On Friday, we dressed this little guy up for the cooler fall weather and sent him off to his beloved ayi's for the week. I then went off to school to teach my classes and then teach a workshop in the afternoon. Our school is an international school with foreign and Chinese teachers. There are many projects going on doing some training of local and fairly local like minded Chinese teachers. I was honored to teach a workshop to about 20 Chinese teachers on "Innovative Vocabulary Acquistion." It was fun talking to the teachers and learning about their lives and teaching situation. One family was even homeschooling their kids, highly unusual in China.
Early Saturday morning, I got up to get on the bus to get on the train with the other international school teachers to the countrywide conference that they have every year.
The conference was just excellent- great teaching, good workshops and quality people. The plenary sessions focused on this idea of the fullness of Christ. The text came from 2 Corinthians and that was read and reread at each main session. There was wonderful worship. For those of us who live in fairly isolated areas, that part was especially poignant. We don't often get to sing with praise bands or even a guitar. I think it refreshed many a weary soul- it did mine.
Paul and Elisabeth came late on Saturday as she had SAT's on Saturday morning. On Sunday afternoon they went into Beijing and I joined them when the conference was over for the day. I had to take an shuttle from the hotel to the Beijing airport. Then I had to take the airport express subway into the city and then get off and get on the regular subway- two switches. This is the first time I've ever done the Beijing subway by myself as usually Paul just tells me where to get on and off! So I was pretty proud of myself.
We did some shopping and had fun. Paul is a great bargainer because he loves to laugh and tease. He got some prices on winter boots and gloves down pretty low.
The workshops that I went to were really varied.The presenters came from all over the world. I went to several on children's literature. One was on the post-modern influence in children's picture books and how to look at the that. I went to a fantastic workshop on presenting poetry to children and another on honoring God in the visual arts.
On Tuesday, Elisabeth got on the train to Tianjin to spend the day with a friend. Paul headed into Beijing to go to more historical sites and then they met up again to have dinner and then head back to the hotel. I stayed at the conference for more workshops and then that night, we had a formal dinner and dinner theatre. Our dinner theatre was a one man show, done by Dr. Kevin Radaker of Anderson University. He specializes in the writing of CS Lewis, Thoreou, Annie Dillard and Wendell Berry. He has a one man drama that he wrote about CS Lewis. So CS Lewis showed up on the stage and did a one hour monologue about his conversion and life. It was unbelievable. It was amazing. Just totally fascinating and inspiring and impressive. We were privileged to see him
On Tuesday, I went to Dr. Radaker's workshop "Teaching the Skill of Argument Through the Non-Fiction of CS Lewis." It was also very, very good but a little above my level of understanding. Still, it's good to be challenged. The whole workshop was challenging to me as a teacher and Christian. I am thankful I was able to go.
When the conference was over, Paul, Elisabeth and headed headed back into Beijing to Jenny Lou's. Jenny Lou's is a grocery store in Beijing where you can buy Western goods. So now we have a Magic Eraser sponge, two boxes of onion soup, a few boxes of corn muffin mix, Cinnamon Toast crunch and cake mix for Elisabeth's birthday tomorrow.
We got back on the train for Shenyang (now five hours instead of four because fast trains are now required to slow down because of an accident that happened a while ago). We hung out on the train with friends and now are finally home.