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"



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cambodia - Day 3 and 4

Jamie and I relaxed on Monday morning by hanging out in our guesthouse in Phnom Penh. The weekend and lack of sleep had finally caught up to us. At 2:00, our bus to Siem Reap left and we took the 5 hour bus ride there. It wasn't bad and we saw some of the Cambodian country side. Lots of rice fields and small shacks built on stilts.

We arrived the Crown Royal hotel around 8:00 pm and decided to just eat there. I had the fish amok and Jamie had the pineapple rice chicken. We have enjoyed the fact that the real fruit shakes in Cambodia are really cheap. All are under $2.50 and most are around $1. We were pretty tired, so decided to call it an early night. We had decided we would not stay in this hotel because 1) they were slightly overcharging us and 2) the only internet was in the lobby and they charged $1 per 30 minutes. Cheap by American standards, but I have mine own.

We disappointed them greatly by leaving but the place we have moved, Golden Orange Hotel, is just as nice and has free Wi-Fi throughout. The bathroom is a tub/shower combo with no shower curtain and luke warm water. We'll live. It is so humid here that a warm/cool shower actually feels pretty good. After settling in our new place, we set out to find some bicycles. We found some we could rent for $2 per day. Once again, we probably overpaid for these, but it'll be ok. We are saving ourselves from paying a tuk tuk driver anytime we need to go somewhere and not walk. Driving in Siem Reap is not quite as hectic as Phnom Penh, but still no sidewalks, so you just walk in the sandy streets with the cars, motobikes, and bikes.

We went by this Butterfly Garden restaurant because it sounded nice. It was decent and there weren't many butterflies. I was told that "a butterfly has died." We saw several dead butterflies, so we weren't sure what they were talking about. We tried to go see the miniture model of Angkor Wat, which was right next to our hotel, but it was closed.

We had to wait around until 5:00 to get into the Angkor Wat Archeological Site to purchase tickets for the next 3 days and so we could get this afternoon and see the sunset. It was too cloudy for the sunset to be very beautiful, but just being there at sunset was exciting for us. We walked around the main temple of Angkor Wat for about an hour, then biked the 6 km back to our hotel.

Tomorrow will be a packed full day of Angkor temples. Be sure to check back later for a full slideshow of pictures. If you haven't already, Google Angkor Wat in the search engine on this blog and read more about this magnificent place. For those who have been to the Mayan ruins in Mexico, Angkor Wat makes Chitzen Itza look like child's play linkin logs.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cambodia - Day 2 Afternoon

One fat monkey. Would give Cloey a run for her money.

Jamie and I spent yesterday afternoon walking around Phnom Penh seeing some of the sites. I've added onto Cambodia 2008 - Eric and Cambodia 2008 - Jamie slideshow folders below. Feel free to browse and ask questions.

We tried going to the Royal Palace, but it was closed due to the national holiday. We'll try going there next Saturday when we return from Siem Reap. We then walked along the river side until we reached Phnom Wat, an arificial hill and the site of where the city was founded back in mid 1300's. They have built a pagoda on top an the hill that houses many Buddhist shrines. Monkeys, like the one above, surround the hill and are eager to be fed. Not surprisingly, more people are willing to pay for food and give to the monkeys than will pay for food and give to the numerous beggars near the pagoda.

We then went to the central market, where 1000s of people visit small little stores set up by locals. It has a domed structure on top of it and you walk around in circles to all of the different booths. It reminds me a large flea market back home.

Next was a westernized mall. Nothing special although there was a roller rink at the top that was cool to see as well as a spot where you can take pictures overlooking the city.

We then were exhausted so decided to eat along the riverfront. We couldn't find the place at which we really wanted to eat, so decided on a western place called The Jungle Room. It was decent.

The highlight of the day was definately the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum. We are a little disappointed that we didn't get into the Royal Palace, but we'll do that another time.

Enjoy the photos. I might try and add some captions later. We'll be leaving in a little while to ride a 5-6 hours bus to Siem Reap. We are supposed to have internet there. Stay tuned for 100s of pictures of Angkor Wat and Siem Reap.
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Cambodia - Killing Fields and Genocide Museum

Jamie and I had a very somber morning touring the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum. From 1975 to 1979 around the city of Phnom Penh, the country was taken over by a ultra communist government. During the Khmer Rouge regime, they slaughtered between 1 and 2.5 million men, women, and children of various occupations and social classes. A taxi took us 15 km south of the city to view the "Killing Fields." There we saw the holes of the mass graves and the large monument for those who died there. Inside the monument are the skulls of some of the people that were buried in the mass graves. After our visit to the Killing Fields, we went back into the city and visited the Genocide Museum. During the Khmer Rouge, it was converted from a school into a prison and torture chambers. The museum consists of 4 buidings and like the Killing Fields was very emotional. These 2 places are certainly ones we will never forget.

