Every summer camp the first item of business is to mop and disinfect the floor of the cafeteria from mildew. High humidity and the tropical climate creates an ideal environment for mold to grow. Vigilant care must be taken to disinfect with cleaning chemicals that actually kill mold, a feat not easily accomplished, since the mildew embeds itself in the pocked concrete. We mopped with brooms made of cloth strips. Fortunately… Read More
We are hiking Jighonshan today with a group of Americans who have gathered in Lijiazhai to help staff an English Camp for 350 children over the next 5 weeks. These camps are sponsored by China Service Ventures (www.chinaserviceventures.org) and run by Mei Wen, Inc. (a social enterprise organization) in Henan, China. They focus on serving children at risk from rural villages with economic hardships and absent parents.
Mutianyu, a favorite Great Wall site among visiting dignitaries and tourists, has undergone some drastic remodeling and reconfiguration. Buses now transport visitors within a short walk of the gondola that takes visitors to the Great Wall. All the shops that once lined the narrow street, forming a gauntlet of market hagglers has now been relocated and dispersed down the mountainside to a spacious shop area at the point of entry. All this… Read More
The finer points of grammar On the left, our language teacher, Yang Yu, explains to us how to convey spatial relationships, using “inside” (里边) and three different verbal constructions: 1) something (在) something; 2) someplace 有 something; and, 3) someplace (是)something. A literal English translation of the Chinese sentence structure reads: 1) Three students are the room’s inside 2) The room’s inside has three students 3) The bag’s inside is the Chinese… Read More
Today we discovered from our teacher the official retirement ages, as mandated by the government of China. These ages, I understand, are mandated, with few exceptions. Think of it as compulsory retirement. The average male (see Index Mundi data below) in China enjoys 12 years or retirement before death, but a woman enjoys 27 years — but her compulsory age of retirement is much earlier, at the age of 50 years. This… Read More
This year (April 5, 2015), 清明 – Qingming (Tomb-Sweeping Day), coincided with Easter Sunday. According to Wikipedia, translated as “pure brightness,” 清明 – Qingming is celebrated on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. This makes it the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, either April 4th or 5th any given year. Although celebrated as a national holiday in China, 清明 – Qingming has religious… Read More
I was in a crowded Beijing Subway system navigating the intricate intersections of colliding surges of mass humanity, all in a hurry to get somewhere, when I heard the sound of “pitter-patter” feet above the din (the rapid succession of beats made by stiletto heels striking the granite subway floor. Honestly, I did not know, at first, what hit me. It was a slim, 5’6” woman wearing eye-glasses in her 20’s carrying… Read More
Just in case you were wondering what the price of coffee is in Beijing, China. Here you go! Prices are in Chinese Yuan (RMB). For conversion into US Dollars, divide the amount by 6.1. For example a small vanilla latte is 30 RMB / 6.1 = 4.92 USD. It’s not cheap. We usually reserve one day a week for personal indulgence while surfing the internet and catching up on emails.
A month ago, I would have said that the Chinese language sounds harsh and choppy. Today, however, as a beginner, I am beginning to appreciate the beauty of the language, both in its written forms and spoken sounds. Chinese is an elegant language rich with history and meaning. The five tones of the language (there is a neutral tone with no tonal markings) create a type of melody in the sentence structure. The… Read More
Our teacher, Li Hong, is using flash cards appropriate for ages 3-6 to drill us in correct pronunciation for vowels and consonants. After three days, we still have some trouble with a couple of sounds, but we are getting better. We still struggle with “e”. Pictured below is our teacher Yang Yu, she is teaching us how to read and write Chinese characters. We are focusing on the learning 50 common radicals… Read More