Published: December 18th 2008
December 18th 2008
Now, doesn't he look jovial??
I found him by accident in a small temple compound in the center of Taizhou near the Phoenix River, run by two elderly nuns. In my two years here in Taizhou, I have walked past these small temple structures many dozens of times, never realizing it was a Buddhis Temple, and what little treasures were hidden behind the gray walls. In "his" case, this treasure is a little dusty but quite "happy and "big". I am often compared to him :-)
There is no more doubt, that winter has arrived in Taizhou. Students are huddling and holding each other for warmth, as they rush to their early morning classes. The students now sport their down-winter-jackets in all the most fashionable colors, but their smiles are more temporary as they pass me on their way to "where-ever".
These colder months begin the time, when I miss the warm Florida weather the most.
Since none of the classrooms of the schools, colleges and universities are heated in my region of China, I too have to wear my sexy "long-johns", as well as additional and more serious layers of clothing to brave the cold of the teaching facilities.
I hear no complaints from my wonderful students, who must not only brave the cold of the classrooms and dining rooms, but they also return to their chilly dormitories, where I see them study with their thick layers of clothing, and their bare feet dipping in a plastic bucket of warm water.
They purchase the hot water daily in "thermos" bottles for a half a Yuan (9 cents) at a central water station at the college. It is difficult for me to imagine,
Let me continue the last blog-entry # 106, and share more colorful moments in Taizhou with you.
Though there have been some difficult personal times these past weeks, and we experience them all in our lifes, let me share with you the more happy hours that continue making my stay in the city of Taizhou memorable. The following 9 sets of photos highlight more of the first semester, 2008, at Taizhou Teachers College.
how our American college students would deal with such daily winter adversity, or if they would even accept this.
Many of my students here sleep in their winter jackets at night. It makes them stronger and tougher, they explain. I dare not tell them, how comfortably warm my own college apartment facilities are, when I return to my home on campus after my classes.
The lead teachers and Foreign Language administration also tell the students, that the winter chills in their dorms will make them a stronger person, and more able to deal with adversity.
I do believe, that having to focus on keeping warm, many students will not be able to concentrate on their studies, and at the moment they are preparing for another of their all-important "next" examinations, the standard National English Examinations called the CET-4 and CET-6. They are also studying hard in preparation for their final examinations in each of their courses. I can only speculate, what impact this "cold" destraction might have on their test performance.
During my stay in China, I have found few Chinese, who are prone to complaining. Most accept any hardship or adversity as fate and as
The 1st Series of Photos highlight the Japanese Festival.
The highlight of the Japanese Festival at TTC, (I covered the festival extensively in Blog entry #106), was the closing ceremony. Honored guests, including the Japanese Consul, as well as the administration, staff and students were treated to another of our college's spectacular shows.
part of their daily routine. It seems, that the hardships of my students and some difficult experiences in school provide much of that basic training for the rest of their lifes.
In the city of Taizhou and on my campus of Taizhou Teachers College I am not known as a man with a "petite" body, and now, sporting these extra layers of apparel, I truly begin to look like "the Panda Bear" or "the Happy Buddha", as my body expands by another few inches of winter-clothing.
Yet one of the benefits of the late fall and winter months in Taizhou during the day hours are unusual "clear and blue skies", though these are chilly and crisp.
During the night, the stars and moon are now more visible then during the summer season, when the air is often thick with the smoke of the open air burning of crop-residue by the farmers surrounding the city. In the winter months, it is a pleasure to see the nightly firmament, and the clear display and visibility of the stars and the moon.
But I am very contend with my present life here at Taizhou Teachers College. My students are
The 2nd Series of Photos are from another of my regular visits to our Taoist Temple in Taizhou.
Representations in form of many colorful statues of some of the Taoist Holy Diciples are honored in one of Taizhou's most wonderful temple sites.
my daily pleasure, and my college is eager to satisfy my needs. Arthur, the staff and the administration have gone to great lengths to provide me a life of comfort and satisfaction.
Not a day passes, when I don't feel, that I have made the right choice after my retirement in Miami. I am a very happy man here at our small teachers college, where I feel needed and I know I can make a difference.
There are of course the larger Chinese cities, with more notable universities and colleges, which are filled with many foreign teachers. But there I would be only one of many. Here at Taizhou Teachers College, I have the feeling, that I am appreciated and everyone makes me feel special.
AND SO: With job opportunities fading for teachers in the United States during this time of financial difficulties and crisis, I would like to take this opportinuty once again, and encourage adventurous college degree holders to consider teaching a few years in this amazing country of China.