When viewing the pictures below, please beware. For us, it was education of the disaster of what humans can do to one another. The photos will show the places where children were slaughtered and people were tortured. I have taken the pictures of the human skulls, so just beware.

Hollywood did a moview back in 1984 and we purchased an awarding winning documentary.

I would say enjoy the photos but it is not something you enjoy. You only hope the world can learn from these tragic events and move on peacefully.

Let me know if you have any questions. There is a TON of information out there concerning the Killing Fields, Khmer Rouge, Tuol Sleng, and the Genocide Museum in Cambodia. Do some research.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cambodian Trip - Day #1

First of all, we've officially fallen in love with a new airline - Emirates. We were sitting in regular economy class (of course) and can't even imagine the luxuries that the business and first class passengers receive. We were first treated a hot towel before taking off. We then noticed that every seat has a small television on the headrest in the seat in front of you. No big deal because there are some US airlines which have those too. BUT, these offer a full menu of over 400 movies, television shows, and games which you can control with the half sky phone/half remote control. I played a little backgammon and some mini golf before watching some of the movie Iron Man. Jamie watched Friends episodes the whole trip. All of this is free with more leg room and the food was really tasty as far as airline food standards are concerned.

We took the Emirate flight out of Hong Kong on Friday evening at 10:30 and arrived just after 1:00 am in Bangkok, Thailand. Our flight for Phnom Penh, Cambodia was not scheduled to leave until 7:40 am on Saturday, so we have plenty of time to relax. Have you ever tried to relax in an airport? Impossible. We did, however, find the lounge area for Bangkok Airlines and we were able to find some couches to sleep in until about 6:00 am.

Our flight to Phnom Penh was not spectacular, but the breakfast was tasty. We filled out our forms for customs, visa application, and arrival card. The visa for Cambodia is only $20. You are supposed to have a passport size pictures, but they will wave that for $1. I did have my picture taken by some webcam. Jamie didn't. The driver of our guesthouse was waiting for us outside and quickly drove us to our guesthouse, Frangipani Villa.

We couldn't check in yet, so we decided to walk around the city for a while. I'm posted some pictures in a slideshow entitled "Cambodia 2008 - Eric" and Cambodia 2008 - Jamie." We both have cameras and it is just easier to upload from 2 different ones. Feel free to browse them and let me know if you have questions. I'm not sure I'll be able to place a caption on all of them. Not sure I'll place a caption on any of them right now. Nonetheless, enjoy the photos.

We walked around Independence Monument and then up by some shops near the Royal Palace. We couldn't get into the Royal Palace until the afternoon, so we decided to go to the Cambodian National Museum instead. It was nice and you could read more about it by searching than I could ever type here explaining it. I have taken several photos you can view below. Jamie has also taken some from her camera.

Driving in Phnom Penh. While it is a general rule that you drive on the right side of the road, this is just simply a "guideline." Phnom Penh drivers make Chinese drivers look like Drivers' Eductaion instructors. There is no public transportation, so just about everyone drives a motorcycle. Tourists are guided around by carraiges pulled by motorcycles. These are called "tuk tuks," and they are very useful. We have had some problems so far the drivers not being able to find our guesthouse, but they are all friendly. A tuk tuk ride across the city can be exciting as you will find yourself going the wrong way down one way streets, going down the wrong side of the road, making U-turns in the middle of traffic, and nearly getting nailed by larger vehicles at just about every turn. We were going to rent bicycles from our guesthouse, but riding them in this city would be a deathwish.

We rested in the afternoon and went to Khmer Surin for dinner. Jamie had a traditional Thai/Cambodian fish plate and I had pineapple chicken fried rice. We had "banana soup" for dessert which consisted of cooked bananas with sugar and coconut juice - yummy!

We have free internet here at our guesthouse which is good for posting these and emailing. We were going to watch the UT and UGA games, but the Slingbox is working really, really slow here. We might actually have to miss a game. Not to fear, we have them recorded and we can always watch them when we return back home or this week if we have a faster internet connection in Siem Reap.

