Monday, December 15, 2008

Home for the Holidays

Just a quick note as this week is a hectic one. I will be home for the Holidays and couldn't be happier. We have the two day Christmas pageant and the Speaking Competition at the Television Station both Saturday and Sunday on top of which I have to teach some classes and memorize lines.

I packed yesterday and am just finalizing travel arrangements to and from the airport.

I hope all the OGC Tumblers did well the first tumbling meet of the season. I can't wait to hear about it. I will be in the gym on the 29th and/or the 30th.

Merry Christmas to everyone if I don't get to see you in person.

Happy New Year too! I'm lucky this year, I will experience New Years three times in one day as I will cross several time zones while flying back to China on the 31st/1st.

All the best to everyone in the new year. Follow your hearts and look to the bright future ahead.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Still Here in Daqing

Hello Everyone. I'm still here in Daqing. I know I have not posted anything for awhile. I have not really done that much other than Christmas shopping, studying Chinese, studying some Russian and making teaching lesson plans (you know me, I'm so lazy). I have had to add a class to my Sunday schedule so that I can come home for the holidays. As well we are gearing up for the Christmas pageant. With 8 classes of students to prepare it is a bit of extra work. As well we are in the midst of midterm report cards and the big city-wide English Speaking competition for kids. I have had to set a couple extra training sessions to teach the students how to deliver speeches. I have some experience in this area so it was not too difficult. The hardest part was trying to come up with a better translation for "English gives me a colourful dream." 9 out of 10 students had this in their speeches. What would you have written? This translation delema is bound to come up again.

This morning I was officially asked to be a co-host for the televised Speaking Competition. The part that will make it a bit of a challenge besides the fact that I will have to deliver some lines in Chinese, the rehearsal is on the first day of our two-day Christmas pageant and the the taping of the show is on the the second day of our pageant. Things could get a bit hectic. I will be ready for a short trip home. I love airports and flying so I will be happy to sit for a while. Thinking of home gives me a 'colourful dream.'

See you soon. I will be back in the '.ca' December 23rd and will spend my New Years somewhere between LA and Beijing on my way back.

Seasons Greetings from Daqing.

It is minus 23 degrees C today. A bit chilly but the sun is nice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The View from the Top of Daqing

Last week we managed to take a little trip up the Daqing TV Tower. They had pictures of a few of the world's famous towers hanging in the main entrance. I pointed out the CN Tower to the tour guide and she was surprised to be informed that what she thought was a building in the forground was actually a boat in the Toronto harbour. The picture was pretty grey so I can understand the confusion.

The tower viewing deck was terribly cold but the view was great. We could see almost all of the Daqing. These are some of the best shots. Hope you like them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Cold

Okay, so it's cold now. We are now at negative 15 degrees C. Still not snow or frost. Seems a bit odd.

Can't blog from home. I will try to bring some pics in from the past little bit to post from the school.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Daqing HOPE

We can go the distance.

Yes we can.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Application Submitted

Well, good or bad, my Teacher's College Application has been submitted. One always asks himself, "Could I have done a better job?" after submitting a paper, writing an exam or going for an interview. I feel that right now but I put in sufficient time and effort, answered the questions from my heart and did numerous spell checks. Fingers are crossed and breath is held ... until April when I hear back. No use fretting. It's time to celebrate.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Angels in Disguise

You have met Charlie's Angels but sometimes as part of the covert operations they get involved in they need disguises. I am training them well. Here are Helena, Fiona, Amy, and Sherry.

Crazy Maisie - Daqing Cleopatra

This is Maisie. She is my Teaching Assistant for four of my classes. She did a great job of controling the mobs of children.

More Halloween in Daqing

Here are some pictures of the EF staff getting into the Halloween groove. This post is all me. The mummy returns. I have done the mummy thing now at least four or five times. It just keeps getting rave reviews so I keep using it. Hope you like.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Daqing Halloween

I had Vivian and Henry over to carve some pumpkins and we had roughly 180 students into the school for Halloween festivities yesterday. I will post more pictures soon but wanted to let everyone know that we are in the spirit over here too even though Halloween is not celebrated in China.

Here is a picture of my favourite costume though. I couldn't even tell he was Chinese!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Daqing to Harbin 3

We visited a textile store where we found the great cat-skin coats. Here are a couple of colourful shots I took looking down from the second floor to the venders below. I also found some fox fur died into some surprizing colours.

Daqing to Harbin 2

Here is a look inside the Church. This photo looking up into the main spire from directly under the chandalier is my favourie.

Daqing to Harbin

Last week we took a day trip to Harbin, the capital of the Heilongjiang province. The city used to have a large Russian population during the Russian Occupation. Many Russian style buildings remain but the jewel is the Sofia Church. I hope you appreciate the pictures. It was one of the most beautiful churches I have visited.

I just want to say thanks to the Patrick family who helped me get the camera I have. Without it I wouldn't have the incredible pics that everyone gets to see here on the blog. Thanks Andy and Jackie!

