Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Is Here Too

Hello from China!
Wow! Time has been just flying so fast this last month. Jeff and I are keeping so busy with teaching and learning. After having to move three times, we are finally in our own apartment. It is on the sixth floor (that’s a fun trek). The location is just a 20 minute walk away from the school, which makes a good morning and afternoon walk and opportunities to create good neighbors. Our apartment is rather nice…it even has a disco ball (yeah for Chinese bling and karaoke). The ex-pats here have been very helpful and such a blessing! They have helped us find/buy things to furnish our apartment. We have begun to make good friends. We have been to many homes for dinners, good times, yarps, and spiritual support with our Father. I have joined two different international woman’s groups to aid in Growth and reaching out. Our international Fellowship here needed helpers for Sunday snack and tea…it was a familiar story…so Jeff and I stepped in there too.
Last week we had a week off for the Chinese “full moon harvest” holiday, so Jeff and I have finally had some time to explore more of Xining. It is a big city. 80% of the people live in poverty, 10% in lower class, and a few live well off. The weather is dry and getting colder. The markets are full of apples and the streets sprinkled with yellow leaves. Sweaters are coming out of the closets. People’s smiling cheeks are rosy with the autumn breeze. Fall anywhere in the world can be beautiful. The other day we took a bus and went for an adventure, purposefully getting lost at times, and discovering markets. One of our favorite things to do here is go to markets and practice what little Chinese we know and buy some cool trinkets and crazy/interesting good food.
The other day we were able to visit the Tibetan Monastery. It was spiritually dark, yet it was very educational and helped us better understand some of the people we interact with.
School is going well. We are working really hard to help support the existing curriculum as well as continue to adjust and strength/create the curriculum where needed Six of my students are English as second language learners, two of the six speak NO English (French), and three of the six are working through their “silent phase” of language learning (they are Korean). It is quite a challenge! Jeff’s fourth grade class has six students; three are English as second language learners (two Korean, one French). No matter what they speak they are all Third Culture Kids (TCK’s are kids that have spent most of their lives as ex-pats), thus they have different cultural norms that we are not used to teaching (English speaking or not). Jeff and I are reading a book written by David C. Pollock to aid us in this educational journey. (: Pollock was an internationally known authority on TCK’s, their transitions and internationally mobile families.
Jeff and I continue to read/teach the verse on love in first Corinthians 13 “Love is patient, love is kind….” Because no matter what language speak or what culture you are from, HIS love and showing love is universal.
We miss you all.
Blessings, Jeff and Kristine Hole
p.s. we could use yarps* for our principal and his family.

* “Pray” backwards. They have to be careful not to be too religious over their so they use different words.