One of the cooler pictures we took today is of the 5 different currencies we've used in the last 24 hours - Chinese RMB, Hong Kong dollar, Thai Baht, American dollar, and Cambodian Riel. Cambodia for the most part takes American dollars which has been odd for us considering we haven't used US dollars since we left Atlanta on July 30.

Long post I know, but it has been a busy day. Our plan tomorrow is to go the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields as well as the Royal Palace for a tour. We leave Monday to go to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.

Hope I haven't forgotten anything. Let me know if you have any questions or you can just leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!!!

Welcome to Cambodia!

We're here! After a long long journey, we've arrived in Phnom Pehn, the capital of Cambodia. We are exhausted because we haven't really slept in 34 hours, so we are resting this afternoon. I will post several pictures of what we've seen of Phnom Penh later as well as tell you all about our adventure thus far. I will tell you that Emirates Airlines is hands down the best airline in the world. I now know why our tickets were so expensive. I'll explain more about that later too. Hope all is well. You all are sound asleep. I'll post more tonight after I get some rest. Check back in the morning or midday for a full update.

Friday, September 26, 2008

We're Gone!

Last post until we get to Cambodia. Wish us luck! We'll be leaving at 10:35 tonight from Hong Kong, have a long layover in Bangkok of 7.5 hours, and then finally arrive in Phnom Penh at 8:30 ish. I'll post more when we get a chance. Not sure we'll be able to check into guesthouse immediately. Hopefully we won't have to lug our luggage around all day until check in. I think it is a rather informal place, so we'll be ok. I'm sure all will work out. Here is a map that will let you know where we are going.

Take care!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chinese Fire Drill

Ha! I crack myself up! We literally had 2 fire drills today at school. So now I can say that I have been involved in a real Chinese fire drill. Not just the one where you stop at a red light and everyone dance around the car and get back in before the light turns green. You couldn't do that in China anyway because you'd be drilled by some driver swerving in your lane.

Just thought it was funny. Have a great Thursday America!

Monday, September 22, 2008

7 Things...

I haven't posted in a while but things have really slowed down for us. It is about to pick up again in several areas though, so stay tuned. Here are 7 things that will catch you up:

1) We leave this weekend for Cambodia. Keep checking back for updates. They have plenty of Internet service and I'll be taking a million pictures particularly when we get to Angkor Wat next Tuesday.

2) We are finalizing our topics for our dissertations; and once finalized, we will be hitting that pretty hard to finish within about a year or so. It has been since January since we finished our comprehensive exams, but the move to China has slowed our work. We are settled enough now to seriously start working on it.

3) We are looking into shipping Griffey over here. Frankly, I really miss my dog and want him over here. It is doable but really expensive. I dare not post how much because people will think I'm crazy. Let's just say it would be cheaper for us to ship a human being over.

4) Our work is still great. Kids are settled in just as we are. We are winding down our first quintile and will do so the week after our first break. Kids have to pass with either an A or B so many are busy retesting, rewriting, and re-everythinging. I just made up a word.

5) Jamie and I are missing some food from home. We have already planned out where we will eat when we get off the plane next June. My goodness how we miss Zaxby's and Chik-fil-a!!! I, of course, miss Chilis and their southwestern egg rolls. Good ol milk sounds good right now with some pinto beans and cornbread. Yummy! We'll stick to eating rice, chicken, pork, meat, and veggies.

6) We had 2 packages sent from home on August 21/22. They have not arrived. It says they were attempted to be delievered and they are in some sorting center in China. That's nice. China is a large country with 1.3 billion people. We are convinced that our packages are in Mongolia and they are enjoying our DVDs. We figure either we'll get these packages sometime in the next month or they will be sent back to the states.

7) We've learned a new term. TIC = This is China. Most of the time, this will be the answer when you question why something is the way it is. TIC explains everything yet doesn't explain anything. Go figure...

That's about it! Number of hits to the website have gone down and I have had a follower sign up in about a week. We are up to 22 now, so if you are reading this and have not signed up to be a follower, please do. Take care... Go Vols!!! and for this week, Go Dawgs!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Well, my beloved Vols lost a big one today. I was watching at 3:30 in the morning and it seemed over before the first quarter ended. UT played at Cal and lost last year, then was blown out by Florida and still managed to go to SEC Championship game. So, you never know. We'll see. I'll keep rooting and watching them from across the world. Jamie and I will actually be in Cambodia or on a plane for UT and UGA's next 2 games. Depending on what we are doing, we'll sign into Slingbox and watch from our hotel rooms. At least some of the game. God Bless the Internet and Slingbox.