You will be received and treated as a friend by the college, honored as a guest of China, and you will find students, who
The 3rd Series of Photos are incidental pictures of a stroll through Taizhou in the fall.
When I walk through Taizhou, I always become the object of "admiration" as one of the very few Westerners in our city. I have never seen these ladies before, but it is common to be asked to pose for photos with strangers.
will thank you daily for your time and work. The efforts and the smiles of some of the most wonderful students will be waiting for you, and their appreciation will remain with you for a life-time.
LET ME REMIND YOU: You can find information about Taizhou Teachers College at their web-site: www.tzsz.net
From that site you can contact Mr. Arthur Lee, a dedicated man, who is in charge of the recruitment of all "overseas friends", as the foreign teachers are called in China.
You may also write to Arthur directly at his personal e-mail: Arthurlee65@yahoo.com.cn . He is my friend, and the most wonderful Foreign Affairs Director of Taizhou Teachers College. He will answer all questions and thoughts you may have with professional care and with his superb English.
You can also contact me at this TravelBlog site, and I will forward your letter to Arthur for you.
I leave you with this thought of a possible adventure at Taizhou Teachers College:
"The only people who will ever succeed are those, who are willing to take a chance!"
*****The photo - essay of this TravelBlog #107 is a continuation of events these
The 4th Series of Photos introduce the smallest of Buddhist Temples in the center of Taizhou.
On one of my walks along the Phoenix River of Taizhou, I thought I would open a closed gate to a tiny compound, and found a wonderful Buddhist Temple Treasure. I did not know it existed. It is run by two nuns, who were surprised to see a visitor from the West. I don't think they ever expect any visitor to this petite and beautiful shrine.
past few months at my college and continues the presentations of the last TravelBlog, #106.
I have been very busy, and there are a dozen Blogs of some of my travels around China this past year that I have not been able to publish. I will share these with you soon. It takes much time to compile each of these Blogs, and I hope they continue to entertain you, and provide you with some insight into my wonderful "late-life" adventures in China. Remember, these same adventures could be waiting for you as well.
Here is the breakdown of the photo-essay for this Blog:
Part One: The photos continue to relate the festivities of our colorful Japanese Festival during it's final evening, with another spectacular presentation by our students and staff.
Part Two: During one of my many walks, I found another temple in Taizhou. This is a Taoist Temple and a wonderful Taizhou treasure. I have made friends with some of the Taoist monks, and plan to visit the temple-site regularly with my camera.
Part Three: Here I hope to share with you some incidental photos, as I walked the city of Taizhou during the
The 5th Series of Photos highlight an aerobic competition between some of Taizhou's Colleges.
Posing here is the Aerobic team from Nanjing Normal University, Taizhou Campus. I taught at this college this past school year, and some of the team members still remembered me.
past few months.
Part Four: These photos highlight a few participants of an Aerobic competition in the Sporttorium of TTC. My lap-top, which stores most of my photos, has broken down, and will not open. So there are many photos about this competition I am not able to share with you at the moment.
Part Five: These photos highlight the entertainment offered to the Freshmen by the Art Department students of TTC. Though I don't teach any of these students, many have sought me out and have become my friends. It gives them the opportunity to practice a little English with me, an opportunity they miss, so they tell me. They never forget to invite me to one of their colorful events.
Part Six: This Holloween I received an invitation to a newly opened and private English Academy in the center of Taizhou. The evening was a wonderful time with some of the local children, who are eager to learn English. Their parents pay a handsome sum of money to provide additional English lessons for their "one" child in hopes of giving them the advantage as they progress in their schooling. I have mentioned to you before,
The 6th Series of Photos show the Art Department entertaining the new Freshmen.
When the Art Department puts on a performance for our school, is is always something special.
that English is taught in all schools beginning with the first grade of school.
Part Seven: Another Wedding Invitation by one of our teachers gives me the opportunity to share with you the happy day of another pair of newly-weds. The weddings in China now incorporate traditional customs with some of our western traditions.
Thank you for taking the time to share my life here in China with me. Keeping in mind, that the Christmas days are only weeks away, I am now preparing the next TravelBlog, which will highlight some of my Christmas activities at the college and in the city.
I am always grateful for your comments, questions, ideas and suggestions to improve my communication with you and look forward with appreciation to your thoughts and even a greeting.
As always, I encourage you to enlarge the 107 photos for their greater details.
There are more photos below