Happy Birthday RIck!
Peter and Dianne came over to help celebrate Rick's birthday - you have to guess how old he is. Great sweater - but not many Vancouver Canucks fans appreciate it! Note the heater in the background. Heat goes off everywhere about April 15, so you have to rely on electric heat after that . You can see from the sweater and hoodie how cold it still was on April 30. More heaters next year!
Our second year in China is quickly coming to a close- time has just flown and when we see friends and colleagues packing boxes and crates, we have mixed feelings. With the education system cutbacks in both BC and AB, not much chance of working there; so we might as well take advantage of the opportunities here.
Therefore, as most of you know, we have signed another contract, with different positions in the school. It will be a real challenge for both of us and neither of us will in the classroom - Rick as vice principal and me 2nd in charge of the ESL. But Jim and Carrie, Peter and Dianne, Linda and Lynn - we will miss you so much - our potlucks, singing, going out for dinner, card playing group! It won't be the same with out you all.
This year we had to cancel our May holiday. We had planned to go see the Hanging Monastery in Shaanxi province - the one you sent us the slide show of, Linda and Dennis. But alas, tickets bought, hotels booked, tour arranged and we were not able to travel. Rick had been having odd pains off
Mary and Rick
Mary was invaluable to us during his hospital stay. The day of his surgery was stressful to say the least, and when the nurses told me that I had to stay up to watch the heart monitor all night, that was about my limit. They must have realized this, because the cardiac doctor phoned our insurance company and asked for some help. Mary came and spent the night - she literally watched the monitor all night while I tried to sleep - sitting in a chair beside the bed! We had a shock in the middle of the night when the monitor flat lined - you wouldn't believe how fast that room filled with doctors and nurses! It turned out that Rick had turned over and unplugged it accidentally - couldn't figure out what all the fuss was. Mary has since been invaluable- meets Rick whenever he needs a translator for doctors appts or to get pills. Thank you Mary!!
and on since February, which we had ignored as it was at times that were very difficult to get both a taxi and an interpreter to go with us - middle of the night, Sunday morning etc. But finally early one Saturday, it got really bad, so we phoned a driver (who it turned out was in the hospital herself- but found a friend to take us!) and rounded up a secretary (who was still in bed)- to meet us as the hosptial (which turned out to be closed for the weekend!) The long and the short of it is that Rick had been having attacks of unstable angina and required a week in the hospital and 3 stents.
We were so grateful for all that everyone did for us, and so thankful that it all turned out so well. Looking back at the number of times that we said 'what if ....' really scared us, but no looking back- Rick is out playing baseball today! He phoned his doctor in Canada who said that the procedure he had done and the medications that he is on are exactly the same as he would have had at home, so
In front of our apartment enjoying a cold beverage
we were happy to hear that.
So we have had a very quiet spring, staying close to home, but have had lots of travels around the area, motorbike rides, and local sites. We did take a day trip to Lushun, a city just south of Dalian that has been closed to foreigners until very recently. It is home to a large naval base, and has a lot of history of conflict with Russia and Japan, so lots of monuments. It is also known for its cherry blossoms, so we caught the last weekend of the beautiful trees and spent a afternoon picnicking with Carrie and Jim. The bus ride to Lushun was funny; because the bus was oversold, many people had to stand in the aisles. When we went past a police officer, everyone squatted down in the aisle so as not to be seen - we were really glad that we had seats!
The only other event of note was the grad this year. I have gotten to know several of the grade 12 boys because they have been Mandarin club tutors for the past 2 years. Three times a week they come and help the
We took a ride to the reservoir where the pond hockey tournament was held last winter - no comparison to the famous Peace River tournament! Besides a nice view we hiked up in the hills for a couple of hours - an unusual hike for this area as it was a dirt path, not cement, and there were no other people. What a treat.
foreign teachers try to learn Chinese - they are so friendly, helpful and encouraging - no one understands anything we say except them! Anyways, some grade 12's approached Carrie to ask if we would sing a song at grad. Because we have a group that gets together for potlucks and singsongs occasionally we said yes. The only song that was appropriate was 'Goodbye' - the one that Rick sang with both Chris and Geoff at their grads. He had decided not to do it again, but it was so appropriate and the kids just loved it. We felt like a real group, performing first on the boys campus and then over to the girls campus. Lots of fun.
June is always a busy month, but teaching, doing our cohort job and working into the new jobs there has been little time to rest. Good thing the weather has been reasonable - not hot and humid - much easier work. We will be leaving here on July 1, and have about 5 weeks in Canada this year. Some time in Whistler area, Calgary and a week in Halifax - it will be great to see family and friends .With
Sakura blossoms in Lushun
Lushun was previously called Port Arthur and until recently has been closed to foreigners, being the home of a large naval base.The Russians and Japanese have had major battles in the 20th century for control of this port city. We took the train then bus to Lushun to enjoy the cherry blossoms (Japanese sakura cherry trees) at Long Wang tang Park.
my niece Leah's wedding, lots of Baxendale relatives and as well Rick's family including brother Fred who will be visiting from Minnesota. It won't be a restful holiday, but we are so looking forward to being home. Play a little golf, maybe some bridge......
That’s about all for now. We will be in Calgary from July 6- 13, and then again July 20 – August 13. If anyone is through that way, please give us a call. (403-242-6661- my mom) Also, we always have a room for anyone who wants to see China-or see it again!
P.S. There are a few more pictures if you scroll down below the ads!
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