Well, Jamie and I are off to grab some breakfast before UGA plays Arizona State. We have less than a week for Cambodia and we are still really excited. Things are settling down at work and we can finally see from beneath the seemingly insurmountable amount of work that was before us just 2 weeks ago.

Have a great evening!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Karaoke Night Out

Jamie and I met some co-workers from school at a Chinese restaurant and had some Beijing duck that was delicious. It came with a great sauce, come sliced cucumbers, and a wrap of some sort. Afterwards, we all decided to go to a Karaoke bar near Sea World. You go upstairs and they put you in a private room so you can jam your favorite songs. We chose all American songs, but I was able to go around to the other rooms that were singing all Chinese songs. They were jammin just the same to Chinese pop songs. Of course, I have no idea what they were saying, but it was funny to see and hear nonetheless. We sang about 20 or so tunes ranging from Welcome to the Jungle to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and "Thriller." I think that "Walk Like an Egyptian" was also on the playlist. Fun times were had by all.

We are going to relax tomorrow and might actually start on our dissertations. Shocking I know! For some reason, you can't finish one of those without actually starting it. We thought of going to Windows of the World, but there will be plenty of opportunities for that. I am anxious to see it though. No pictures tonight and I'm sure my co-workers appreciate that I did not have my camera with me tonight.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

International Peace One Day

For just one day a year (not sure why it can't be all year) the world observes Peace One Day. QSI Shekou is observing Peace One Day. Each teach is doing something in their classes to at least mention it and then figure out a way to observe it. After my students' writing prompt assessment, I am introducing Peace One Day, (ironically, the students know more about it than I do because it is not observed in the states) then I am showing them a couple of YouTube videos that explain it. There is also a music video. I'm posting all of them below.

Peace One Day (You Tube Video Explaining Peace One Day):

Peace One Day (You Tube Video - Imagine If There Was a Day):
Peace One Day (You tube Music Video - One Day One Goal):

Teachers reading this might want to mention it tomorrow in your classrooms. There are a ton of materials online reached by a simple Google search. You can use my Google search if you wish to make it easier.

Jamie and I will be relaxing this weekend and watch some college football games on early Sunday morning. Not sure what we are doing Saturday. We might go to Windows of the World if the weather is nice. It is cooling down here, but still very very muggy. We haven't had a clear day of none haze/smog in over 2 weeks. They say that is the norm here. Oh well.

We have booked our hotel for Phnom Penh. I am happy about it and they act as our travel guide while we are there. We are staying at the
Frangipani Villa in Phnom Penh From there, we'll take a boat/ferry to Siem Reap and stay at a guesthouse there. Then, we'll travel back to Phnom Penh for our flight back to Hong Kong. I'm really excited about going to Angkor Wat. For those who haven't done their homework on Angkor Wat, here is the wikipedia page on it... Angkor Wat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sushi with Suji and Company

After one of our wonderful faculty meetings today, Jamie and I went with Mike and Suji to eat Sushi. It was actually the first time I have ever eaten at a sushi place. I have eaten pieces of sushi before, but this one had a carousel that paraded the dishes in front of you. Jamie and I chose about 8 plates (there are usually only 2 pieces of sushi per plate, so don't think we are pigs) and everything was delicious! It can be a bit pricey, but it was at the local mall and everything in that mall is way overpriced. It was worth it nonetheless.

We had 3 people join to be a follower today, so welcome to the blog. I hope those who have signed up to follow will do so on a regular basis. I personally believe you should check it at least 10 times per day and re-read the posts. Do I have to start giving quizzes? Perhaps that will help.

Classes are still going well and we have definately settled into a groove. Next week, we have 2 standardized assessments to give our Reading and Language Arts classes. Poor kids. The kids are still really well behaved, but have started to get a little rowdy in the times of lunch and between classes. Typical 7th grade rowdiness. Once the class starts, they are mostly on target and doing their work. There have only been about 3 classes in my 8 years of teaching where I could leave the room or sit at my desk and know that all of the students were doing their work. All of my classes except for 1 are like that and in that 1 class, only about 2 students struggle because of the language.

Mock trial is getting better as the students are learning the vocabulary and court procedures. I am turning one of my classes loose on a civil case I designed and used with my freshman civics students last year. I think these 12 year olds will probably do better, but we'll see. Baby steps.

I am sponsoring the Middle School Student Council and we are holding elections next week. Tomorrow, the students running for President, Vice President, and Secretary are giving small speeches to the entire middle school. Some have already started campaigning and trying to garner votes. They are promising exciting socials. Some, like many politicians in the U.S, are trying to promise the world to get elected, i.e. no homework, longer recess, etc.

