Note: various links or
other references may be mentioned below that no longer apply.
Sorry for the
January/February update (Jan 13, 2012)
We had a wonderful Christmas
(see photos, plus more Christmas photos on our new
Christmas 2011 page), and now we are looking forward to Chinese New
Year (Jan 23 this year). It is a beautiful time of year in China, with
lots of colored lanterns and other decorations everywhere! In fact, I
first arrived in
just after Chinese New Year in 1985, and I was
amazed at how beautiful the sidewalks were, decked with lots of red
lanterns. I was really disappointed when they disappeared a few weeks
later! But now I know that, like Christmas trees, these decoration are
back every year, and that gives us a seasonal treat to cherish.
The other good thing about Chinese New Year is that we get a break from
school. I love teaching, and I put a lot of time and energy into my
classes. So, it is nice to have a few weeks off to catch up on email, file
some of the many photos we are always taking, watch some movies with my
wife, and start planning for the next semester. Every "Spring Festival" we
also participate in a conference for foreign professionals who work in China. This
year it is in Hong Kong, and I'll be presenting one of the training
sessions for teachers. Since Vivian and I have been in China for over a
decade, we often have leadership roles at these conferences, and we
especially enjoy helping "new people" prepare for the challenges that
await them in China.
One of my own challenges is finding time to be a webmaster. Even with the
holiday break, I know I won't be able to attend to the many
problems at Krigline.com (outdated text, broken links, useless buttons, etc.). But in
spite of the problems, there are also lots of good things to see and
resources to use at Krigline.com (see the
page). Thanks for stopping by, and have a
Happy New Year!
Among the many holiday activities we enjoyed this year,
made Christmas cards for their friends at our home. Yes, that is our son
Andrew on the far right: after he finished his first semester exams (which
come before Christmas in the US), he flew to join us for about three
weeks. It was great to be together again!
March update (Mar 11, 2012)
The new semester started in
mid-February. I’m teaching four evening classes
(7-8:40 pm), plus a few in the daytime. By the time they get to me, my
students have had a long, tiring day, so we try to make English class
enjoyable and to give them the chance to talk with classmates in this
foreign language. I’m grateful that most students can still show
enthusiasm and participate actively, so late at night. They make class
enjoyable for me too!
April is birthday month for both
especially miss Andrew on the second, for it will be the first time we’ve
not been there to celebrate with him
(often with a trip to Pizza Hut, and a party for his friends—you can see
some past birthdays on
In April, we’ll also be busy with our
volunteer responsibilities. We’ll spend a weekend in
for important meetings related to the Jian Hua Foundation, and
Vivian plans to stay in Yunnan for a few days to return to the
we served as Trustees for a while
living there. Vivian is also working on the Foundation’s important Annual
Finally, this year April has both a
Chinese and a Christian lunar holiday related to "graves." April 4 is
(清明), or "tomb-sweeping day." Many friends and colleagues will go off
to mountainsides or graveyards to clean the grave of an ancestor. An
interesting custom related to this holiday is that they burn paper copies
of things the deceased person might need in "heaven," like a car, new
clothes, a cell phone, a house, and
money. The other holiday is Easter
(复活节), April 8, when Christians in China and around the world celebrate
the “empty tomb,” i.e., the resurrection of Jesus after he was crucified.
He told his followers that they didn’t need to fear death anymore, because
his sacrifice provided everything we need for eternal life.
(You can read a
about Easter by clicking here, or see a
So, March and April will be busy
months, but Easter in particular makes April a wonderfully joyous time of
year for us, and we hope it will be for you too!
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June update (June 14, 2012)
I'm too busy teaching
summer school to update this
page, but click here for a link to
where you can see our new grandson! Also, if you know of any nice, cheap
apartments in Xiamen, we are looking! We need to move to the island
this summer, before my classes resume on the old campus in October.
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(Sept 11, 2012)
Where does the time go? It
seems like only yesterday when Vivian and I were saying goodbye to my
sophomore students, and looking forward to our first summer in Xiamen
(well, first summer together--I'd spent two summers here in the
80s when I was single, and before air
conditioning was available!). Now it is mid September, and we'll meet
the freshmen in just a few weeks! And although it's been a busy summer,
there is still so much more that we wanted to accomplish before our busy
Our only regret for the summer
was that we couldn't afford to fly back to the US when our
second grandchild was born in June. But our
was in good hands, and all went well. This
longing made us all-the-more grateful that we were in the US for the birth
of her first child over a year ago.
