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"



Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Meal

Today was a great day as I had my computer fixed, upgraded to 4 GB of RAM for a great price, and wireless installed in our apartment. Sweet! Anyone who wants to sign up with Skype can now get a free tour around our apartment as we can show you around now instead of 3 feet away from the couch.

We also had our Thanksgiving meal with QSI tonight. It was successful and Jamie and I brought a pot of green beans that turned out delicious. The school ordered 18 full turkeys and had one sitting at every table. We bought some wine and brought it and enjoyed the buffet side dishes, turkey, and deserts. Someone even had the presence of mind to show a recording of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade on the projector.

I'm still up at midnight waiting for the UGA/GA Tech game to start.

It is just about official as my beloved Vols have hired Lane Kiffin to be their next head coach. Mixed feelings on this hire, but I think it is a decent hire. Might be a gamble, but I think it'll bring some new energy to a rather depleted UT team and fanbase. I'm still hoping that UT can continue their 23 year winning streak against Kentucky today.

As for Thailand, we are hoping the protestors will move out of the Bangkok airport by December 12. All signs point to that they will. I will be one unhappy camper if they do not. We are convincedi it is safe for anyone wondering, but we'll be careful. They aren't targeting westerners or anything, but they just really do not like their prime minister. We'll should be fine and it'll be a wonderful vacation. See a few previous posts for a detailed itinerary of our upcoming trip.

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with their family and friends. Ours was just another day, but we did get a little taste of it tonight. Sigh...

I know I've slowed down considerably posting on here, but there isn't that much news. There will be plenty for me to type and post when we go to Thailand, so please check back then. I love comments, so keep them coming. Take care everyone!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Booked! Thailand here we come!

Our trip to Thailand has been booked completely with the exception of some train tickets and bus tickets we'll buy once we get there. Here is a quick look at our itinerary...

Friday December 12 - leave at 11:30 pm on Air Asia from Shenzhen airport in China and arrive in Bangkok, Thailand around 1:30 am early Saturday morning. We'll take a cab to Suk11 hostel and stay there for the 5 nights we'll be in Bangkok.

Wednesday December 16 - we'll get up and check out of Suk11 and hang around Bangkok until an 10:00 pm overnight train leaves from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. We'll arrive Thursday morning in Chiang Mai and check in to a place called the Green Tulip hostel.

December 21 - we'll take another overnight train from Chiang Mai back to Bangkok arriving in the morning on December 22. We'll then hop on a bus which will take us on about a 5 hour ride to Trat, Thailand where we'll hop on a ferry boat to take us to Koh Chang island checking in at the Magic Resort on the island.

December 22 - December 29 = we'll hang out on a double bungalow on the beach at the Magic Resort for 7 wonderful nights.

December 29 - take the 5 hour bus back from Koh Chang to Bangkok and catch an afternoon flight back to Shenzhen airport in China arriving around 9:00 pm. Cab back to our apartment in Shekou.

We're excited! I've included links to all of the places we're staying as well as the wikitravel pages for the cities and island we'll be be traveling to. Check out the links and make sure you check back sometime after December 12 to see some pictures and blogging about our trip.

Until then, we have to wrap up this quintile of school. Both of us are finishing our units in all of our classes with the students. They are quite wound up yet, but they are getting there. I'm sure the next couple of weeks will be a doozy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Macau - Birthday Celebration

Here is a picture from our hotel, Pousada de Coloana, in Macau. We arrived here Friday night by ferry from Shekou. It took us about an hour on the ferry. We were told that we could save some money by taking a free shuttle to the Venetian hotel, then taking a taxi to our hotel. It did help, but it took us about an hour longer to get here. First time going places can be a drag as you don't know where you are going.

We just ate at the hotel restaurant Friday night. Jamie had what was basically vegetable soup with chicken (bone, skin, and all) while I had the duck with rice Portuguese style. It was quite yummy.

Saturday morning, we decided to hang out in Coloane, a small little village where our hotel is located and the furthest south of the Macau islands. The most famous feature of this little village is Lord Stowe's Bakery, which is the home of the famous Portuguese egg tart. They were delicious! Jamie and I will go back there again on Sunday morning just to have some of those. We walked around the village and even played on some pretty cool playground equipment. You can check out our photos down below, or check out out our Google photo page HERE.

