Lock In

Each year the student council in middle and high school hosts some sort of sleepover party.  For the Middle Schoolers it is named the Lip Sync Party because they have a Lip Sync competition the night of the sleep over.  For the High School they just name it the Lock In.  Because I am Freshmen Class President I am part of the planning for the High School event.  Even though I have been at this school for two years I have never participated in the sleepover part of the Middle School Lip Sync party, so this was my first year to sleep over in the school.  I was so nervous that some part of our planning would go wrong, however God really blessed our party!  Everything stayed on schedule and all of the activities we planned went smoothly.  I had a blast!  Every activity was a ton of fun; among the different activities, my favorite was the Student vs. Teacher Dodge ball, Dice Game called Screamo, and a game called assassins.  All the food, Korean, American and Chinese food, was fresh and hot when we ordered it; in one case a place delivered the food at midnight for our midnight snack!  Once it was about 3am, the activities were finished and we could either play ping pong or bad mitten, watch a movie, or play board games or cards.  I opted to watching the movie because I was too tired to do anything else, additionally there were cushions for you to lay on in the movie room, where as in the sleeping room it was only the hard floor.  I purposely fell asleep on the cushions to catch a few hours of comfortable sleep. I had a ton of fun and will always remember this Lock In!  It was everything I hoped it would be and more!

Megan’s Class Assembly

Megan’s preschool class lead the weekly chapel time in her school this
week. Their lesson was on sharing, and the students enacted short skits
on sharing and being greedy. Then they lead the other students in a song.
I enjoyed spending time in her school and conversing with other moms of
her classmates.


An Unexpected Surprise

This Friday, Jessie and I began our very first small group! For weeks, we have been planning to host a bible study using Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free.” We worked from 3:30 pm to 6:00 (the time our friends were supposed to come), getting prepared. As an introductory, ice breaker session, Jessie and I decided to decorate prayer journals for a craft. After school anyone watching she and I would have been laughing at our attempts to run/ waddle down the hallway loaded with books and computer cases, trying to buy small notebooks at the student store before the bus left. Thankfully we made it on time and quickly arrived at our home. We then set ourselves to work, cutting appropriate sized paper, and ribbon so that our friends would have everything ready to start sticking! Finally it was 6:00, and Jessie and I said a quick prayer asking for blessings for the night. Our friend from school was the first to arrive and you might be surprised at me saying that she was the last to arrive as well. It ended up that one girl couldn’t come due to having previous engagements, another was sick and the last was hosting a middle school party at the school. However, this did not stop us from having tons of fun together! We talked, cut, pasted, read, ate, drank, prayed and giggled for two hours straight! The Lord blessed us in a way that we didn’t expect by giving us this time alone with a sweet and joyful friend.


Bus Ride to School

We catch the school bus at 7:20 each morning. Today I had my camera along
and took a few shots along the way. Usually sitting in the front seats,
my big kids decided to make a change this morning and sit in the back.
Megan joined her friend, Keli, for the ride to school. Buildings here are
made from concrete cinder blocks, look closely and you can see. This one
has been under construction ever since we came in 2008, not sure what the
roadblock is to its completion. This time of year much effort is made to
improve Tianjin with the planting of trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. The
truck is carrying trees to be planted somewhere in our city. Also notice
in the forefront of the truck picture, the ground shrubs are protected
with green plastic tarping. In fall, thousands of workers construct these
green plastic “cages” around all the trees and shrubs to protect them from
the wind in winter.


Unusual Spring-time Picnic

Although we have enjoyed slightly warmer temperatures the past couple of weeks, the air is still not quite warm enough to spend too much time outdoors. Last Friday morning Megan’s preschool had teacher-in-service day. We were invited to go swimming with some of Megan’s friends. In Tianjin, work-out gyms, like Lifetime Fitness do not really exist. Instead, luxury hotels offer memberships to their indoor pools and work-out facilities. Our friends have a pool membership at the downtown Westin Hotel. It was such a treat for Megan to go swim. About the time the girls were ready to head into the locker room to warm up in the hot tub, (they were also a bit cranky), we realized that it was almost lunch time. So we spread out towels and had an indoor picnic of peanut butter sandwiches and granola bars. Pictured in the background, my good friend, Tami, who has been the “kindred” spirit for me as I learn to live life in China.


Thankful for Heat

Today I found out from a friend that our city has extended the date to turn OFF the heat. Normally the hot water heating systems are turned off on March 15th. This year they are extending heat service until March 20. I will pray for an early spring warm-up. So far we have temperatures in the 50’s for highs, which is not too bad. But the lows are still in the 30’s and our concrete buildings take a while to warm up with outdoor temps that low.

In the Kitchen

Last fall we were invited to dinner by another family on our team from the UK. She made this delicious chicken salad, that I have “tweaked” a little to make even tastier.

Cilantro Chicken Salad

5 – 6 chicken breast
3 sprigs of chopped green onion
2 stalks of celery (blanched)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup fried bacon pieces

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
salt/pepper to taste

Poach chicken breasts. Cool and cut into small cubes. Mix with vegetables and bacon. Toss with dressing and chill for several hours. Service with large romaine lettuce leaves or over steamed rice.


Qing Dao MUN

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Last weekend, I attended my very first Model United Nations conference, and as you probably guessed, MUN is a way for students to debate and resolve United Nation’s topics. I entered the conference with an opening speech where I was shaken to the tips of my fingers the entire time I spoke, and ended the conference with over 40 speeches and points of information (POI). I was a delegate in the General Assembly (GA) committee which debated 4 issues, each resolution called for two resolutions to be submitted. I main submitted a resolution under the Prohibition of Antipersonnel Mines. At the end of each debating session the house votes for or against the resolution, in our case most of the delegates voted for the establishment of the resolution so we passed! To sum up the entire conference in three words, I would say it was fun, invigorating, and exciting! I enjoyed myself so much and found something that I could really excel in! In the ending ceremony, there was one delegate in each committee (GA, Disarmament, Human rights, Advisory Panel, Security Council and Ecosoc) that was awarded the “Most Eloquent Speaker.” Jessie, my best friend Lara, and I won three of the six awards!
Our school’s Student News Club aired a broadcast about this conference… you can watch it below 🙂

Service Day

Each year our school has a designated day for service.  We are grouped by grade and assigned to go to a certain place to lend our service.  This year most of my classmates and I went to the Adult Facility.  In a Chinese orphanage, if a child is mentally disabled and has not been adopted after the age of 14 they are sent to the Adult Facility where they will stay, sadly, for the rest of their life.  Many of the occupants there had down syndrome or were quadriplegic.  All of my classmates (excluding me and a few others) brought their instruments to play songs such as the Ode to Joy and the Minuet.  Then we all sang some interactive songs such as 'Hokey Poky' and 'Shake a Friends Hand'.  After we did that for about five different audiences we helped with their lunch.  My friend Tae  Eun and I helped feed one of the men that was quadriplegic and unable to feed himself.  At the end of our visit we did their daily stretches with them and then played on their playground with them.  Though a lot of the people there were unable to communicate effectively I learned that each one had their own way of expressing their feelings even though it is not in the way we do.  I was really encouraged to see them so excited to see us.  We are most likely the only outside group that comes to see them so it is special for them to play with us.   I think I learned more about people mentally disabled and I had a lot of fun serving them! 
*No pictures were allowed at the Adult Facility,  ;(