It wasn’t easy to go back to school today after a two-week winter break (I’m a middle school principal), but as I’ve said before, I’m blessed to get to work with some special teachers in my job. One of our teachers, Mary, has spent a month of each of her past two summers teaching English in China.

We were so delighted that she sent us a postcard this year and asked her to share a little bit more about her experiences there. Here are some excerpts from Mary’s response:

“My time in China has been one of the most rewarding teaching experiences in my 30+ years in the classroom. I taught Chinese English teachers American teaching methodologies. Each and every one of the teachers was hungry for our ideas and anything we could tell them about our lives. They were eager to share their culture with us as well. In all my travels, the Chinese were the kindest, most accepting people I’ve met. I felt welcomed and at home.

I also taught Chinese high school students. Forget about the students being better behaved than American kids. They’re high school students. ‘Nuff said. But add to that a huge interest in all things American. They drank in all I could tell them about students in our schools and their lives outside of school. I have students I still keep in touch with by the Chinese version of Facebook—QQ.

When I was teaching in Baoding, our students took us out and about the city a couple of evenings. We had student guides who practiced their English as they showed off their city to us. It was so much fun to see the excitement in their faces as they led us to the beautiful gardens and temples in our area of the city.

 

 

Chinese students are driven to say the least. I had teachers showing me videos of their students coming to school early to practice their physical education routines or for a bit of extra study time. The usual day for a Chinese student runs from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students have a long lunch break—about an hour and a half to two hours, but they have to come back for mandatory homework sessions from 7:00-9:00 p.m. I did see evidence of stress in the students, both in the time I was there and in communication since I’ve been home. They have little time to be kids. The goal of perfection weighs heavily on Chinese children.

I’ve been asked if I’d go back to China, it isn’t difficult to answer. It’s a resounding yes. I found that I like teaching adults as well as students and made some wonderful friends young and old. China is a third-world country with a fine veneer of development which makes it a delightful mix of experiences. I would encourage anyone considering a trip to China to grasp it with both hands and hold on tight. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.”

[well]When you’re traveling next, be sure to send us a postcard at Postcard Jar, P.O. Box 334, Crete, NE 68333. We’d love to hear from you![/well]

  • Late breakfast, early lunch. Time got away from us this morning so we had a bit of a brunch. We have been on an oatmeal kick this year for several reasons. It's inexpensive, filling, tastes great, and is typically readily available at grocery stores and hotels that serve breakfast. ⁣
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One cup of oatmeal cooked in water is about 160 calories (and a "green" food on our @noom weight loss app). We like to add a teaspoon of brown sugar, a little cinnamon, and lots of fresh berries. Other options are: bananas, nuts, nutmeg, diced apple, flax seed, or dried fruits. ⁣
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What is your go-to breakfast these days?
  • See how we lost a combined 150 pounds in a year while traveling! It was one year ago this week that we began our healthy living journey. We are travel bloggers with a new post (just click on the handy dandy link in our bio) about what we've lost and gained in one year.
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See what we've learned about calorie density, exercise and ourselves in the process. We are so thankful for the resources that have helped us, including @noom and the @mayoclinic Healthy Living Program. (This is NOT a paid partnership) We feel like new people and hope our story will encourage someone else who wants to make a healthy lifestyle change. To stay up to date with our weight loss and healthy living journey, be sure to follow @PostcardJar on social media.
  • Our daffodils are in full bloom here in Nebraska and they just make us smile. We brought the  bulbs for these flowers from Ann's first house when we got married and moved here. Ann had dug them up from her grandma Rashleigh's home in Fremont, Nebraska, and her grandma had brought them to the U.S. from a trip that she took to England. ⁣
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Ann's grandma passed away several years ago. Each spring, these flowers bloom and remind Ann of her grandma and her beautiful soul.
  • We love to travel but we're staying home to flatten the curve. As travel bloggers, writers, and influencers, we all have canceled trips, postponed adventures, and rescheduled experiences. ⁣
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We know this is temporary and soon enough, we'll be traveling again. But for now, we are all staying safe at home and encourage you to do the same. And while you’re home, check out some of these influencers’ feeds for travel inspiration.
  • Last week, we had the pleasure of making handmade pasta (via the internet) with our friends, Deb and Massi, who were in their home kitchen in Italy. ⁣
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You can read all about it, and get the recipe, on our blog. Yep, you guessed it, the link is in our bio. ⁣
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We met Deb and Massi of @italyunfiltered a few years ago when they created an amazing food and wine itinerary for us. We've remained friends and it was so good to see them, even if they were a world away.
  • We were supposed to be in Rochester, Minnesota, this week for Ann to see a cardiac sarcoidosis specialist about some recent issues with her heart. Of course, we did not travel to Rochester for her scans and doctor visits because of the coronavirus outbreak.⁣
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Instead, her cardiologists called her from their homes and her scans and tests will likely be delayed until June or July. We'll keep in close touch with them if anything changes, as well. We are so grateful for all of the healthcare professionals who are continuing to work crazy hours from home as well as in our hospitals around the world.⁣
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This is such an unprecedented and stressful time for all of them. Words will never be enough to convey our gratitude for the roles they are playing in the battle against this deadly virus while caring for those with other diseases and illnesses at the same time. ⁣
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Every healthcare provider we've talked with in the last two weeks has had the same message for those of us who don't have to go to work at a hospital. ⁣
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Just. Stay. Home.
  • Yesterday was Day 16 of social isolation for us. Because of Ann's underlying heart condition and suppressed immune system, we've cooked all our meals at home (no takeout). We've starting to get more and more creative as time has gone by. ⁣
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Last night, we made chicken and shrimp vindaloo and learned online how to make homemade naan.⁣
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It wan't as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, The Oven, but it did satisfy the craving we've had for Indian food. ⁣
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What are you craving these days?
  • We moved our living room furniture around this week and put two swivel chairs near the sliding glass door. Each day, we take time to turn around, rest our minds, enjoy in the view, and just be. #webelieveinhome

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