We napped for a bit afterwards and then took the bus into Cotai Strip (the little piece of reclaimed land between Macau and Coloane islands that has been transferred into nothing but huge fancy casino hotels including the Venetian). We ate at the famous Fat Burger for a snack and then saw the Cirque de Soleil show "Zaia". Here is the link to the show's website. From there you can see pictures of the Venetian hotel and casion too. Pretty amazing. It is now the largest hotel in the world.

The Zaia performance was simply amazing. The theater itself took 3 years to build and had a price tag of $150 million. There are 75 stage hands and 115 performers for every show from 7 different nationalities. The entire performance is sung to a made up language that derives from Hindi phonemes. There are over 1500 hand made costumes and the performers each spend 1 - 2 hours putting on their make up for each performance. The large globe in the center moves on 3 axes and weighs 4000 pounds. The show itself is an odd tale of girl's desire to be an astronaut who ends up faling in love as she travels the world. We both thought the story was a stretch but each scene, 10 total, was simply spectacular! The Venetian Macau Theater is the only place in the world to see the performance, which is a shame considering that there won't be too many westerners that will be able to see it.

Tomorrow, we'll spend some time walking around downtown Macau and seeing some temples. Casinos are the draw to this island, but there is quite a bit to do here other than gamble. The gambling at the Venetian was twice the table limits as there is in Vegas, so we didn't even attempt. We ended our evening by going to the Blue Frog Bar and Grill inside the Venetian. It was western food and quite delicious.

We hope everyone back home is enjoying the weekend as much as we are. I plan on trying to stay up for the UT "upset" (good grief) of Vanderbilt. UGA is off, so I'm sure as I am typing this now at 9:30, Jamie is already asleep. Good night!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Jamie!

Today is Jamie's birthday. I won't divulge how old she is, but she was born in 1981. She actually received a gift from a couple of girls she teaches. They are very sweet. I didn't receive anything for my birthday despite my constant prodding and hints that all I wanted was a block of some cheddar cheese. Maybe we'll receive "winter break/Christmas" presents of cheddar cheese.

Using our birthday money from each other, parents, and grandparents, we are going to Macau island this weekend. We are staying at Pousada de Coloane for 2 nights and going to see Zaia Cirque de Soleil performance at the Venetian Hotel and Casino. We have been excited about this trip for some time now. We've heard from colleagues that is it amazing.

We are both ready for winter break and our trip to Thailand. We will miss family and friends during the holidays but we are trying to keep ourselves busy in Thailand. I know it sounds great and all, but both of us have never been away from home for the holidays. I was once gone for Easter in college because I went to Chicago to watch Michael Jordan play. My mom gave me a guilt trip for years about it. But really? How many other people can say they saw Jordan play in the United Center. One of the highlights of my life actually. Not sure if it is that special or I am that sad. I have other highlights that have topped it, so I guess I'm not that sad.

I'm babbling, but be sure to check out the links above and check out the places we'll be staying and seeing in Macau. We are excited and it should be a good trip.

Everyone email Jamie and tell her Happy Birthday. She is on Facebook now and checks it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Seymore's First Tatoo

Here is a picture of Seymore's first tatoo. We had trouble finding a good ink marker to use so we are a little late doing this. Actually, Seymore was scared of the tatooing process and told me not to share his fear with anyone. He tries to act all big and bad sometimes. He'll get another tatoo when we go to Macau this next weekend and definately get one when we go to Thailand over winter break. I'll try and post new pictures of his tatoos as he gets them.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mental School, I mean Middle, Music Social

Tonight was the QSI Middle School "Music Social." It was really a dance, but if you call it a dance, kids won't show up or dance. They all knew it, but it certainly sounded better. We had Hypa-thermia perform. Hypa-thermia is our very own middle school rock band made up of 4 middle school girls. Despite some sound troubles with the mics, they did a really really good job. DJing the event was a 13 year old middle school student who did as well as any professional night club DJ in Atlanta. I was impressed with his music selection.

The student council sponsored the event, and as sponsor, I had to help oversee things. All in all, it was a fun night. You can see some pictures at the bottom in the slideshow section.

Also, I've added some pictures to the Hong Kong album. Not much, but there are some night pictures of the city.

