I know it's been longer than expected without a journal entry (especially
here at the first of our adventure) but I really didn't have anything to
report (anything that was positive that is.)  We've all been sick with what
is known as Mao Tse Mao's revenge, and the jet lag has been a
killer.  Being sick really slants your perspective on things, all I wanted
to do was go home.  If there had been a plane from Jinzhou I would have
been really tempted to be on it!  Now however, we are all healthy again,
although Julie is still complaining non stop about missing her Nanny.

I've been meeting many many new people.  There have been several students
that knew previous teachers and have maintained email contract with them,
that have come for a visit.  Judi P, Sarah really is a dear, she's been
over several times with Nancy and Kathleen.  I also got to help a student
chose an English name.  This particular student told me she liked poetry so
I suggested the name Elizabeth, you know as in Elizabeth Barrett
Browning.  All three of the girls tried to say Elizabeth and decided it was
to much of a mouth full so I consulted the ole baby name book and looked up
nick names for Elizabeth.  We decided that Elise would be a good
name.  Elise then asked my name and when I told her Karen, she said "oh I
like that name"  I told her she could have it as well, but I think she
chose to stick with Elise.

I've also met a family.  The father, William, is an engineer at the power
plant and his wife, May, works there in the data control department.  They
have a baby who is 9 months old and looks amazingly like Julie did at that
age.  William wanted me to give him private English lessons, but right now
taking on outside work is something I'm really not interested in.  They've
been over a couple of times to visit and today had me over to show me their
home and prepare jaozoi, a delicious spicy meat filled dumpling.

Their apartment is what I understand as being very typical of the average
Jinzhou city dweller.  It is on the 7th floor (no elevator)  Over here
instead of having several apartments per floor there are only two, there
are just many more staircases.  So a building may be very long and have
many apartments but for each "stack" there is a stairway.  This particular
building only had 7 floors so we were on the penthouse floor.  Williams
apartment had two bedrooms for his family (oh did I mentions his in-laws
live with them?)  Grandmother and grandfather have the larger bedroom which
was the only one with a bed.  William and May had mats on the floor.  There
was a fairly large bathroom with a western toilet, but there wasn't a
shower or tub, just the plumbing for one.  I assume the whole bathroom,
which had a drain in the middle is considered a shower?  The kitchen area
was about 6" by 10" and had a Chinese stove, which is kind of like a
Coleman double burner, but it is enclosed and gets much hotter.  Stir
frying requires much hotter temperatures than our stoves in the US
typically put out.  (Just ask Jamal, one of the other teachers here, he is
constantly burning something because he puts the fire on high and goes to
his room.)  There was also a sink and a water purification system, but
William told me you still  can't drink that water, it is just cleaner.  The
living room area was kind of separated into two areas and the room was
probably about 12" X 20".  William told me the whole apartment was 56 sq.
meters (around 750 sq. ft)  Everything was very neat, but what we'd
consider sparse, you know, not a lot of junk to dust!

We had a very nice time with our new friends and the jaozoi was
wonderful.  Grandfather also prepared a very delicious soup for us.  This
was all served with Almond juice.  Another first.  The can said it was made
from almonds, water and sugar, and contained vegetable protein. I though it
was pretty good, probably very high in calories too, but it didn't taste
oily so I don't know.  Julie and Charlie didn't really care for it
though.  Oh the new smell and flavors we are encountering!  I'm going to
have to check into a Chinese cooking course, I understand they are available!

Two new teachers from the US are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, so I won't
be the "new kid on the block"  ha ha ha.  I've still got sooooooooooo much
to learn!