a little voiced piped up and proclaimed: "OH I NOW REMEMBER HOW TO CHANGE IT!"  I said in the best Rod Roddy voice: "Well we have a winner!  Come on down!!"  

Three buttons people.... THREE!!!!   Ctrl, Alt, down arrow.  Then: Ctrl, Alt, up arrow

Well there ya go folks, a new shortcut to save your life.  Another cool shortcut in case you ever close down a tab: Ctrl, Shift, T.   WOW can you believe this one??  My whole world changed after discovering this recently.

When first period ended, I walked into the hallway to be in the buzz of the students and here comes the Headmaster saying as loud as he can above the noise of changing classes:

"There will be no running water to flush the commodes, and may not come on before school lets out!!"

Oh well, at least we drink bottled water from a cooler and my olfactory is becoming desensitized to the odious vapors in the air :)   Well, hooray, I would say between this and panicky students from homework shock, and no bloody noses, well, at least today, I would say it was quite a successful first day!


The water did get fixed after 4 hours <Insert hysterical belly laugh, and repeat>

Mrs. Michaella outstanding 5th and 6th grade teacher in Ch ina

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Michaella's Classroom

Come and look inside my classroom in Ch/na :)

My classroom is combined of two grades, 5th and 6th grade, all mostly from Ko. rea.  One student is German/American, another is American/Ko., (one or) two are Ko., one is American/Chi nese and the rest are 100% South  Total of 19 students in all.   

There are computers in the school, used for their computer class and all teachers have their own laptops.  I have speakers and a projector to show videos, slides, power point or anything from my laptop in my own classroom.  My students love to watch educational youtube HAHA

We begin the day with popcorn pr. ay. r; that is I start and close the Pr.a yr and allow the students to freely participate as they feel.  We also Pr. on the hour each hour, and this is usually a short time, a mixture of being led by me or a student chosen by me.  How rewarding and humbling to hear the words I have spoken in their own person Pr. yrs!

When my students have exceptional behavior, I have a prize jar filled with their favorite candies and pencils; I'm still learning what my students like that is still affordable.  They like candy, what young tween doesn't?  When the class is VERY good, I let them have the last five minutes to play their favorite game:   NINJA!!!!     HI  YAH!!

Three of my 6th grade boys.  My handsome boys :)  Little stinkers is what they are, but VERY respectful!  "Yes Teacher"  is a sign of respect instead of Mr. or Mrs. Name, that is what some of them call me :)

My poster I made

I fought for this shelf when the front office got new furniture; it is my class communication  mailbox.    I even have one! You see at the bottom right?  Its a large envelop.  The front says "Teacher's Mailbox" but on one side it has a green strip of paper, to tell me I do not have mail.  The other side is completely orange and says "You have mail!"  Pretty clever huh?  I madeit up myself after a student said "did you get my note?"  After I realized I threw it away, because she left it on my desk on an exceptionally unorganized day... oh dear...  Yeah I had to fix this communication line, and my desk :D

There are always rules, but in my class, we have:
"Ways for teamwork success in room 212"  :D

Since almost my entire class is ESL (English as a Second Language), I decided to help them out in their writing by providing thoughtful transition words!  They responded "Oh thank you teacher!!"
Message me if you would like the master list!

As a bonus to get my middle schooler's talking and soaking up more words, I came up with Word of the day.  Does this add a ton of extra prep time and stress????  Yes it does!  But this has definitely gotten quite a few trying!  The WOD must be used in a sentence correctly, in any form, state the part of speech and spell it.  The student receives on tally mark for each day they succeed; after 5 are accumulated, they receive one bonus point on any assignment that is 99% or less.  The student may use it at any time or by the end of the quarter, for report cards.  Once used they circle with a big red marker indicating the point has been used.  Some love it, a few could not care less :D

Our bookshelf.  Those turned on their backs are books not being used but have no where else to store them.  They may be donated to an orphanage or given to the poor to collect money for the paper.  I just want them off my shelves!! The left side is where the students and teachers editions are kept; the right side is the personal library for our grades.  The schools' library is small.