I worked today on transferring all of my pictures on my computer through the last 4 years onto Google Photos. I transferred over 2800 pictures and have them separated by albums. The photos include everything from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Savannah, Georgia. Some personal pictures of family Christmas's are in there too. Feel free to check them out as for now, I've made all of the public. I am actually in the process of clearing some room on my computer, so I'm transferring some things around and placing them online as well on CD's.

You can view all of the albums HERE at my Google Photo Homepage.

I've been busy the last two days booking 2 separate trips that Jamie and I have upcoming.

Next weekend, we are going to Macau to see the Cirque de Solei performance of Zaia at the Venetian Casino in Macau. We are staying at a nice little hotel in Macau which came highly recommended. We are leaving Friday right after school and will return on Sunday. From what we've heard, the show is amazing. I'll be sure to post some pictures of Macau as well as tell you about the show next Sunday. So check back.

From December 15 - 29, Jamie and I will be traveling through Thailand. We are flying into Bangkok and staying at a nice little hostel called Suk11. Feel free to Google search it. We aren't exactly sure of our plans yet, but we are thinking of making a trip to Chang Mai to see the famous temples and elephant reserve as well as Koh Chang island for some beach relaxation. Nothing is set in stone yet and our trip will probably include long bus rides, ferry rides, and train rides. Fun! Over the holidays, you can check the blog as I will be trying to update our travels in Thailand. I'm sure Internet connection will be available somewhere.

Hope all is well with everyone back in America. Other than Facebook, I haven't heard from anyone via email in a while. Feel free to drop me a note.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Professionally Developed

Jamie and I have been professionally developed the last couple of days. All of the QSI schools in southeast Asia (10 total) met in Shekou the last 3 days for professional development concerning assessment. The main guest speaker was Bambi Betts who travels to international schools giving seminars in assessment. There were breakout sessions led by many of the staff on all sorts of assessment topics and then job-alike sessions by grade and subject level. Jamie and I led a job-alike session on middle school cultural studies.

It was certainly a very well organized event and one of the better staff development days I have experienced. Most of it was very applicable to the classroom and something we could immediately use. It seems as though staff development back home is not geared toward immediate use or it is designed to shove a particular program or design at the teachers and train them on it for 2 days which should actually take 2 weeks.

So, we'll only have a 3 day week with the students starting tomorrow.

We booked our flight to Thailand for winter break. We'll be traveling to Bangkok on December 15 and leaving out of Bangkok on December 29. In the meantime, we'll travel around the Bangkok area and probably hit the beach for about a week. We are not exactly sure our destinations. Be sure to check the blog around that time as we will be seeing snapping pictures left and right to share with you all.

We hope all is well with everyone back home. I haven't heard from some of you in a while. Take care...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Random Pictures

I think the translator for the apartment complex had the day off because this is some pretty bad translation. You might have to zoom in to see actual writing. Pretty funny though.

I've added some pictures below from Jamie's Trip to the Fabric Store, Halloween, Election Day, and Poetry Reading.

Jamie's Trip to the Fabric Store - she'll tell you about it, but her and some co-workers went to a fabric store. It was also the same day I had my trouble with buying the TV and the Chinese ATM. Some of the pictures on here won't mean much without explanation. I'll try and get her to put some captions on there.

Halloween - some on here are in Hong Kong at the Hard Rock Cafe. The remainder of them are around here in Shekou on Halloween night.

Election Day - these show us coloring our pictures of our Electoral Maps, a tradition that I have done every election day since 2000.

Poetry Reading - our Reading/Language Arts students wrote poems and we decided to have a Poetry Reading with the 3 classes - about 30 kids total.

Let me know if you have any questions on these. As always, you can go to our Google Photo's page and see ALL of the pictures we've taken since we've been in China as well as the ones in Cambodia.

See if this link works... Eric and Jamie Google Photo Gallery

There, you can make comments and zoom in on the pictures more than what you can if you view them from the bottom. I'll move this link to the top of the page in our information section so it'll be a fast link.

Enjoy the new photos. Not much has happened here, but we'll be taking tons of pictures over winter break wherever we decided to go.
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Chinese Cut

I'm not sure whether I've gone over this or not, but over here Chinese cut has an old meaning.

Remember when you were kids standing in the lunch line and you'd always let your friends "Chinese cut." You don't? Well, let me educate...

