Wednesday, April 28, 2010



This is Ella, an Engineering student here at Shandong University and an one of our English students. She was hired to be Richard Watkins and my technical assistant to insure that our computers and electrical system is on and working in our classrooms each day. So she arrives before we do and turns on the computers, sets up our audio video systems, for powerpoint presentations, movies, pictures and such and checks the sound to the speakers. Those university computers are all in Chinese. Then at the end of our classes she returns to turn off the system and to turn the lights off and lock up our class rooms. She is an excellent "Teckie".

I took this photo as she left the classroom last week. She came to our apartment with several other English students last Sunday night for an historical event: The initial making of "Fruit Dumplings". Such has never ever been done in China. In fact, Ella stated that Chinese would never have thought of doing what we did to Dumplings. They would never put anything sweet into a dumpling. They just do not have such radical and weird things in China. Well, I decided to do it anyway and have been telling my students about my plans for a few weeks. They all said that Chinese would not like them and would certainly not eat such things.

I realized that I was going against the status quo, the government, and Chinese culinary rules.

So we made up a good tasting grated apple pie filling from scratch (my original recipe) with Ella and the rest of the students. We made two kinds of fruit dumplings: Apple and Peach.

This is the apple dumplings. Essentially, they are mini apple pies, deep fried, with powdered sugar sprinkled on top, but here everyone calls them dumplings. They are sweet!

Try this one, up close! The students whipped up a batch of fresh cream into "Whipped Cream", and then they dipped these little dumplings into that white, unknown substance and tasted them. You guessed it... They all like it. The peach ones were not quite as good, but when dipped into the whipped cream, they also downed all of them too.

WAR CRAFT MASK: At class last week, the students had "Show and Tell" This one guy brought his mask he made in his dorm room of one of the players in the computer game -- War Craft. They all play this games late into the night. I tried it on. He made it with paper, little rolls of cardboard and duct tape. I think he did a pretty good job considering it was adjustable to fit any big or small head. It looked pretty cool. He is an engineer and a pretty good artist I think.

Dana went out and just bought a new fridge. She just wanted a new one and saved up for it. We now have two fridges. The old one is in the sewing room and is overflow for food storage, for cold water storage and drinks. We like cold drinks in the hot weather. She paid a lot of money for it, $1000. yuan, about $140. American. We really like the new fridge as the bottom half is the freezer with lots of freeze space.

Sunday, April 25, 2010



These two video clips below are downtown in Jinan last Saturday night. I like to dance. The Chinese love to sing and dance. As you can see, they have many interesting types of dances, dancers and dances steps like this one... Teach these catchy dance steps to your kids. Let's all learn this one. Got the music in ya? Do you like to Dance? Give these ones a try!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Journey to Laizhou, China

Pineapple Season.

and boy are they sweet, and boy do they taste good.

We were invited to travel (4 hours) to Laizhou which is north of Jinan and on the shore of the sea. We went at the invitation of one of Dana's medical students. Both of us were to present a 3000 word paper to a group there. We were asked to go, stay overnight and present in the morning. We were treated very well by our hosts and we enjoyed the trip and Laizhou.

Presenting our papers. They were medical research papers full of medicalease and huge words, and complicated by being written in traditional Chinglish/Half Chinese/Half English. Try and read that someday kids. It is a fun read out loud at a Family Home Evening kids. Try it Tanner. I will send you some Chinglish.
Dana and Wendy, read one by one...and accomplished the company's goal.

This was our audience. They were not doctors as we had imagined. They were elderly people who had come to hear about some new medical research and resulting medicines for Diabetes and Hypertension. Then they were asked to buy the products. The had never seen an American or any other person that we were quite the novelty and they were all very gratious and kind to us too. Dana and I talked later and decided that we were kind of a draw or incentive like monkeys at the zoo and they had come to see us and hear us talk. They understood no English however, so the translator girl (we named her Wendy) told them what we were reading to them.

This is the company manager as we were leaving the conference room. I think he was really happy to have us come, although his demeanor is not showing it. Hey, we are happy though.