These are sweet notes and origami gifts my students made for me when I was so sick!  I never missed a day of school, just one class because I needed a breathing treatment and the doctor was in that hour.  Of course the campus doctor leaves at noon every day so I made the loooong trek up the hill on a growing cold and windy day and back by the end of lunch time

I know this is big but I wanted to give you a close up if I could.  The right are limericks we did in reading during our Poetry week;
 the left is from Social Studies.  The students created a Yellow Journalism article.

My desk, part of it anyway.  I took trashed boxes and covered them in newspaper, taped them to the wall for my personal bulletin boards!  An actual bulletin board is boring so I got creative!  Like my table cloth?  It was an overlay curtain I found in my dorm room when we moved!  My prize jar is made from a can of tomato paste I bought, used and cleaned; I then dug around in the lost and found and discovered an old shoe bag, like for dirty sneakers I guess.  I washed it and covered the jar.  My kids love to make me origami presents; I keep all of them :D

Of course my "Quiet zone" is NEVER used because my children are An gels :D :D :D  HAHAHA  It has been frequented by my tweens as a place to cool down or serve their forfeited recess or silent lunch.  Of course it is set right next to my desk with a folder of communication questions; during this time away from others part of their discipline is to find verses they think will help them correct their behavior and words given to find their meaning in the dictionary like "privilege" "integrity" and "responsibility".  The paper is concluded with writing a paragraph on what they learned and a personal Pr a.yr to the FATHER.  If you would like this form in a file, just message me!

OKAY!  This is getting long, I am sorry!  I will end with one last picture.  This was taken of me on the last day of school.  Hello tired and washed out face after being in Ch / na for 4 months and surviving my entire first semester of teaching for the first time ever!!!!  Notice I am indulging on my favorite comfort food: 'Pingwah' (spoken in the third tone, falling then rising)  Again, I spelled it phonetically for you.  Guess what you just said??  APPLE!!!

I made it half of my first year of teaching.  Hooray!  PTL!

Now I need to get some pics of Doziers office and classrooms!  That will be in two weeks--> stay tuned folks!

Much love to all!

D  +  M

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Life 6 months later in Ch/na

Hello Friends!  Now that Dozier and I have a little more time, I would like to take a moment and let you in on our lives after being here 6 months!  Last fall semester was terribly difficult in just getting settled, battling sicknesses, allergies (with me--> Michaella), sleep deprivation, facing challenging deadlines, and just pouring ourselves into our students.  Routines have been put in place in the Lee home, and well thought through plans to balance our family time, teaching time, min. is. try  time with our students and taking care of our relationships Stateside.  It took a solid two months to get our money in our hands, internet set up, knowledge of where to get food (other than peanut butter and cafeteria!) and start feeling human again.  Well, classes resume for me next week and the following after for Dozier, so we shall see how well things go!   We feel a bit more prepared now for life in C hi na!   

After classes and deadlines ended December 27th, we slept all we could and ate every American dish we could create for a few weeks and just enjoyed the peace and quiet during our 'recovery time'.  Once we rejuvenated our bodies, cleaned our house top to bottom, we stayed on the phone talking with loved ones back home for all hours of the night to keep up with our relationships Stateside.  

We were, and still are, terribly homesick; this time here in the quiet has strengthened our love for The FATHER and our marriage in this time alone.  Even in the middle of the busy city, we feel alone because  of the language barrier.  How sad it is when you want to engage with someone, and you just can't!  It is terribly frustrating... and sad...  We have stayed on youtube, in the books, and phone apps to learn what we can during this winter break and all I can say is 'Dwey boo chee, teemb buh doe' (spoken in the falling tone).  I do not know the pinion so I spelled it out phonetically for you to try and say.  I said:  "I am sorry, I do not understand".  

