Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mmmm . . . Nothing Like a Hot Cup of Water on a 90-degree Summer Day

Apparently, if you order a glass of water with your meal at a restaurant in China, expect it to be piping hot with the steam still rising from the cup. That's different.

* * *

If anyone can figure out how to fit 14,000 students in one-square mile, China certainly can. This past weekend students began arriving on campus for the new school year, and it was a sight to behold. Yes, somehow, 14,000 students (minus the freshman class) arrived on our tiny campus, suitcases, blankets, and giant thermoses in hand (to carry their refreshing hot water, of course).

Classes began on Monday and when I walked into each of my classes, I was met with stares of curiosity. I don't think my students have encountered many Nigerians in their lifetime ;) I have about 250 second-year students in five classes, all business majors with dreams of making money and traveling West one day. They are eager to improve their spoken English, hungry for information about the world beyond their borders, and easy to fall in love with. Many a time this week, I have looked across my classroom and thought, "Wow! I get to spend a whole year with these students!"

I know it's only the "honeymoon" stage, as they say, but I'd like to think I'll be feeling the same way by the end of the school year :)

On the first day of each of my classes, I told my students that everyone lives for something/someone or is motivated by something/someone. "I am motivated by a desire to help people discover their purpose," I said to them.

I hope that by the end of the term, I will have nudged my students closer to discovering who they are.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dreams and Doorways

I'm home! For a little while, at least . . .

After over 24hrs of traveling, I arrived last week in Beijing for orientation with the team of English teachers I will be working with.

During our week in Beijing, my team was advised to experience as many of the major sites and landmarks as we could, in order to gain deeper knowledge of the people among whom we will be living for the next year.


I had the joy of climbing the Great Wall in Beijing with some friends from my group. What an experience! What a picture of perseverance and creativity! Again, at the Temple of Heaven and at the Forbidden Palace, I saw beauty in proportions that reminded me how great and magnificent my Creator is.

Reaching for something bigger?

China is beautiful . . . its colors, its many textures and rich history. Its people are unique and profound in their outlook. The grandiosity of their self-expression demonstrates the depth of their soul-searching.

I noticed (randomly) at each of the sites I visited that there were many windows and doorways.

Stepping into each doorway was like stepping into a dream . . . everything looked so familiar, yet, so unreal . . . so imposing, yet so fragile. Each doorway led to even greater beauty--an "inner circle," an ornate garden, or some valuable artifact. I might well have expected to reach the end of the tour and discover the proverbial pot of gold, or the center of the earth, or some other rare thing humanity has long quested for. But it was never there.

I could not help but wonder about the thousands of people who were making their pilgrimages to these famous sites. Did they have unanswered questions? Had they discovered the Doorway that leads to life? Would they return home fulfilled, satisfied?