Hello family and friends,
Today is March 31st and we are enjoying our first spring in. The weather is in the 60's each day but still is in the low 40's or cooler at night. Today the heat was turned off at our university. Throughout northern China, the government turns off the heat mid-March so we feel fortunate that we had 2 extra weeks of warmth. Our apartment is cool but manageable. From what we understand we only have about a month of spring then hot weather arrives. Also famous in this area during the spring is the sand storms. They can be horrible but so far we've only had one minor storm. I looked out the kitchen window and saw little white things falling from the sky and since it wasn't cold, I knew it couldn't be snow. When I asked a Chinese professor friend what we could expect as far as spring sand storms are concerned, she informed me that we wouldn't be having them this year because the government wouldn't allow them due to the !
Speaking of the, is marching closer to the big event. We tried to visit the Olympic Headquarters building last week but security was tight so we didn't get in. With the situation in Tibet things are pretty tense as far as having the successful they have been planning for all these years. We can't get any news on Tibet, all sources are blocked by the government. We are planning a trip there in June if things are stable by then. Some feel it will remain closed to tourists for quite some time. We'll see. We have enjoyed watching the constructions of the venues and many of our students are Olympic volunteers. They are proud to be able to serve their country. Although one boy shared his regret that his assignment is to clean toilets in the athlete's village! He wasn't too happy about that.
We are having a wonderful time with our classes this term. These are amazing people and we love being with them. They seem so interested in the differences between China and America. They are so realistic in their perceptions on the whole. Though too much of their impression of America comes from movies and television. They are fond of "Friends", "" and "Prison Break". They are amazed that we don't watch those shows!
We have added a few activities to enrich our experience here. Barry is taking ping pong lessons from a Phd student of his. They play every Saturday and Barry has even won a game or two (although he was spotted 8 points to begin). If this man chose, Barry would never score a point! I am taking Tai Chi classes and love the smoothness and grace of this - at least my teacher is graceful. I look rather silly, I'm afraid! I continue my jogging. The only limitation is my feet - because we walk so much I find my feet quite sore by the week's end.
We have been able to attend many concerts and music performances while here in. We have so many places to visit before our time ends here. In May we will go on a short four day trip to Inner Mongolia. Our students are always asking us where we have been in and are so jealous that we've seen more places than they have. We try to assure them that we didn't travel when we were university students either.