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, March 31, 2009

Updates and a Warning...

I've added a new album I've simply entitled Shekou - March 2009.

The picture above is a sign posted in our building next to the elevators. They post things from time to time about safety, energy conservation, etc. This one is about pets in the building. Read closely (if you can see it) #4.

Amazing! A country that allows their children to pee and poo on the sidewalks in broad daylight issues warnings about pets.

We had a good chuckle about the warning and the wording of the message.

Anyway, the other pictures are of Griffey who is the best dog in the world and of Jamie's trip to the Shenzhen Museum. She went with a few co-workers this past Saturday to scout it out for an upcoming field trip for our students. She wrote questions down for them, and they'll need to do a scavenger hunt to find the answers.

There are also a few pictures from St. Patrick's Day. We spent it at an Irish pub just downstairs in SeaWorld with some co-workers and friends.

I spent 21 hours over the weekend working on Chapter 2 of my dissertation. I have hired a Chinese teacher at the school to help me with some research and translations. She is very bright and should be a huge help. I am hoping to be finished with Chapter 2 sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Jamie is heading back to Georgia to see her grandfather who has become ill. She will leave Saturday morning and then come back the following Saturday arriving here Sunday to return to work Monday. I'll keep you posted concerning that.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Khmer Rouge Update

I have been following this trial as it appears in the headlines.

Here, one of the guards confesses to the killings and tortures in the S-21 prison during the reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the late 1970s.

Amazing. Remember, Jamie and I visited the prison back in September as well as the Killing Fields outside the city. You can view our pictures in our web album. If you are new to reading the site, just beware as some are rather disturbing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Story Time

As a teacher, you will occasionally have a story that you can tell over and over again. I have many of these. Some I have shared, and some I either forget to tell or just haven't for whatever reason. The thing is kids are funny creatures. Middle schoolers, in particular, are a strange breed; of which I have discovered is international and not just contained in Tennessee and Georgia. Students will do and say things that make you laugh or just cock your head to the side and say "Really?" They will write things that will really make you wonder and sometimes even cry, for good and bad reasons.

Oh, there was the time I convinced a girl that her cat really did have 9 lives. There was the time that I told the same girl that all 535 people in Congress lived in bunkbeds in the capital dome. There is the girl who wrote on her 2004 Presidential Election scrapbook as one of the major issues of the candidates... "War on Tourism." (Down with the cruise ships!) Another stellar performance in Georgia History occurred when I had my students draw a map labeling the borders of Georgia. My first week of teaching surprised me when a student placed Africa above Georgia. Africa? Really?

Of course, many of you have heard by now of the student last year who told me that I would need to learn to speak Spanish if I moved to China.

Oh, the list goes on and on. Yesterday, I had a student come up and ask if he could go next door and buy a lunch. It seems as though his 1st cook didn't make it in to cook his meal for him and the 2nd cook didn't know what he wanted. Poor thing. The funnier side of this story is that he actually brought a lunch to school, set it down on a table near the lobby, and forgot about it. Poor 1st and 2nd cooks always get the blame (I'm sure many of my readers can relate).

Jamie has her share too and the hits keep on rolling. She had a student she just couldn't convince that they actually spoke English in England. He just kept saying "Well, I can't understand a word they're sayin; That ain't English."

So, occasionally when there is a slow week of blogging, I'll throw some of these in here. I'll title them Story Time, so I can check back and see what I've mentioned.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

They're Here!

Finally, our Kindles arrived via FedEx today. We pre-ordered the new Kindle 2s back in mid February and they were shipped out rather quickly. Kathy boxed our Kindles and 2 Kindle covers up for us and sent them via Fedex on a Thursday. They arrived in Shenzhen, China the following Tuesday (pretty quick!); however they were held up in customs because they did not know what a "Kindle" was. Turns out, not many people do.

Here is the page for Amazon's Kindle. Half way down the page, it'll give you a 6 minute video on what the Kindle can do.

It took another week and 20 emails to get them through customs and we ended up having to pay a customs duty tax on them because Honest Abe (me) decided to tell them their actual worth. I thought at the time that telling them truth might get them to expedite the process. Nope! They said it'll be another 5 days as the they go through the "3 levels of customs approval." That is China in a nutshell.