Between the German and English department, and my school, we have made some good friends and learn from each other about the culture.  Some things we have done in our downtime, has been gathering in each others home to share meals, laughter and play board games.

I will be posting more on our classrooms since all my pictures are sorted and categorized, so please check back in the next few days for a look into our life here now!  I am adding the following pictures from around the campus I took just before it got really cold, so I think first or second week of October.  They are buildings, crops and roads right here near the campus; I took them just walking around the campus and on the main road near by.

The academy is to my immediate left, (then the college campus) as I look down into the main street heading into the city.   All of the buildings on the right are apartments.  

The ground shown here is used for crops.  It is located on the path leading my my school to the campus at where Dozier teaches.  It is hard to see, but there are phone numbers on some of the light colored areas on the wall.  I do not know what they phone numbers are for.

I am standing and facing the dorm and business building area, with my back to my school.  I am still standing on the big path leading from the Elementary school to the college campus.  To the right of the crops you see, is the path from the dorm to the school I use to get to school.  It takes about 10 minutes to get to work for me, (Michaella).

The path connecting our two schools, looking over the city, this is a view to the right from the
 picture just above.

This is the same path, just slightly turned to the right from the picture just above.  Do you see the cream colored building on the right?  That is the school I teach in!

On my walk around, I saw some of the natives burning piles of dead crops.  I think this is to help clear the land of the leftover dead plants that will not help rejuvenate the soil.  On my walk to school every morning, I walk thorough rows and rows of very tall large sunflowers and as soon as the seeds are harvested, the plants are left to die and put the nutrients back into the ground.  But, unlike the very dead plants, they get burned to make room for new plants.

The looooong walk up the path connecting the two schools.  On both sides, you will see many people working their feilds.  I always wave, smile and say hello in Ch i. ne. se  and K or. ean because I do not know which the person is just by looking at them.

Looking up the path at most of the buildings on the college campus.  

Hope you enjoyed the scenic pictures of where we walk each week!  It is Tuesday night here and Valentine's is in two days.  We will celebrate by making chicken and dumplings, banana bread or an apple cake made from scratch.  Our gifts will just be homemade cards and time spent together, maybe looking at a book I made of all the love notes we shared in our year and a half of dating.  It's very sweet and I am so glad I kept the notes and put them all in a book!

Much love to all and Happy Valentine's day!  Please eat some chocolate for us :)

D  +  M

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Emerging from the warmth Ch / na Dayzz

We ventured out and took a walk to my school for the day.  The semester is about to start again so it is time to come out into the cold and get some work done in the classroom!  We are very thankful for the long break to rest and finish getting settled in our sweet little home.  Nine weeks is a long time to not see many friends... wow was it quiet for many of our weeks.  The most exciting events were going into the city just to walk around and attempt conversations with the natives.  There were a few families here so we got together some to socialize and be around each other.  For the most part, it was terribly quiet around here over the whole break.  Many books were read and attempts to get ahead on our classwork occurred in our time off.

Here are a couple pictures of us emerging from our tiny but warm room and venturing in wind chills down to -25F.  Let me just say, my glasses were completely frozen over half way through the way. By the time we reached inside the building, I thought the heat was going to make them crack.  As I fumbled with the keys at the door, I realized I could not even feel my hands.  It felt like I had no forearms or hands.... Never in my life I have felt such a strange thing.  Dozier was trying his best to help with the keys and get us inside... I was very sacred, I can not lie.  My face felt gone, my hands were not coming back to life, so I just cried a little and he took me close and just hugged each other trying to warm up..  Of course a few sneaky smooches were stolen TEE HEE.  Yeah... I warmed up fast <3

Feeling came back and life appeared on our limbs and faces as we raced upstairs to where it was really warm in the school!  As the sun began setting around 4:45pm, we donned our winter apparel and ran for the hills!!   It is only a 10-11 minute walk from our dorm to my school but we ran most of the way.  BRRRRRR

Don't leave your home without ear covering, face covering, or any part of your skin kind of covering!!!