Jamie and I are really enjoying our weekends and are waiting for the weather to continue to cool down so we can go hiking around some of the small islands in Hong Kong. On Lantau Island, there is the world's largest Buddha statue at the top of its peak. That'll be a site. We leave for Cambodia on September 26th and can't wait!!! I still have to book some hotel rooms for us, but that won't be a problem. Even some of the nicer ones are only $50 per night.

About all for now. I hope you all are enjoying the Whack-a-Gator as much as I have. Take care and have a good day. I hope you have a better day today than the stock market did yesterday. Yikes!

It's Florida Week, so Whack-a-Gator

My beloved UT Vols play Florida this weekend. In honor of this excellent rivalry, our friends at The Tennessean in Nashville have provided us with a little game of Whack-a-Gator. Please feel free to click Whack-a-Gator and smack them around as much as possible. Comment below on your best score! The entire country outside of Gainesville, FL will enjoy this game. So far, 45 is the best I can do.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Moon Festival

Just another day at the grind. After school today, Jamie and I immediately went to go work out. While Jamie was running, I braved playing ping pong with a Chinese national. We didn't really keep score, but I held my own against him. He asked how long I'd been playing ping pong. I said a long time, but only about 2 times per year. I told him that gyms in US don't have ping pong table. He's actually lived in San Jose, CA for a little while but was from Beijing.

After working out, we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Red Lantern. It has become a Monday tradition and we always get broccoli, rice, and paprika chicken with vegetables. It is quite good. Jamie had a migraine so left early from the restaurant. She still has it, so be thinking of her.

This weekend was the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival. I would tell you all about it, but you can read up on it at the link above. Shekou did celebrate and they strung out sky red lanterns along Sea World. We went to bed early last night, but I think there were fireworks. We were tired from staying up watching college football all weekend.

About it, we are still booked to go to Cambodia. I'll book some sort of accommodations this week sometime. Will tell you more when I know more...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

2008 International Brunch

Today, Jamie and I participated in the International Brunch at QSI Shekou. Basically, this is a time where all the administration, faculty, students, and parents celebrate each others' heritages by preparing a native food and dressing in native dress. As you can see from the photo slideshow below, the United States does not have any cool native dress, so most Americans just dressed up in crazy red,white, and blue attire. Jamie had on her tailgating outfit of a red skirt, black shirt, and freshly painted red toes. I decided to go with my UT polo and jeans. What's more American than that? Jamie made her Southern caviar, and it turned out great! Cost us a small fortune to make it, but all is well. We had to go to a special American only store for dijon mustard, Fritos, and black eyed peas and the cost of those items are at least triple the amount. The 2 bags of Fritos alone cost us $10.00. We had quite a bit left over, so we'll be eating Southern Caviar for quite some time.

The photos tell the story somewhat. Each nation had their own table or tables. The largest tables of the day were the American tables, South Korean (who had their own room), the Brazilian table, and the Japanese table. The Japanese food was by far the most popular as most of it was eaten within the first hour. Jamie and I spent out time tasting just about every table and nation, although we certainly didn't each because they were either already eaten and there was just too many. QSI Shekou has students from 46 nations! The Brazilians are a lively bunch and the Japanese really decked out in their native dress. You can see from the pictures that it was an amazing event.

Food that we tried: we are not sure the name of most of it nor can we remember. I do remember dried bull tongue. It tasted just like beef jerky. The Indian food was delicious as was Isreali and Malaysian food. The South Korean/Chinese/Hong Kong/Tiawan room smelled just like my classroom does at lunch, mainly of Kimchi and Guksu. All of the Korean boys have taken to my room during lunch to eat for some reason.

Jamie and I had a nice relaxing day of laundry and watching TV and resting up for tonight. UT plays at 12:30 am here on Yahoo Sports and UGA starts at 3:30 am on CBS. We'll go to the school to meet some people at 8:00 am to watch the USC/Ohio State game. Fanatics? Perhaps, but we'd be doing the same thing just different time of day back home.

Have a great day and check out the photo album below for pictures of the International Brunch.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Best of Worst of Cities

I found an article on the front page of Yahoo this afternoon and thought I'd share it with you. I like seeing these polls and then evaluating them based on what I've seen in these cities. Would love to hear your comments concerning this. The Yahoo article summarizes a poll conducted by Travel and Leisure magazine of America's Favorite Cities. Some interesting data that you can check out at "Travel and Leisure: America's Favorite Cities." Anyway, just thought I'd share.