They were release from customs on Monday and attempted delivery today; however I didn't have the money waiting on the Fedex guy, so I had to call and have them come by again. Thank goodness the whole process is over. I'm hoping never to have to mail something to China again.

As for the Kindles, they appear to be worth the hassle and process, but time will tell. I just downloaded my first book, Divine Justice by David Baldacci. Jamie has pledged to not download any for a while until she works more on her dissertation. We'll see how she does. I told her not to worry about it and enjoy our new toys.

In the U.S., Kindles are practically idiot proof and buying things wirelessly (through a cell phone signal and not wi-fi) is very easy. You can simply surf through 1000s of books and click and buy. Dangerous actually. You can also choose to have several major newspapers delivered to your Kindle every morning if you subscribe to them. See video above for full details.

Here in China, Jamie and I have those capabilities, but not wirelessly. We have to plug them into our computers, get online, and then buy them from No biggie really, just takes another 2 steps.

We are excited about vacations and not dragging around books. The Kindle comes with 2 GB of memory, so you can store 100s of books on there.

That is our update and we are excited!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

20 Best Views in the World

From Honeymoon 2007

Congrats to Yahoo for posting this on their front page. Seems they do several of these. Maybe Yahoo is doing its part to boost tourism. I have only seen a few of these, and they are widely spread out across the globe. Not sure how the writers chose these, but it seems like a decent list. Great reading and something for you travelers to look forward to...

20 Best Views in the World

I have an issue with the one about Chichen Itza because you cannot climb to the top anymore. Nonetheless, above is my picture of Chichen Itza.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Macau Long Weekend Trip

After 2 days of parent teacher conferences, Jamie and I headed out with friends to Macau. For those who do not know, Macau is actually a peninsula colonized by the Portuguese jutting out into the South China Sea about an hour ferry ride west of Shekou. They have actually reclaimed so much land and built so many fancy casinos that Taipa and Coloanna Islands are actually now connected to Macau via reclaimed land or long bridges, so traveling from from the three places is rather easy. Each place has its own flavor to it. We stayed on Coloanna Island back in November, but decided to stay in Macau this time.

We actually took the wrong ferry over and ended up on the other side of the peninsula. After discovering what we did, we ended up at the Hotel Royal. They upgraded us rooms which included all day drinks in the lobby and appetizers in the evenings for free. Sweet deal! We headed out to see some sites in Macau including the old part of the city with small winding streets full of shopping and local food as well as the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral (as seen above with Seymore). A scary sidenote is that our friend Tom became extremely ill while we were there and actually had to be helped by some friendly security guards and a nurse. After a scare, he took it easy the rest of the trip.

A quick nap in our hotel and it was back to a Portuguese/Chinese/Africa restaurant where Jamie and I shared some mussels with bacon and cheese and some baked chicken in coconut milk. It was pretty good.

The next day, Jamie and I set out to do some things that I wanted to do. She trucked along with me for Go Kart Racing (the fastest carts I'd ever been on) and to the Jockey Club to see some horse racing. After some tutoring by the locals, I actually bet on a race and WON! My bet was 30 HKD and I won 45.5. A real big gambler I am. Lunch at the Venetian Fatburger was yummy as we ate a good old American cheeseburger and fries.

That night we decided not to go out and we just hung out in the lobby and drank some free wine (the best kind) and enjoyed some appetizers.

Sunday, we enjoyed sleeping in and then headed out to Fisherman's Wharf on the eastern side of Macau. They have really built this place up and it is new with some gimmicky Las Vegas type attractions, games, malls, and restaurants. It looks cool and is worth seeing. A quick lunch overlooking the harbor and then we were going to go to the dog tracks to see some racing but our stupid bus took us in the wrong direction, so we decided against it and instead rested in the hotel lobby until our ferry took us back to Shekou.

Great weekend overall. Not too busy with sightseeing, but we were able to see some things we hadn't before. We had fun with our friends although we hated that Tom didn't feel to well the entire time.

