Sep 18, 2011

Teach me Kungfu Please!

Andrew and I went on yet another exploration run with great success.We saw this ridge on google earth that we wanted to explore and went there today. Some of the prettiest countryside yet around the Yongchuan area. We saw black goats, lots of chickens, pigs, ducks, and fancy cars?!? Here are some pics.

Last night we also discovered outdoor movie night.. and the best is the screen is made out of splashing water! gotta love the chinese.... they do it all!

FLICKR has been updated for more pictures..HERE

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

Sep 17, 2011

3 weeks in Yongchuan and…

I have to admit, I did have a little breakdown on Friday. I am not exactly sure what spurred the longing of our old life back in Vancouver but anyhow, inevitable I suppose. I am feeling much better today after a morning run and an afternoon bike ride in the countryside.

Teaching has been a good experience thus far. I feel like I have connected with students at various levels. I feel like I am motivating the unmotivated in PE to at least move and sweat with a smile on their faces. I am also making an effort to acknowledge every student. It is pretty easy to get caught up in the hurry, must accomplish this and that of education and neglect the most important part of being a teacher: reaching out and helping kids and noticing things that parents, friends, coaches fail to catch. Taking the time before and after class to sit and chat with a student is a worthwhile venture. You can learn a lot by just listening and watching…

I’ve decided we need some mini projects. I want to build (with Andrew) a ping pong table and a chess set…. I’m curious to find out if these projects will come to fruition or simply remain as fun ideas….only time will tell!

I think Andrew, myself, and a co-worker  have decided to enter the Beijing Great Wall Marathon. It is in May so no real rush…. It’ll be nice to have something to run for. I feel like I want to get excited about a new event. I do love racing, the social aspect of it, the travel, the feeling of success, accomplishment, and the hard work! I did find another race in Hong Kong that might be a perfect precursor to the marathon and it’s a trail running race….even better! (I miss my trails…. A lot)

Yesterday, Andree and I ventured to the local countryside. We have a GPS (thank you MEC) but we can’t read the signs. Things here in Yongchuan, change very quickly. Our strategy thus far has been to look up roads etc on google earth, draw a hand map and then put the GPS on and see where we went when we got home and look it up on the computer and GPS. Yesterday we were looking for a dirt road to villages on a ridge, we were convinced and then not convinced and then re convinced that we were on the old dirt road that is now paved! We made it to Cucumber Hill and Pear blossom garden (although we did not realize this at the time) and then found another newly paved switchback road down through villages to a big lake on which there is the Chongqing Arts and Science Campus 2. We are finding success on a more frequent bases at ordering the food we want!

Today, we will explore this dirt road(which is still a dirt road as far as we can tell) through running-the beginning of our “training”. We are not exactly sure where it will take us but we are looking forward to finding out as the surrounding area is quite pretty!

Live, love, laugh,…DREAM!

Sep 10, 2011

Exploring Tea Mountain By Bike

View of a University campus and lake from half way up Tea Mountain

We completed our first full week of teaching at Maple Leaf. The week finished off with Teacher Appreciation Day. I had the pleasure of receiving many beautifully written cards from various students of mine. These cards re emphasize to me, the reason I love teaching and now I chose the right profession for me.
The weather cooperated a little better than last week... not much better though. After two days of extreme heat we got 3 days of cool rain... hmmm.. The students were pumped though to get outside (as was I) and I got to teach them a bunch of fun minor games like kickball, speedball and capture the flag. In return I learned about a Japanese superhero called Ultimate, the chinese word for HOT and RAIN and different forms of rock paper scissor... SUCCESS!
I am in love with these funky plastic stools that everyone sits on in the middle of the sidewalks

Andrew and I also had some more exciting eye opening experiences in the gym (chinese spin class, and weights), a chinese lesson after school where we tried to learn a famous poem in chinese, some more running adventures as we continue to find the little gems of Yongchuan (we saw men fishing in our "river", not sure what kind of fish they caught but not sure I want anything to do with them), and more flavored bean popsicles. We also found out that we both enjoy street BBQ (veggie style) and Leo, the man who owns the street BBQ that we like treated us to some sweet tomatoes and a weird rice soup thing...
The selection at street BBQ

Andrew waiting for BBQ at mini table

Today we went exploring on our bikes again. Last weekend we got turned around by the police after only the first switch back up Tea Mountain. So, we decided to try our route again in hopes of the road block not being there. SUCCESS. We rode up Tea Mountain to the gates (where you have to pay to enter the National Bamboo Park. We will head into the park for Andrew's birthday and hopefully ride the ridge, stay at a farm house(if we succeed with our chinese) and hike through Bamboo. For today we explored the road up the mountain, enjoyed the fresh cool air, the many tea fields, and funny road signs . Just so you know, I really LOVE the mountains. Here are some pictures of our adventure from today.
chinese stone and tea terraces high up on tea mountain

cool rock with chinese graffiti on a little off shoot peak on tea mountain

biking down tea mountain

Concrete bird on tea mountain
Gotta love CHINA
sign on the windy road down Tea Mountain
live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

Sep 3, 2011

Hello Ms.A…

School has started and I got to meet my 80 new students that I will be whipping into shape this term. I am teaching 4 PE classes… two all girls and two mixed gender classes. Our first two days of PE though weren’t a good test of what PE will truly look like as we were forced to stay inside (we have no gym and so PE is 100% outside) as the temperatures outside were above 40C…. TOO HOT! We played lots of initiative games and had some fun but I think the students and I are both looking forward to Monday where we get to explode onto the giant field!

Other than lesson planning and teaching, Andrew and I have begun to explore the local area more and more each day. We bought bikes from our local Giant Bike Shop. I got a Pop 3.0 and Andrew a Hunter 3.0. Andrew struggled to find a big enough bike, they seemed to have a large quantity of size small frames.. Our bikes are not of supreme quality but they are tough and hopefully will get the job done.

We have also been out to eat some more with the group. We have finally experienced Hot Pot (comparable to a spicy version of fondue), cold noodles, meet on a stick, and many more dishes. I need to get better at saying I don’t like any kind of meat….. They seem to find it unbelievable that I just want vegetables so out of kindness keep bringing me things with meat in it…. J

We have run a lot but not enough… We have found some little concrete parks with man made lakes, fake concrete tree stumps, crazy gold looking statues, tombstone caves, farm fields in the middle of the city, and more… Running has been a fantastic way to explore the local hood. Now, that we have bikes we can take it a step further and explore little towns just outside the city! Stoked!

We also just booked out first one week holiday. Hainan island here we come. It will be a stand up paddleboarding surf and bike trip!

Live, love, laugh,..DREAM!