I am recording Palin's interview on ABC tonight with Charles Gibson. CNN released a peak at some of her answers concerning Russia, NATO, and Georgia. I think it comes on at 10:00 est if you want to check it out. I'm not going to get all political on here, but you are more than likely to share your views in the comments section.


Well, we are up to 17 followers. If you are reading this and haven't signed up to be a Follower, please do so. No incentive for me or you. Just nice to know. Thanks for those who have signed up so far. Goal is still 50. Have not set a date for goal to be reached. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Gym Experience

Jamie and I went to the gym last night for the first time. It is a very nice place, but a bit odd because it is on the same floor as the grocery store A. Best. China does the best it can with its' space in large cities. Anyway, we worked out but were followed by one of the workers. We are still quite a novelty here (much like Palin), so the staff was interested in how we would act. One staff member, Sky, talked to us the most because he knew a little English. Enough to ask me if Jamie was my wife and then tell her she was beautiful. He only told me that I had a big belly. He said, "arms, ok, chest, ok, belly, big." He was nice and helpful nonetheless, and I didn't mention that I had lost 10 pounds since arriving in China 6 weeks ago.

Jamie fixed some delicious friend rice with veggies and we watched the new tv show Fringe. Pretty decent show on Fox.

Itunes does work over here and we are able to download music, tv shows, and movies, so that is cool.

All for now, just a quick note before lunch. Take care and leave some comments or email me.

Open House and Cambodia

QSI Shekou had their Open House last night from 7 - 9 pm. The schedule was a bit strange, but it was a pretty quick evening. I would say about one-third of the parents Jamie and I teach showed up. We didn't get to speak to all of them, but the ones that came seemed very supportive. Some were very adament about things while others were just glad their child was in school at QSI. Or week has continued and things begin to pile up around us concerning grades, Reading Tests (which we've heard of nor administered but are obviously supposed to master and give to the students), and extra-curriculuar duties. I have plunged into the middle school Student Council and had 60 students sign up to be officers. There is only enough room for 12 positions.

The picture above was taken last week and I have uploaded a new folder for stay at the bottom of the blog. I've simply titled it QSI Shekou 2008-2009 and plan to place pictures of our school, students, and activities from this year. I have already uploaded our classrooms on there. Most are without students.

The International Lunch is this weekend. It is a HUGE event at QSI as parents and students come dressed in their home country's dress. I will take a ton of pictures. The faculty must make a native meal. I believe Jamie is going to take Texas caviar which she is renaming Southern cavier. I'll get the recipe for you of what all is in it. It is a chip dip of some sort and it is awesome. Some other Americans are bringing Beenie Weenies, Rice Crispy Treats, and I'm sure Hot Dogs. We also must dress "American." I think Jamie is going to wear her tailgating attire. I'm not sure what I'll do yet. If you have any suggestions, I will entertain them. I guess I could go as an Appalachian American. Some may refer to this as "hillbilly."

We've officially booked our flight for Cambodia at the end of the month. More details to come on this later and my new camera can't wait to go. We'll be flying to Phnom Penh (the capital of Cambodia) via a red-eye flight from Hong Kong and Bangkok. We'll then take either an 8 hour bus ride to Siem Reap or take a 4 hour boat ride to Siem Reap. We would fly, but the tickets from Hong Kong are already running us a fortune. The main spectacle of the trip will be Angkor Wat. I'll be posting some information concerning this wonderful place, because everyone I have talked to hasn't even heard of it. I'll invite you to do some research on your own. A simple Wikipedia search would be the best bet. Here, I'll do it for you: Angkor Wat. Gorgeous isn't it!

I'll share more information with you later on our specific details of the trip. We hope to make it to the end of the month. We are putting in about 10 - 12 hours days of constant non-stop work here. Typical teacher hours and typical first of the year teacher duties.

Enough for now. Let me know if you have any questions. I've received a couple of emails about our newspaper article in the Daily Post Athenian. We'd like to thank Richard Edwards for the wonderful article and opportunity to share our story. Also thanks to my parents for sending us an electronic version of the story.

Have a great Wednesday America!
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Monday, September 8, 2008

Thriller, Beat It, and other good stuff...

After eating at our favorite Chinese restaurant across the street, Jamie and I spent the evening watching Michael Jackson videos off of YouTube. Thiller, Beat It, Bad, Billie Jean, Black or White. If you haven't see the Lego Thriller version, it is a must see! I can't seem to get it to upload onto my post here, but you can click the link above. Someone has way too much time on their hands. Of course, you may say the same about us for watching them.

