From Jamie's Philippines Pics

We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.

We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.

Thanks for checking us out!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
- Mark Twain

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
- Maya Angelou






Skype: "ericandjamie"



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Moving Day!

Jamie and I are ready to go! It is exactly 5 hours before we take off. My parents and niece came down last night and met Jamie and I, her parents, and brother and his wife for dinner at Hearth and Harvest (our last meal and delicious). We've packed, crammed, and stayed up late but all is hopefully good to go. Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers for our journey. We'll certainly need them. I won't know the status of the Internet for a few days there, but I'll post when I can. Rest assured, in the upcoming weeks, I'll have a ton of pictures for you to see. Until then...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Last Day! Jamie and I will be busy busy today as we make final preparations. I won't even begin to list what we have to do. For anyone interested, shipping boxes to China is expensive, so save your pennies (lots of them!). I fear that we have too much to jam into our checked and carry on luggage, but we'll see. Somehow, these things always work out in the end.

As I think this morning about what we have left to do, it becomes a bit overwhelming. We are having a final last meal tonight with family, and we'll try and get some sleep, although I'm not sure that will happen. We'll leave at 10:00 am. As of posting this, it'll be 25 hours! Amazing. Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

Crunch Time. Jamie and I are shipping some items today. Expensive, but I guess cheaper than buying a new winter and dress clothes wardrobe. We also need to sign the land contract and ship it. Nice to be done with that. We'll be spending the afternoon with Jamie's grandparents. As of typing this, we have just over 48 hours before we fly. Just a few more precious hours to spend with the best dog in the history of the planet. (Sigh): I'm gonna miss him.

By the way, if you haven't seen the new Batman movie, we highly recommend it. It is quite long, so be prepared. I hope to play one final round of golf tomorrow morning. We'll see if I have time.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Here is the family going away party group picture held at Cartersville CC on July 26th. I won't attempt to type everyone's names, but we'll have this as a reminder of love and encouragement as we move to China. Great photo!
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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Going Away Party

Today we were given 2 going away parties. The first one was held at the country club and was a family only affair. Many thanks to Kathy for putting together all of this. The service at the cc was wonderful and we were able to say our goodbyes.

The evening going away party included some family but also some friends that graciously attended. A huge thanks again to Gary and Kathy, Charles and Jewel, and Mark and Kathy for setting up, taking down, cooking, catering, and just being wonderful. All of the goodbyes are beginning to set in now, but we are trying to hold strong.

Funny story. Jamie and I purchased 2 webcams so our parents could use them with Skype. We walked out of Staples and called Jamie's mom who was so excited because she had just purchased one about an hour before. We made a U-turn in the parking lot and returned it withing about 2 minutes. Today we find out my dad has already purchased one too. Good news, both of their cameras are better than the ones be bought them.

Jamie and I will be spending our last few days spending time with close family. My goal is to play a couple of rounds of golf. We have some last minute packing to do and we need to go ahead and ship some of our boxes.

We found out that we will in fact have a van picking us up at the airport in Hong Kong. This is a huge relief as we would have had to carry all of our luggage onto the ferry. Of course, we'd manage, but this will be so much easier.

I did not take any pictures of the parties, but I know that some did. I will get those pictures and upload them onto an album. You'll find it at the bottom soon. Thanks for those reading this.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jamie and I would like to thank Charles and Jewel Brown (Eric's parents) for wishing us luck on our journey by posting this on the sign in Calhoun, TN (Eric's hometown). We are back from south Georgia after visiting with Jamie's dad in Bainbridge. Note to self and everyone else: Please use name brand sunscreen that says "WATERPROOF" and not "WATER RESISTANT." The water resistant doesn't work. No word yet on whether China has either but we are willing to bet they do. We are about 98% packed up and are spending the rest of the time visiting with family. Time is ticking but we are ready to fly. This time one week from now, we will have been in China for more than a day. Amazing.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Faceville, GA