On the way out of Laizhou, the car broke down as the clutch linkage broke and we limped into a garage to get it Dana and I went for a walk and saw this cool tractor with a 50 foot trailer flat bed on back.

She also met this garbage man cleaning the garbage up and thought he was really cute. What do you think? I think he looks like the guy I got fleas from last year. So, I stayed back.

These are the lunch we received as we started to leave town, andour hosts stopped at a fast foot chinese place to get us some of the famous, Laizhou Donkey Pies. They look like tacos to me, but tasted like Donkey, I guess. Dana would not eat them, but did take one bite. I ate one only...You can only eat so much Donkey, and I have heard that "You are What You Eat."

This is our house in Jinan before we left for Laizhou. It is Spring and it is warming now.

Richard Watkins and Dana and I went to a place we have named: "Home Depot". It is a series of hundreds of small shops which cover several acres. The place was closed as we arrived late, except this one shop. We went in and got what we came for. Three long 35 foot extensions cords. I was able to talk in Chinese enough to tell them what we wanted and to ask them to assemble them, and then pay and leave...of course I was talking to them all the time while they were working in Chinese. So, they know all about our family, kids, grandkids, our ages, and names, including our Chinese names. They have our card now. They are now good friends and we took our photos together. They also took photos. When we left, we had such a good feeling about this adventure. I call this friendshipping, store contacting and spreading the spirit of a positive life with our Chinese friends here. We cannot help but love these people. They are just great...all of them.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Dancing the Night Away.

We are doing the Waltz here. An opportunity to go dancing last weekend came to us from a Chinese Medical Doctor (Adam) and his wife (could be Eve). They picked us up in their "summer car" and drove us up to a new high rise apartment complex with a club house. There Paula and Richard Watkins and we enjoyed a Dance Night in China.

DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY -- Well until 10 pm.`

The above is the "Bunny Hop" kind of a conga line dance.

This is Adam and Eve. They were so kind to us and really a lot of fun. The really like to dance. Their friends, relatives, and family also came to enjoy the activity and to sing and dance.

Dana got into helping this young lady look good. She made some bows and bright colored silk hair adornments for her to dance with. She liked it and she looked good.

This is were you dance in the round, round and round and round, I think...It was fun though. Everyone did it.

Here, Paula teaches the dance where you flail the silk scarves around while sort of flaunting it or strutting your stuff. Scarf strutting, flailing and flaunting caught on quickly.

Richard and I did a pretty raucous rendition of the "Twist" -- like we did last summer -- Twist again...and again...and again... Boy was I twisted up the next day. My back was sore for two more days. But I have fully recovered now. Richard had no ill effects. Of course, that could be because he is in better physical shape. Oh yah, Richard is 75 years old!

Dana had some of her students over to our apartment to ice the star sugar cookies for the campus student fund raiser for the dought victims in southern China. Millions of people are without water there. It is a biblical dought/famine.
Dana made up a treasure trove of sugar cookies, banana bread, cinnamon rolls and small loaves of bread. Then the students iced the cookies and took all of that stuff over to the central campus to give away with a small donation to for the thirsty drought victims, which in the final analysis was all coordinated through the international Red Cross.

There was a lot of stuff... The banana bread loaves are inside the aluminum foil wraps.

Dana and I were invited to go to one of the best elementary schools in Jinan where we taught two classes the he, she and it English lesson (Pronouns) to these eager students. They were so excited, even hyper agitated. Their teacher had to get after them for their misbehavings. But I also played: "Oh Suzanna" on my little harmonica for their entertainment and they all knew that song. The visit was a hit.

Dana taught the pronouns and demonstrated them with real people... Look closely at their faces to see their sincere delight at our visit. You would think that we were some kind of celebrity.

Richard and I rehearse for our planned wind instrument show later on this month. Richard plays the imaginary trombone and I play and imaginary trumpet. We sound pretty good with these two unique instruments, harmonizing like we try to do...

Richard actually plays the clarinet and very well as a former college (USU) music teacher, so this one was not imaginary. Dana and I found this tie for him when we were shopping in Hong Kong. It really suits him doesn't it!
And now link to the Bunny Hop video clip below. The person in the front of the line is supposed to be the leader right? Dancing is Fun!