We have Open House tonight at the middle school. Supposedly, several parents show up. Unlike other jobs I've had, we are not there for 4 hours; this one only lasts 2 hours. My room is pretty much ready. I'll try and take my camera in for some pictures today and get them posted for you.

The weather is getting a bit cooler here and has dropped a few degrees on average. This is good because it means we'll be able to actually get out during the day more without thinking we've gone on a trip to Mercury. I would've said the Sun, but come on, who could go to the Sun, you'd be killed!

I think the article on Jamie and I come out in the paper today back home in Athens, Tennessee. Thanks to Richard Edwards for writing it. We look forward to seeing how it turned out.

Have a great evening America watching MNF! My fantasy league team was awful this week, so maybe yours will be better.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Joining the Chinese Gym

Jamie and I are now members of the Qing Qing Gym here in Shekou. Excellent facilities that would compare easily to Gold's Gym in the states. Not quite as big, but it is a steal for only $11 per month. We paid up for the year, they added 2 free months and we are good to go. So, despite losing about 12 pounds since I got here, I'm going to try and shed a few more. Jamie believes she too has lost weight and is excited about the gym's hot yoga classes (they call them "warm tempurature yoga"). We were doing pretty good back home about going to the gym and before this new one opened up, Shekou didn't really have a nice gym. This one is about a 10 minute walk from the apartment and will be perfect if we end up moving schools in February; however, the outlook on that is not good. Wanted to check in. Have a great evening America!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nikon D60 = Sweet!

It's been a busy 24 hours for us. After school on Friday, Jamie and I stayed after to get some work done. We then went immediately to a co-workers apartment for some fellowship. We stated for a couple of hours and then I went to play poker. Ended up doing pretty well.

Saturday morning we decided to take a different route to Hong Kong. To make an extremely long and complicated story short, we took a cab for about $3, a bus for $3, a metro line for $3, and another metro line for $1. Total time of the trip, including going through customs ended up being about 2 hours. It only takes about 45 minutes to go via the ferry. Now, we went at the busiest time period and went as a large crowd, so that slowed us down. I think we might go this way more because it is so much cheaper, especially if you can split the cab ride. The picture above is at the customs crossing from Hong Kong and China. I once again got in trouble for using my camera. Turned out pretty good though.

We decided to go ahead the try and get the camera that I wanted. I had done my research and was prepared for what I thought might be a decent deal. Not really any to be found, but I did decide on the Nikon D60, which is a DSLR camera. So far, I love it! Came with a nifty bag and I'm charging it now so it'll be ready to go! I am excited about taking it on the trip to Cambodia at the end of the month.

Jamie and I found an English bookstore where we spent entirely too much money, but it was well worth it. We also found the Hard Rock Cafe and I've put some pictures in the Hong Kong slideshow below of it. Not too many though. Hong Kong was rainly and cloudy today, so pictures were somewhat out of the question.

We rode the Star Ferry across the bay from Kowloon to Hong Kong central. What is neat about this little 10 minute ride is that you get to see the entire Hong Kong skyline on one side of the ferry and the entire Kowloon skyline on the other side. Once again, no pictures because it was getting dark plus it was cloudy. I'll get some great ones on a clear day.

We have come back and collapsed for the evening. Jamie had thought about going for a massage, but she has turned in instead. The massages here are semi ful body and they really concentrate on your feet. Massage lasts about 45 minutes and total cost I believe is around $7. I don't let people touch my feet, so I'm not going to do it although Jamie is trying to talk me into it. We'll see.

Sorry for the short post. Sure does seem like we saw and did quite a bit today yet I have said much. A little birdy told me I should talk more about school and my students and the differences some of the issues I face with that. I think I will start doing that and fill you all in what Jamie and I deal with every day.

All for now, I'm loving my new camera, books, and adventure into Kowloon! Great day. Trying to find the Bulldogs on the internet, but having difficulty finding a radio feed.

Don't forget!!! Become a follower of the blog by clicking the link at the upper right hand corner. Also, if you are just joining our little party here, please feel free to browse the pictures at the bottom of the page as well as the archives to the right. I post every day, I think so far, and try to make it entertaining. You can comment on that too at the bottom of each post.