Doz adjusting his quickly freezing glasses as we leave our dorm.
He is standing on a hill of ice just outside the door.

Much love to you all!  Give us a call if any of you have time!  We have spent many hours on the phone catching up with loved ones over the break.  When the semester resumes, our time at home will be limited, of course, to receive calls throughout most of the day.  We are 14 hours ahead of Bham time and 13 hours ahead from our East coast friends.  The call is free thanks to Magic Jack; it uses the internet to make calls.

What a wonderful Maker He is and Savi0r we serve; how majestic His whisper is, what a wonderful G 0. d  and Father we serve!  Give Him P. ra ise, your service and adoration with your life my friends!  Spur others on, and if need, use your spurs!  


D  + M

B study in C. h, in a

Thought this was too cute not to share :)

Dozier discussed in our 'gathering' this evening on Jonah.  A friend brought her daughter along who is in the third grade.  As the child listened to what was being said, this is what she made from what she learned tonight:

 The little girl worked on this for the last 30-45 minutes of the teaching and was so happy to present this to Dozier at the end. 
Too cute!  

Happy Sunday everyone!

D  +  M

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pantry and fridge items

This blog is meant for all my friends who have asked the million dollar question: "What kind of food do you eat?"  I could talk all day on how different, yet the same some foods are.  Some things just come in different packaging our pouring spouts, or just some things we're thinking throughout out the stores... "Is this meant to be eaten... or just looked at?  Why does this have spikes?  How does that fruit get sooo pink??"

Well here ya go friends!  Take a quick look in our fridge and pantry of some of our favorite foods here in Ch/ in,a:

Growing up, my family called these "Peanut butter wonder sandwiches"  Its PB, honey, and banana.  YUM!

From the left: Strawberry jam, a homemade wild grape jelly from one of my students' parents, Citron tea, Mayonnaise and Ketchup.

Cutting garlic for the week.  Yes the week.
We loooooove garlic!

Orange soda left by our friends and K, o. r, e. an orange Juice.  It is customary to bring a drink and always leave it for the host.

Try to pronounce this kids HAHAHA.
Come on its easy.  Its: "Jinminghou."  See?

Tastes just like from the States!

Popcorn kernels made on the stove.  Oh yes!
This is eaten quite often in the Lee home!

Banana chips.  I do not prefer these; I will take a fresh peeled banana over these.  Dozier really likes this snack item.  The price is not in USD this is RMB or yuan (pronounced Yoo ehn.)  One US Dollar is equal to $6.1 Yuan so this priced in US
money is $0.86.

In the great words of my Ch. ine. se friends: "These are really tasty!"  They are sea weed crackers, I like to dip them in my homemade sour cream dip with spices: onion, chives, garlic and crushed red pepper.  It was a hit last Sunday night at B study!

This is a tea served at every restaurant, that I have been to.  At first, I thought the Foohey (that is the pronunciation for server/helper in a restaurant in Ch. in e/s.e)  served us hot water and dirt.  Then my friends leaned over at the sight of my face and said "It's barley, served at every meal in restaurants."  Well, I got used to it pretty quick and now we serve it in our home to guests.  It is not that bad after all!

Look familiar?  Chocolate pie with marshmallow cream.  These were very popular during the Moon Festival a few months ago.  If given as a gift, that meant the person respected you and thought highly of you --> in so many words.  I and my husband got quite a few of these that week from our students and coworkers.  They were sold by the cases and moon cakes all on the streets.  The moon cakes were filled with red bean and or nuts.

This is expensive so we don't get this often.  Cheese is hardly found in any Chi. ne. se  or  Ko. r3an dishes, so all types of
cheese is quite expensive here.