In line, one of your friends is late getting to the lunch line; so they ask if they can "Chinese cut," which means that you let them cut in front of you, and they in turn then just let you cut back in front of them. For all technical purposes, this was perfectly legal in most school line across the country. Sure, you'd have some kid shout "Hey, you can't Chinese cut!" but then all you'd have to do is tell them they were a snitch or a rat and they'd be quiet.

The American "Chinese cut" is very different than the Chinese version. Here is a story that has happened now so many times, I care to stop counting.

We'll be waiting in line at just about anywhere (WalMart, McDonald's, Park n Shop, KFC) and suddenly someone just simply cuts in line in front of us and orders.

That, my friends (to take a line from McCain), is the Chinese version of Chinese cutting.

Yes, it is a matter of culture, and it is getting better with each generation. Look for older people to cut line at just about any time as younger generations are learning more western culture of politeness.

I imagine New York City utilizing the Chinese Chinese cut, but where we are from in the South, it just doesn't happen.

Leave me a comment if you'd like concerning your thoughts on Chinese cutting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Parent-Teacher Conferences - International Flavor

We had a long day today of watching the election results, breathing a sigh of relief, and then settling down for almost 5 hours of parent-teacher conferences. I actually only met with 4 parents and Jamie about the same, but we were at school until 8:45 pm.

Interestingly, some parents do not speak English, so translators must be involved. This is usually not a problem and was not for me tonight. I believe some teachers didn't have a translator, so they had to reschedule. I had one conference where the parent understood about 40% of what I was saying but had a someone there with her to translate into Chinese. It went quite well.

My next conference was double translation. I spoke English to one person who then translated it into Chinese and then someone else translated that into Korean. I'm sure by the time the Korean parent heard it, it sounded something like "Your student is an excellent student!" to "You're mule is a stinky fish face!" Such are the joys of teaching in an international setting. Very interesting though.

Tomorrow, the student have half day, but we then have more parent teacher conferences from 1:00 to 8:45, yikes! All of my conferences are at the beginning, so I am pretty much finished by 4:00 or so. I will be spending the remainder of my time writing student narratives.

Student narratives are a paragraph or two description of the how each child you teach is doing in your class. Some teachers have up to 60 or so to write. I am quite lucky in the fact that I only have 32 or so to write. I believe Jamie has a few more than I do. You basically tell the strengths and weaknesses of the student in narrative form and then state what you are going to do to correct the problem as a teacher or ensure that the child maintains their success. I have not written one yet, but I'm sure they are loads of fun.

We have Friday off. We might go into Hong Kong for the weekend, but we are undecided. We'll be making a trip soon to Macau for some gambling and to see Cirque du Soleil at the Venetian Casino in Macau. Should be a great show. We'll keep you posted on those events.

I believe we have settled on Thailand for our winter break. We might stay about a week and a half or 2 weeks there. We've heard Bangkok is a blast and either Phuket or Koh Chang for the beach. Nonetheless, we'll need the rest and relaxation.

I hope everyone voted yesterday and did your civic duty. I'll get some pictures up showing Jamie and I coloring our electoral maps. I also have some older pictures I haven't posted. I really don't even remember what they are off the top of my head. I'll get them up soon, I promise.

Take care America! No matter how you voted... Yes We Can!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

Jamie and I are at school this morning watching the results of the election come on on We have both printed our Electoral Map and have our blue and red crayons ready. We took pictures and I will upload them tonight when we get home. The kids were all circled around my desk and are quite curious about the election. I was trying to explain to them about the Electoral College and the how we elect the President; but since the majority of American adults do not understand it, it is difficult for a 12 year old international student to understand it.

Jamie and I have been quite passionate about this election and have been all involved in it since we taught AP Government last year and watched with our high school students the primaries. From the look at the Internet, the voter turnout seemed to be quite large.

However the election turns out, we should all be proud of the fact that we will in a country where you can cast your ballot. Some people may say that one vote doesn't count, but that is simply not the mindset that one needs to have. The fact that we do have disagreements is what makes our country great.

We'll continue to watch today as the results come in. I hope everyone made time out of their day to go and vote. Jamie and I have worn our "I'm a Georgia Voter" stickers for 2 days.