Check out the pictures. Not much to see, but some of them are pretty cool. I've put them in our gallery under Macau March 2009.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

America's Top Tourist Spots

Yahoo released this today on their front page, and I always think they are interesting...

America's Most Popular Tourist Attractions

New York's Time Square is #1 on the list. #9 on the list is the most visited park in the United States... No not Yellowstone, not Grand Canyon, but our very own Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Thought I'd post for fun and comment on how many of the top 10 you've been to. I thought I was doing pretty decent having been to 6 out of the top 10, but then found out I've only been to 10 of the top 25. Much more traveling to do it seems.

Jamie and I are in parent conferences until 8:35 tonight and 12 hours tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hinamatsuri - Japanese Doll Festival

Today, Jamie's class was invited by one of her Japanese students' mothers to their house for the celebration of one of Japan's festivals, Hinamatsuri, or the Doll's Festival.

In short, Japanese families celebrate Hinamatsuri for their daughters good fortune and health. It has a long long history, but today is celebrated by individual families as well as a large celebration in many cities. Very interesting reads and I encourage you to take the time and educate yourself on a little history of this event.

Here are some links for you to read up on the celebration

Wikipedia Article - a nice overview

Another Site with some great pictures Article - another great overview

The picture above is one taken in the home of the students. Her mother explained the celebration and then explained to us what each of the 7 levels meant. I thank her for the photo she emailed to me since I didn't bring my camera. Actually me going was a last minute thing, but I'm very happy I was able to go. If you read the articles, especially the Wikipedia one, it will tell you what all of the dolls mean. Traditionally, the girl's mother's father buys the dolls for her on her 1st Hinamatsuri Day, which is traditionally the 3rd day of the 3rd month (March 3).

The boys then all played a Japanese card game (I don't remember the name) while the girls made origami cranes and roses. She had some sushi prepared and even pizza for backup. She then treated us to a Japanese tea ceremony which was very formal and very interesting.

All of this was in the span of about 1 hour. The kids really enjoyed it and we were all fortunate to take part in such authentic Japanese culture.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Busy and Boring Weeks

As you can tell from the lack of posts, things here have slowed down considerably. Living in China has just become a way of life and the grind of work is just like that of home. The weather here has been chillier than the previous few weeks, and it has started to rain.

Yesterday, we treated ourselves at a Brazilian restaurant where they bring various types of meat around on skewers and cut them off for you. It was the most meat Jamie and I have eaten in quite some time and was very delicious. The cost is normally pretty outrageous, but they have lunch deals on the weekends for only about $10 per person, all you can eat! Sweet!

We have progressed through the month of February without going to Hong Kong and have spent every weekend for hours and hours on our dissertations. As of today, I have completed Chapter 1 and 3 and working on Chapter 2 while I await for revisions. Jamie has completed Chapter 1 and is currently working on Chapter 2.

We have a short week this week with students as 2 days are eaten up with parent-teacher conferences and we do not have to go on Friday. Jamie and I are going with some friends of ours to Macau and touring the old city, temples, churches, as well as enjoying some of the entertainment Macau has to offer. It'll be a nice getaway after a rather busy but boring few weeks.

We are still awaiting for the end of April so we can go to Bali, Indonesia. This will certainly be a great and relaxing trip. My personal goal is to use the time reading in our new Kindles or working to revise my dissertation if necessary. It will certainly be necessary, but at least it is revision instead of writing.

Griffey has adjusted quite well to China and enjoys his daily walks. He is walked more here than at home, and he LOVES the trillions of smells China has to offer. As a side note, these are not the best smells in the world, but for a beagle, it is heaven!

Would love to hear from some people as it has been a while. I hear from some people on Facebook occasionally. Don't forget to drop a comment here or email us at our emails above. I'll be sure and post some additional pictures of Macau this weekend and certainly share with you Bali when we get there. If you haven't checked out our trip to Beijing yet for Chinese New Year, they are in the photo album and most have captions. I have slowed on the video uploads and the Internet has been sluggish around here lately.

All for now. We hope everyone has a great week!

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