Eggs do not come in fancy cartons like the States,  the egg shells are much thicker than what we are used to.  When we order a large bag, they all come in ONE bag and none break.  A dozen and a half of eggs are usually about $2 USD.  Of course bananas for my oatmeal and PB wonder sandwiches :D, garlic, red bell pepper, carrots and oranges.  Best tasting oranges since I lived in Florida.

From the left: Lemon juice, but it is strangely concentrated  in this goo... ummm yeah, not sure how else to explain that one.  It is nothing like fresh squeezed lemon juice on a hot July day...  next is a jar of peaches because my husband loves this! Then, the most delicious Ko. r3a.n milk I have EVER tatsed!!  And some very fresh and rich, dark apple juice

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and a look into our kitchen.  Next blog will be how we cook and show a dish or two we as Americans like to cook while living here in C.h / na.

Next time I venture to the big supermarket, I must take a video of the live silk worms in the Pupa stage.  Yes, live :)   WOW  I could not take my eyes off of it!  Stay tuned, I will video the package discretely then put the package back  :D

Happy weekend every one <3

D +  M

Monday, February 4, 2013

Playing in the snow, C/h. in a dayzz

Hey friends!!  Our winter vacation is coming to a close, so nothing too exciting to really talk about --> on here anyway  :)  I thought I would blog a life highlight: a trip the the store LOL

It was single digit degrees or below 0 this evening.  It was soooo cold I kept putting my gloves back on because my fingers kept losing feeling in this weather.  Super cold this day!  I hope the video will play for you!  If it does not play, don't worry, your not missing anything too fantastic  Dozier is just being a grown boy and jumping in the snow piles and I am laughing and trying to keep my hands from freezing!

We love and miss everyone back home, and those in other states too!  Please give us a call and leave a message if we do not answer!  Our semester resumes the last week of February so we can talk until we fall out tired.  Our number and best times to call are in the "Donate/Contact" tab at the top of this page.  

NOTE*** It is free to call us, we use  Ma. gi c  Jack and call through the internet.  Please be mindful of the words used on the phone, any words referencing 'S un day morning activities' should be kept to a minimum.

The city is beginning to liven up a bit with decorations and ads on the city TV screens are brighter than usual!!  This Sunday is the C h/ in.ese New Y e a r!!  No plans are exact but hop on the bus and go downtown!  Hopefully we will see dancing and singing!  Who knows?! The stores we went to today (2/5/13) had beautiful lanterns and charms hanging and spinning from the ceilings!  So fascinating seeing the differences in c u l. tu re from our own to another part of the world... and we are in the middle of the festivities!  I hope to get some good pictures for the scrapbook!  And every one back home too :D

Enjoy the pictures!

Leaving our campus for the bus stop.  It is a nice dusk now but in 5 minutes it gets dark sooo fast!

Overlooking the city.  Pretty sunset!

The city is lighting up!

"Dozier?  What are you planning to do with this fresh clump of snow????"    .... "Dozier????"

"I will attempt to throw it at you!" HAHAHAHA
And then the wife squeals and runs away.... Off he goes to throw it as far as he can and watch it  burst into a dry  cloud.
 It is terribly dry here!

Just a picture showing how deep it can be in some areas.  We made these tracks in the fresh snow.

Scenery, Dozier and anther person walking on the street.

Playing in the snow... or is he falling in the snow?  LOL  I don't know but we had a ton of laughs before we ever made it to the
bus stop.

Attempting another snow ball to hurl at his wife SQUEALS!

Blurry and dark, but oh well, it is another picture

Being a boy.... *Clears throat* I mean A MAN!!  HAHAHA

Again blurry but dark.  I just thought this one was funny the way his scarf is wrapped.  He  looks like he has an
enormous beard LOL

Having fun!

I hope the video works!  It was taken on my android smart phone so I have no idea which way to hold it to make it upright for the viewer... 
sorry peeps.

Go drink some Swiss Miss and hug 
your loved ones!!

Peace <3

D + M