Today is a long day for us as we have parent conferences this afternoon until 8:45 pm. Yikes!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hold on tight Vol Fans

Going to get interesting. ESPN is reporting that Philip Fulmer will step down and not the head coach for the Tennessee Volunteers in 2009. There is supposed to be a press conference of some sort later on today. Rumors have circulated about this and it is no doubt that last weekend's loss to South Carolina placed increase pressure on Fulmer. It is going to get interesting in Knoxville to see who they bring in as head coach. UT has been a good old boy system for years, but will they finally go outside of the family and bring in a big time football coach. Check the headlines, because the UT coaching spot should be top news for a while.

Truly a sad day for Volunteer fans but this is to be expected. I have mixed feelings about this, but after the Auburn game this year, I have been a proponent of having Phil step down. No word yet on his severage package. He is still due millions of dollars, and you would bet that he'll still receive that somehow.

Many names thrown out there for the coaching job - Mushchamp from Texas, Lane Kiffin, John Gruden from the NFL are among the possibilities. Truly all rumors though.

Should be fun to watch!

Georgia Voters from China

Well, Jamie and I received our ballots today. We filled them out and will mail them tomorrow. They won't actually count because we are too late. There was some sort of mix up in mailing them, so we'll be too late, but at least we can say we filled out a ballot and voted. We'll get it figured out if there is a next time.

Busy week for us as we have parent conferences until 8:45 pm on Wednesday and Thursday. We do get Friday off, but have to be back Sunday night for some professional development and training. The PD will continue on Monday and Tuesday, so the students enjoy a 5 day weekend. We'll enjoy the short week of only 3 days after the PD. Jamie and I are leading one of the sessions on assessment in social studies.

That's all folks. We sincerely hope you all do your civic duty and go vote on Tuesday. We are excited about watching the results come in on Wednesday morning. We've already decided to give our kids busy work as we watch either Slingbox or stay updated on CNN online. At least we won't have to stay up all night to catch the results like you all will.

We hope you are enjoying your Daylight Savings Time. We certainly are not as it pushes our phone calls an hour later in the evening if we want to accomplish anything. The time difference is now 13 hours from EST. Interestingly, if you took a direct flight from China to Atlanta, you would actually arrive one hour before you took off. Pretty cool!

Happy Election Day America! Democracy at its finest.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

QSI Autumn Fair Photos

A co-worker at QSI took some of these photos from the Autumn Fair. I'm sure there will be more when I get to work tomorrow, but here are a few of the students dressing up for Halloween and enjoying the festivities of the day.

Click Here!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

QSI Autumn Fair

Today, Jamie and I went to the Autumn Fair at the Main Campus at QSI. Our job was to sell the our students' Poetry Books. One student named them Poetry by Prodigies. Actually a pretty clever name. However, we only sold about 10 books and made on 190 RMB. The money is going toward the middle school social account, which is somewhat sad considering 190 RMB will barely purchase 3 pizzas from Papa John's here.

All 5 levels of the school was used for this event and games included the normal fall festival games you'd see in the states plus a Haunted House and silent auction. Tickets into the Fair was 20 RMB presold per person and 30 RMB if you purchased at the door. Someone heard that they had presold 1500 entry tickets. Once inside, you could purchase game tickets for 2 RMB for one tickets. Each game or activity cost anywhere from 1-3 RMB.

Tons of kids and parents were their either volunteering or parcipating or both. We took Jamie's camera but once we arrived we noticed that the battery was dead. Zoinks!

I'll steal some pictures from people who took some around QSI and post them on here. It might not be until Monday though.

Jamie and I are missing our time with Jamie's family in St. Simon's, Georgia for the Georgia-Florida game this year. We splurged on some cheddar cheese so we can make some nachos. We'll be up at 3:30 watching the game. I'm actually hoping UGA wins this game since UT doesn't have a dog in the race anymore. The UT game comes on at 7:00, so we'll watch it too. They are the underdog vs. South Carolina. Geez...

Hope everyone had a good Halloween. If we really wanted to get wild, we would've gone into Hong Kong last night for the festivities there. We decided against it.

As for our winter break, it is looking more and more like we'll be going to Thailand. It is not set in stone yet, but we are thinking several days in Bangkok and a week or so at the beach either in Phuket or Koh Chang. Should be a nice getaway.

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