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]

  • Have you always wanted to visit @thepioneerwoman lodge in Oklahoma? We’ve got a new blog post today with 12 tips to make your visit spectacular. Our website link is in our bio. And if the lodge is not open for tours when you can come, no worries! There are plenty of great things to see and do when you @visit_the_osage and @pwmercantile I’m Pawhuska. #pawhuska #pioneerwoman #drummondlodge #ranch #postcardjar #reedrummond
  • This is our first spring in Osage County, Oklahoma, and we are in awe of these trees!! It is a red bud and is the state tree of Oklahoma. They are everywhere around here and we love spotting the bright pinkish purple blooms among the green trees. So much beauty in nature. #redbud @visit_the_osage  @travelok
  • Sitting in our hotel room in Venice, we could look out across the busy canal toward St. Mark's cathedral. The fact that it's an island city makes it different from any other city in the world. Water taxis zoomed around, larger vaporettos chugged past, as well. Occaisionally, a cruise ship would glide past our window. Tourists from all over the world came to take in this spectacle, yet to the locals, who drive boats down tight canals with ease, this is what normal life looks like. The world is indeed a large, interesting place. Have you been to Venice? ⁣
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  • Seeing this photo takes us back to the the cooking class we took last summer on the island of Mykonos in Greece. We went to a woman's home, learned about Greek culture and history, and then prepared a meal using fresh ingredients from the garden in her back yard. Suffice it to say, it was one of the most delicious meals we'd ever had. But perhaps even better are the memories of the warm welcome we received as we entered her home and the glimpse into the lives of real people in another part of the world. ⁣
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  • Trust us on this: there is nothing that relaxes more than kicking back in a hammock in the shade on a beach in the Caribbean. Except maybe leaving that relaxing spot and getting back on a cruise ship for cocktails and a gourmet dinner. What do you do to relax on vacation? ⁣
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  • Near Valdobbiadene, in the heart of Italy's Prosecco region, is a bar with no bartender. You simply go inside, take the wine or beer you want from the fridge, and leave your money to pay for it in a box. We weren't sure who the owner of this bar is, or even who keeps it stocked. What we do know from the cards and notes they've left is that people from all over the world have come here and respected the honor system. It's amazing how honest folks will be if you just show a little trust. ⁣
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  • Ahhh...the Piazza del Campo in Siena! We absolutely loved our time here, sitting at a sidewalk cafe, sipping delicious Chianti Clasico wine and savoring the some of the best lasagna and pasta carbonara we'd ever had. While there, we noticed a number of people drinking some kind of orange colored drink. Our waiter explained it was a spritz of some sort. We asked if it were good. She shook her head and said that only the Americans seemed to like it. ⁣
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  • This barn at at @Calamus_Outfitters in @visitnebraska serves as a reminder that this really is a working ranch. The Switzer family has poured their hearts and souls into the land. We think it's pretty neat that they're willing to share this piece of the beautiful Nebraska Sandhills with visitors. Have you been to the Nebraska Sandhills? ⁣
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#visitnebraska #HonestlyNE #CalamusOutfitters #barn #Tanking #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #cabins #agritourism #ranch #ranching #ranchlife #goplaces

Making the most of midlife.