Wednesday, January 27, 2010


It is cold.

I know it has been cold in the US lately and many places broke records for how cold it was a few weeks ago. The temperature was much lower than it has been here.
But it is cold here.

People always ask us, "What's the weather like there?" I always say that it is about like it is here (TN)... But.....
It feels colder. It really does. Let me see if I can explain it...
Are you cold right now? No, not really. It is cold outside? How may layers of clothes are you wearing?

Right now I am inside, and I am wearing wool long john pants, and long wool socks under my jeans. (on really cold days, I might wear two pairs of long johns) On my top, I am wearing a thermal top, a long sleeve tee shirt, and a fleece sweatshirt. I am still a little chilled.

I own a couple pieces of clothing that were always too hot to wear in America. One of these is an acrylic fleece sweat shirt. It works just fine here, actually I usually wear two shirts under it!

I promise it FEELS colder here. It is wet (another rainy day) but it is more than just that. You can never really get away from the cold here. Our apartments are made of concrete. There is very little wood and NO insulation. The floor is either tile, or warmer wood, and that is on top of a concrete slab. It is a little like living in a cave. We have heaters but they rarely work like the ones in America. We do not have central heating so the bathrooms can be quite frigid.

In America, we leave our nice warm houses with carpet, insulation, and central heat and walk in the bitter cold to our cars. We turn on the heater and drive to a heated building or store. We are outside for very little time.

In China, it takes longer to go anywhere, so we are outside for longer. The larger stores usually have some heating, but most smaller stores do not.

Almost all the classrooms do not have heat. When we teach in the winter time, we never take our coat off, and sometimes we keep our gloves on. I really feel sorry for the students because they usually just sit there, and that gets really cold. At least the teacher gets to move around.

That being said, we are blessed. We do have a heater in most of the rooms. We have lots of warm clothes that we can layer up. We usually do not HAVE to be outside when the weather is at its worst. Not many people are as blessed. I am thankful.

We are going to Beijing next week, it is much further north. But they say that the cold is dryer so it feels different. We shall see.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Meet Alex

I wrote more about this on our team blog, so you can look at it if you wish....

Any way, I would like you to meet our new brother Alex....

Jon has been studying with Alex for nearly a year now. We were super excited about his decision to put on Him.

Alex is really a great guy. He has helped us out a bunch over the past year or so. We are blessed with his friendship.

Please continue to lift him up. We pray that he will continue to be faithful, and that he will continue to grow.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New smile

Liam has a new smile! This is not the first tooth he has lost, it is his third! But it is his first top tooth. He pulled it himself. He has pulled all his teeth himself!
I knew it would come out soon. The other day, he was having a tough time leaving it alone. We were out and on a bus, and he kept putting his hand in his mouth! He bothered it enough that day that he made it bleed some. I was worried that we would be out on the street or on the bus and not have a good way to rinse his mouth. Anyway, this morning, he got up and said that it was really loose. Jon said, " good, pull it out". Liam wiggled it twice and then pulled it out! He was pretty excited.
He looks so cute snaggle-toothed! All day long he has made me grin when he talked because he now has a bit of a lisp.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sad today

Please pray for my family. I got news this morning that my grandmother (Nanny) is very ill. She has been ill for about a year. They feel that the end of her suffering is near. She has been brought home from the hospital and they are trying to keep her comfortable. However, the doctor says 2 days to a week.
Please pray for her comfort. Please pray for my granddaddy. I feel he will be so lost without her. Please pray for my aunts and uncle as they care for her.

It is really hard to be here in China right now. I am sure I will write more later.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chinese lessons

For a long time, Jon has really wanted to take language lessons. We both really would have loved to have just gone to language school instead of teaching. As the semester was winding down, Jon was researching some schools here in Hangzhou. So, both he and Hallie signed up for lessons. It is not cheap, but we really think it will be worth it. They go every week day morning for two hours of class. (I can't go right now, I am watching the little kids). It is hard, they both have homework, but they are also really making progress. The plan is for them to go everyday the entire month. Hallie may continue a couple of days a week when the new semester starts. Jon wants to do some more late in the summer after we come back from America and before his classes start.

One thing I have noticed, is that Hallie has more confidence in speaking Chinese. She is not as shy with it. So far, I have not heard her say anything she did not already know how to say, or something I did not understand, but she is a little more bold.

For example ( I mentioned this on my Face book status), at lunch yesterday, she wanted to know if something was spicy. She piped up "Auntie, is this spicy or not?" Before, she would have asked us, and then we might have told her to ask. I was proud of her. I told her so, and she said, well, if I spoke English she would not have understood me!

I wasn't just proud of her for speaking, Chinese. I was proud of her for speaking at all.

Oh, yeah, Hallie and Jon are also learning to read and write Chinese characters. Wow!!