Charlie's Daqing Angels

Charlie has some new angels. Helena, Maise, Amy, Kylie and Vivian. I am training them to be the secret agent team I've always drempt of. Watch out Daqing!!! (The two girls behind me aren't real but they almost appear to be.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Proud in Daqing

After a long day at work teaching some English and sharing a lot of laughs with many smiling faces I was a little tired. I have experienced several people this week who felt it was their duty to bestow upon me their negative feelings towards dealing with life in China. Chacon son goute! That's fine with me but not much can really get me down. Surprisingly enough the CBC National News threw me into the mood to write a quick note on the blog and remind people that Daqing really is the place to be, for me at least.

The Friday National broadcast ran three feature stories that would never appear on an American station I can tell you that. There were no murders, no fatal viral epidemics, not even much talk of dangerous products being consumed en mass. Instead the Canadian public was left with three stories: the first being a moving piece about an Aboriginal man's desire to give back to a Vancouver community by offering free karate lessons, the second was about a fledgling Inuit Daycare opening in Ottawa that promotes cultural education, and finally, the third story was about the new Sound of Music production in Toronto featuring a Canadian unknown soon to be starlet.

What the heck?! What kind of a NEWS broadcast is that! A truly Canadian broadcast, that's what. I am so proud that my country chose to air three 'feel-good' stories on a Friday night. That last thing that many hardworking Canadians do on a Friday night is catch the CBC National. Then they get caught up in the weekend chaos and don't see the news again until Monday. Brilliant. It's so nice, and I'm finding typically Canadian, to want our country to rest our weary minds on a Friday night with thoughts of other Canadians helping, sharing and believing in the strength and beauty of our Nation. Recession? We can handle it. New, or not so new, Priminister? Clearly the 40% of non-voting potential voters were pretty apathetic to the state of the country. They must be feeling pretty comfortable too. Winter? Christmas, hot chocolate and warm fires. No problem.

I find sometimes that when it is easy to get caught up in the negative one needs to leave himself some reminder of the positives. Before I left for China I put two pebbles in the pocket of the second hand tweed jacket that I planned to wear for traveling. The pebbles were from the beach in Biarritz, France where I spent a week surfing in the summer of my 31st year (one of my life long goarls). I had gathered a collection of smooth black and white pebbles as a keepsake to remind myself that I am achieving goals that I have set out for myself. As I was packing I took one black and one white pebble and placed them in the pocket of the coat so that when ever I wore the coat I would be reminded that my time here in China is yet another exciting chapter in my life. An achievement to be proud of. I wore the jacket today for the first time since August. As my friend was bestowing the China negatives I came across the two pebbles and politely made for the exit.

I'm glad that the National kept the positive momentum flowing. There is so much beauty in life and some much to share. I guess today is my little Thanks Giving for the week seeing as I missed it at home. Somehow noodles and water don't quite hit the spot like turkey and mashed potatoes; however, the giving of thanks feels the same.

All the best to everyone back home.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Daqing Dusk & Disaronno

This evening the sky is clear and a full moon has risen over the settling city. I managed to fine a bottle of Disaronno liquer in Harbin yesterday so I will have a nice night cap after I finish blogging and marking some writing by my students. I thought you might get a kick out of this one paper. It gives you an idea of the level of comprehension some of the students have. Many are better and many are worse but this response was by far the most unusual.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad

I found something in Harbin (the next major city) that I knew Dad would be Thankful for and truly appreciate this Thanksgiving.

Happy 62nd birthday Dad!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I have decided to add the word Daqing to every post from now until Christmas in order to see if I can move my blog into the top 30 sites that come up when you Google search the word 'Daqing'. I did a search this week just to see where it was and I was definitely not in the top 30. Maybe I am crazy and this is not the way to do it but heck at least all of you will know the word 'Daqing'.

Daqing EF Funny?! weird

Here are couple of things from EF that strike me as a touch funny. The book exercise took me a bit to see the humour. Can you link the picture to the description. Can you make the connection!?

Ah, good ol'English.

Daqing EF Fiona the TA

Meet Fiona. She likes long walks around the school, meeting students, and a class with a sense of humour. She also makes a really funny 'Fox Face'. I will try to get a picture of that. It's almost as good as my lama or Taylor Athay's 'Rooseter Head.'

Fiona helps me with classes and ordering food at lunch.

Daqing EF School

Here are a few more pictures of the English First School that I work at here in Daqing. If anyone is looking for the overseas teaching experience or knows a friend or a university/college student who is looking to get away this school is great. They treat you really well and the opportunities are endless (plug, plug).

Many people have told me about horror stories and crooked school managers. I have lucked out. My boss is known in the community as a very upstanding kind of guy. So put those fears aside and come on over.

Enough advertising.

Friday, October 3, 2008

strength and beauty

beauty and strength

strength and beauty
to combine both is to achieve perfection
reflections in a dark pool