Jamie and I are in Faceville, GA (south GA about 10 miles from the Florida line) to visit with her father. We'll be going to Mexico City Beach tomorrow and then back up to Cartersville until we leave. We are about 95% packed and have just a few loose ends to wrap up. Truck still not sold, so if anyone knows anyone looking for a truck, give me a call or email, or skywrite it.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Wow. I didn't quite understand what I was getting into with this whole Facebook thing. Quite time consuming but well worth it, as I have found and contacted people from high school and college that I haven't heard from in years. Check out my page if you have stumbled on this site. I think it'll be a great way to stay in touch. You'll have to sign up and then you can add me as a friend. Sounds all warm and fuzzy doesn't it. I accidentally sent a friend request to everyone that I have ever emailed on Google: realtors, college professors, organizations. I'm sure they think I'm crazy. Nonetheless, I've spent some time on it the past fews days. Make sure if you sign up to change the email notifications otherwise every time someone sneezes on Facebook, it'll email you about. Cool at first, but then it gets annoying.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Jamie and I have spent this past week packing. We sent 12 bags of clothes to the Salvation Army and have divided up the rest between clothes we are taking with us on the plane and clothes we are shipping. In case you wanted to know, it costs about $4.50 per pound to ship a package from Cartersville, GA to China. Needless to say, we are trying to ship as few boxes as possible and make them as light as possible. A positive note is that United Airlines allows to bags to be carried on and 2 bags to be checked. Griffey will be staying with my parents for a few months while Cloey will be staying with Jamie's parents. We hope to send for them around October. Airlines do not allow pets to be shipped with temperatures are over 85 degrees.

Our schedule for the remaining 12 days is quite hectic. We have a cousins birthday party, visit to Tennessee, meeting with a financial adviser, 4 days in South Georgia, a going away party, and finally the last 3 days in the United States of America.

Some good news is that we have purchased some lakefront property in Tennessee on Watts Bar Lake. Sweet deal and we are hoping to use it as an investment. Check it out by searching Grand Vista Bay on Google. As I'm writing this, Google stock is down 49 points. Pretty amazing. We'll see if it bounces back.

Truck is still for sale. I'm asking $10,000 but accepting all offers. You can find pictures in previous posts.

All for now. Hoping to have another Chinese lesson for you soon. Time running out...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lesson # 3 - China's Geography

Check it out. Here's China. So far, you've learned about the Chinese population and the Chinese government. Perhaps geography should have been first in our lessons, but you can always read them 3, 2, 1 if that'll make you feel better. China is the 3rd largest nation in the world behind Russia and Canada. The U.S. comes in at 4th, but barely. Because of its size and dynamic elevation changes, China's climate can be very diverse ranging from tropical in the southern areas to a subarctic in the northern region. China's landscape can be described as 4 stairsteps lowering in elevation from the west (Tibet and Himalayas) to east (Pacific Ocean). Most of the rivers begin in the highest tier of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, including the Yangtze and the Yellow Rivers. The Yangtze is China's longest river and the the 3rd longest river in the world behind the Nile and Amazon. Along with Egypt (Nile), Mesopotamia (Tigris and Euphrates), and the India (Indus River), China's Yellow River was one of the ancient civilizations and most advanced. Jamie and I will actually be near the mouth of the Pearl River, south China's largest river which empties into the South China Sea. Lastly in regards to rivers, China has the oldest and largest man made river in the Grand Canal, which links 5 major rivers: Haihe, Yellow, Huaihe, Yangtze and Qiantang.

This just scratches the surface of China's geography. Obviously, you can take entire upper level courses at a university on China's geography. In the next few days, I'll try and post about China's political geography, which other than the names, is not as complicated as you would think.

21 days to go. We've learned that our foreign visas have been processed and should be in hand by the end of the week. Truck still for sale so in anyone knows anyone who needs a great truck, let us know.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Lesson #2 - Chinese Government

The Chinese government can be complicated for one to understand. Communist yet a Republic. For those who slept through government in high school (surely, not mine: "Don't call me Shirley"), a republic is a representative democracy in which the people elect representatives who will vote for them. Simply, most countries population's are too large for everyone to vote on all matters. If you haven't seen the U.S. Congress's list of bills and resolutions, look up the the Congressional Calendar sometime and you'd be amazed at how much our Congress is supposed to work. I digress.

