Last week, I was blessed with time for myself with three days of solitude (with my cocker spaniel) in a cabin in the mountains, followed by two days of camping with my sons and their families. It’s been far too long since I’ve taken pictures just for myself, without worrying about pleasing the client. These were pure pleasure to shoot (along with the 1330 other images I captured during my retreat/vacation).
I took a solo mini-vacation this past weekend, spending part of it in Jerome, AZ. A blessing of traveling alone is that you have the opportunity to meet people, which doesn’t happen much when you travel as a couple, because you tend to focus on each other.
Jerome is a ghost town. To be more accurate, it is an old mining town that became a ghost town, virtually bereft of inhabitants. Enter the artists, musicians, and enterprising restauranteurs. Jerome now is a destination for tourists and Phoenicians aching for an escape from the heat.
I am not sure why I was so dense about this. On Saturday night, Tim said he’d give me a ride on his Spirit Tryke, and I thought, “Oh sure, like that’s gonna happen.” I saw him again on Sunday, chatted with him and some other bikers (owners of some sweet Harleys) who told me that I should let Tim ride me around town and I could get some good pictures. I commented that it didn’t look safe. When I got the images on the computer I saw some details I’d overlooked. Duh! He does this for tips (read: income). Had I realized, I would have taken the ride and tipped the guy (who really had some interesting stories to tell). Maybe next time.
St. Therese’s Prayer
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
I am thankful to be home in the USA, but I know that I will always have a special place in my heart for the people and places of China.
Click on any image for a better view.
If you were to take a day-trip out of the city here in the USA, you would probably pass through suburbs of fairly modern and sometimes expensive houses. Eventually, you’d end up on a ribbon of highway bordered by open land, farms, forests, and a smattering of small towns which are usually quiet and clean.
We took a break from teaching with a one-day trip to Bai Mai Springs, two hours out of Feicheng in the Shandong Province of China (our job site). I watched in fascination from the back of the van as we passed from the city into the countryside, and I noticed that while most of us in the United States live in single family homes, especially in the country, a large majority of the Chinese live in apartments, even in the countryside, where people live in close proximity to each other in something similar to our patio homes–in a row of dwellings.
I took these images from the back of a moving van; many show the smudge on the van window and many are blurry. Please watch the short video of a collection of some my pictures which tell a story and give a glimpse into life in the country. Relax, listen to the traditional Chinese music, and travel with me through the countryside along this small stretch of highway in China.
I did not spend much time with her. I wish I had. I wanted to tell her about my granddaughters back in the states and ask about her life in China. She looks as if she is about my age, which means that she probably lived through the Cultural Revolution. I wanted to find out what she was doing when I was capturing fireflies in the Mason jar and sitting on the crank ice-cream maker … the burlap bag covering the cold…ever so cold ice…while we awaited the sweet most delicious treat in all the world…….. Did she have that? Was there a time when she sat with her grandfather in eager anticipation of that fabulous reward? In those few moments, we shared an unspoken joy…a love of our grandchildren.
Last day of training in Feicheng City, Shandong Province, China. Tomorrow we begin the three-day trek back home.
I wish to share with you the speech I gave this morning at the closing ceremonies:
Many years ago, I heard a quote that shaped the way I have taught my students. It goes like this: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” As you probably know, this quote is from your great teacher, Confucius.
You know that if you only talk to your students, and your students simply listen, they will probably forget what you say and learn very little. If you show them pictures when you are talking, they might remember, for a while…if they are paying attention. However, when you show the students what to do, if you practice with the students, and then give them a chance to practice on their own, you are giving them the opportunity to DO. You are helping them to understand, to remember, and to learn.
I told you that everything I taught you has the same focus. Everything you’ve learned will help your students to THINK. By DOING….by WRITING, your students will think more deeply. They will understand more about the English language and more about themselves and their world.
Give your students many opportunities to write. You do not always need to give them long writing assignments. Give them short assignments…a few words or sentences can help them to practice a skill, for example, using vocabulary words correctly, using verbs correctly, or using the right punctuation in a sentence.
Make sure that your students write something every day. Make them write words. Make them write sentences. At some point, they will be able to write a paragraph and then a long passage. Use the Active Student Engagement Strategies that you learned from all of us. Use the Reading Strategies and the Writing Strategies. When you use the strategies, you are giving your students many opportunities to DO. You are giving them many opportunities to understand. You are giving them many opportunities to learn English.
I have enjoyed the past few weeks with you wonderful teachers, and I have learned that you are the best people on earth. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to understand you and your incredible Chinese culture. I leave you with another quote from Confucius: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” I want to add to the great teacher’s words. “Whatever you teach, and whomever you teach, teach with all your heart.” Thank you.