Thanks for reading!
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Hard Rock Cafe Hong Kong

This one is for you Melania Floyd! Jamie is seen here drinking an Alabama Slammer. I refused to drink it thinking it would dull my senses and intellect. We were at Hard Rock Cafe in Hong Kong. Good old Western food of chicken wings, grilled chicken salad, and a hamburger and fries. This meal, unlike the ones in China, did not cost us $1.20.
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Shout Out for the Bumpshack

This one is for all the former Bumpshackers. We found this little journal type thing a rather large ENGLISH bookstore in Hong Kong (Kowloon). Thought Holmes would like it. I got in trouble for taking it in the bookstore, but they didn't slam my camera into the wall so I guess its ok. Second time today I was asked not to take pictures of something.
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He's Gonna Get Tough, Just You Wait and See

This one is for dear ol' dad! Jamie found this in Kowloon today while we were walking around. The Chinese seem to like American cartoons as we see them everywhere over here on T-shirts and stuff. Enjoy!
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bones Season Premier

Great new season of Bones premiered last night. Jamie and I are huge Bones fans and used Slingbox to record the 2 hour episode. We watched it as soon as we returned from school. Jamie fixed a great dinner tonight of fried rice, chicken, snap peas, baby corn, carrots, and bell pepper. It was yummy! Amazingly, the cost of this was probably 3 times as much as if we were to go out and eat the same thing. Cooking in is nice though and we have left overs. Not sure about going to Kowloon this weekend as it is supposed to rain but we'll see. Not much news. Kids are still doing well and the week has flown by quite nicely. We are settling into our groove of classes and were actually able to leave on time today. Of course, we are still getting there any time between 6:30 and 7:00 each morning.

We joined a new gym down the road. They gave a great group discount for the teachers, so we are only paying around $12 per month each. My side and back are still bruised, so I'll go check it out and probably just walk or something. Still hurts to run but I can now at least sleep on my right side. Our prediction of losing weight has not really come true. I probably lost some the first couple of weeks, but the food is great, plenty of it, and its cheap. Dangerous combination. Maybe the gym will keep us in shape.

All the news for tonight. We listened to Palin's speech online, and we have too many Republican friends to tell you how we really feel. Nonetheless, she gave a good speech. That is all I'm saying about it.

Don't forget to sign up to be a follower. Just put your name in there, but a picture would be nice. Congrats to my parents, Charles and Jewel, for becoming the first followers! Well, I was my own follower, but I wanted to see how it worked. I hardly ever check and see how the site looks anyhow. I took those world clocks, national geographic pics of the day, and other things off because I thought they weren't working. If they were in the states and you like them, let me know and I can put them back on.

Ok, all for now I promise. Sign up for followers and I'll be happy!

Drink the Kool Aid!

As a way to keep tabs on the people reading this blog and support Big Brother policy, I have added Blogspot's newest feature to our site. You'll find it at the top right corner of the screen. It's simply a way of seeing who is reading. Most of you email me anyway with comments and such. I have an early goal of 50 followers although that might be "pie in the sky." We'll see. So, if you are reading this now, go ahead and find the Followers tab at the top of the screen and follow the instructions. Go ahead, Drink the Kool Aid! Drink it! Drink it Now!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Busy Busy

Jamie and I are teaching away! Sorry I haven't posted in more than 24 hours. We were exhausted yesterday and went to bed at 8:00. I guess the weekend caught up to us. It is Wednesday morning here, and we are ready for the weekend. I think we are going back onto the ferry but taking a trip to Kowloon. Kowloon is a city right across the bay from Hong Kong. I should be able to take some great pictures of the Hong Kong skyline. We've been told to go to Kowloon for electronics and English books. I'm still looking for a camera and think I might can find one there. I might also buy a projector for my classroom/Slingbox. The connection here for the Slingbox is too choppy. Not sure why because the connection is 10 times faster than that at our apartment. I had to choppily watch my Vols lose to a team they should've beat by a million. That's the way the football bounces (get it, footballs bounce crazy ways because of their funny shape. If you don't get it, please see the picture of the football above). Illustrations are always best.

We are awaiting the arrival of packages that Kathy has sent us. They say that they have been attempted to deliver, which makes no sense considering there is someone at the front desk of the school 24 hours per day. Our principal has told us to give detailed instructions to the Chinese workers at the school and have them go find it. We've learned the Chinese post office isn't very reliable.

Well, that is about it. Classes are going well and it seems to have settled down a little bit. Gary and Kathy are officially coming to China now! They've booked their tickets are coming at the end of January for Chinese New Year. Pretty cool!

Have a great night America!

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