The current Chinese constitution was written in 1959 but the final revision has been pretty much the same since 1982 which includes several amendments concerning human rights and private property. The Chinese government is a one party system, Communist. China can also be characterized by an oligarchy, which by definition is a government run by a few people. Nonetheless, there is still a structure to their government with several bureaucracies. The state consists of the National People's Congress, a President, State Council, Central Military Commission, Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Without boring you to death as I'm sure I've already accomplished, I feel as though my post won't be complete until I provide you with a brief explanation of all of these sections of their government:

1) The National People's Congress (NPC) - the highest structure of the state's power. The Standing Committee of the NPC serves for 5 years and has the powers and rights of legislation, decision, supervision, election, and removal.

2) President - like the POTUS, is the Head of State as a representative both in and out of the country. Unlike the POTUS however, the President of China is actually under the NPC and take orders and direction from them. Hu Jintao is the current President of China.

3) State Council - the State Council is the supreme executive and administrative sector of the Chinese government. The Council consists of a Premier,
vice-premiers, State councillors, ministers in charge of ministries and commissions, the auditor-general and the secretary-general. The Premier is appointed by the President and approved by the NPC. The other positions of the State Council are appointed by the Premier and approved by the NPC or the President. Each position on the State Council serves for 5 years. Quoting from the Chinese governments' website, "The State Council is responsible for carrying out the principles and policies of the Communist Party of China as well as the regulations and laws adopted by the NPC, and dealing with such affairs as China's internal politics, diplomacy, national defense, finance, economy, culture and education."

4) Central Military Commission - the highest military sector in charge of commanding the armed forces for China. The members in this commission is nominated by the NPC.

Supreme People's Court - highest trial court in the country. It also supervises over trial practices and the local courts at various levels. The members of the People's Court are appointed and supervised by the NPC.

Supreme People's Procuratorate - the legal supervision of the state in charge of the prosecutions of of crimes.

This is just a sketch of the government. Basically, they do have 3 branches of government and run extensively under a vast bureaucracy. The main difference between the Chinese government and the U.S. government is the political party system and the where the actual power of the government actual lies. The oligarchy of the NPC consisting of wholly of members of the Communist Party make all decisions.

Hopefully this wasn't too painful and will help you have some more understanding of the Chinese government. Lesson # 3 will focus on China's geography.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lesson #1 - Chinese Population

The China Population Information and Research Center has a running tally of the population of China. As of now, it is approximately 1.32 billion people which is roughly 20-22% of the entire world's population. So, look ahead, behind, right and left of you on this planet, and odds are one of them are Chinese. Furthermore, approximately 43% of the population live in urban areas, while 57% still live in rural areas. The percentage of urban dwellers will continue to rise as an alarming number people flock to the cities as China begins to industrialize and expand in world trading. To put this in perspective, according to the U.S. census, the United States has a population of about 301 million as of July 2007. Several sources dispute the land area of China as well as the United States, so it is actually a bit more complicated to count the population density of both countries. Nonetheless, both China and the United States have a land area of 9.6 million square kilometers. In sum, take your areas in the U.S. and cram about 4 times as many people and it would give you a good idea of the population density of China.

Jamie and I are not quite sure how dense the population will be in Shekou or if we can even compare it to anything in the U.S. We'll soon find out and of course I will let you know.

I don't want to overwhelm you on your first lesson, so I'll let this be our first session. Go out and education someone as to the statistics. Since I am working on my PhD, it pains me not to cite everything. I try to use government statistics on all of these numbers. Most will be just regular encyclopedia stats. Let me know if you want a source, and I can dig it up.

My truck is officially for sale now, so if anything knows anyone who wants a new truck, let me know. Those of you who have seen my truck know that it is in excellent shape.
Here is a picture. Dandy truck isn't it?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Jamie and I are back from Tunica. Jamie leaves on the 7th to go to 4H camp. I will spend some time with my family, but really have nothing to do until we leave. Since nothing will be going on concerning our trip to China, I've decided to start posting some information concerning China's history, geography, and culture. There is a ton on information concerning China because of their worldwide stage due to the Olympics, so my little addition will keep things simple. I'll do some fun facts, perhaps a few Chinese words, and basic understanding of Chinese culture. I personally need to refresh my memory concerning some of these things. I figure that all of us could use some education concerning China and this could be your one stop shop for learning. I don't think I'll post every day, but you can check back every other day or so and catch up.

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