As summer school ended, we were
busy packing, moving and unpacking. We're thankful to all those who helped
us in that arduous process. You can see
a photo montage on
our Xiamen Apartment page. Of course, actually moving was just the beginning for us, as
it took a few weeks to unpack and find our way around our new home. If you
care to visit us, you'll find
directions and a map on
for pictures of the new apartment.)
A lot of Vivian's early summer
was invested in editing the corporate Annual Report for the Jian Hua
(see photo to the right). This 30-page color booklet is an important
means of communication between the Foundation, Chinese officials, and
others who benefit from JHF's work in China.
Once we got settled in Xiamen,
Vivian started tutoring again
(to help pay our increased rent!). She now has five students, who love
her very much! Meanwhile, Michael has found two English Corners to
volunteer his time at, and he's also enjoyed being closer to the
international church so that he can help with music and other things, like
a project to add subtitles to a music-related teaching video.
What's next? Vivian will keep
tutoring, and Michael's
Xiamen University classes
resume after the National Day holiday
(early October). We can't wait to meet the new students, offering them
the chance to improve their English
(with lots of hard work)
both in and out of class! We're also eager to keep in touch with former
students who want to "keep up" their English skills.
Our apartment has a large living room, so we think we can invite a
nice crowd over for movies and parties. "Let the good times roll!"
Still lovin' it in Xiamen,
Michael & Vivian
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November/December update (12-12-12)
Today is the last time in 89
years that we'll be able to write the date with the same three numbers, so
it seemed like an auspicious time to add an update!
I think this fall has been
busier than normal--though we are always busy! The photos and
captions on this page will show you what we have been doing.
One "extra" thing is that I've had to make numerous trips to a "local" hospital,
dealing with ear trouble. The Chang Geng hospital (on the mainland) is the best in the area,
but it takes four hours or more to get there, wait for an appointment, and
get back. Such large blocks of time are hard to squeeze into my busy
schedule, resulting in far too many late nights getting ready for class.
In addition, I've had
registration troubles with "www.krigline.com.cn".
After being on line since 2005 to help my students, and other Chinese
English-learners, it suddenly disappeared in December; this has been a big
distraction to me and the friends who are trying to solve the problems.
(For the record, after paying extra money to the Chinese host, I was back
on line Dec. 27.)
Meanwhile, I keep busy as a volunteer at four English Corners that
require varying levels of preparation. I also enjoy helping with
activities at our international church (music, teaching, video projects,
Vivian tutoring continues to be a joy and challenge. She now tutors six students, who love her very much!
SHe also enjoys the hobby of on-line scrapbooking.
Visit her pages for more information! (www.scrapbookflair.com/China_Doll)
But the best part of our "busy-ness"
is the delight in sharing Christmas once again with our new students!
We have special activities at our home every Sunday in
Advent, as well as being involved in concerts and
other fun around town. It has been wonderful to have such a large
apartment to entertain guests!
We love this time of year!!
Looking ahead, final exams are
in early January, and then we'll spend a week in Thailand for the annual
JHF expats' conference (around Chinese New Year). The next term at Xiamen
University begins Feb. 25. Further ahead, we are planning to visit the US
next summer, to spend time with our
son and other
relatives, and especially to meet our newest
So, as always we beg forgiveness if I can't find time to be a "web
master"! Nonetheless, there are lots of great resources at Krigline.com,
and we hope you'll make good use of them!
Celebrating Christmas all year round,
PS: I'm too busy to look at my website statistics
very often, but after my Chinese registration was canceled this month I
thought I'd have a look. It was interesting. My ".cn" website got 8934
page hits in Nov 2012; most visitors were looking for English-learning
resources (like help with essays, standardized tests, and movies), though
88 people found my song "Jing Ye Si"; my own students visited the
"materials" page 159 times; over 200 were related to my textbook. It's
good to know that so many people find this website useful!
1. In early December, we agreed to adopt (or foster?) Zoe
while her American family is away for the next year or so.
2. Every Tuesday, we reserve this corner of the university
canteen, giving students the chance to speak English casually; 15-20
usually join us!
3. I work hard to make class interesting and active. One student paid me
the following interesting complement: "Unlike my other courses, I can't
sleep in your class!"
4. On the first Sunday of Advent, these special students got to help us
decorate our apartment. Most had never decorated a Christmas tree (or
eaten pancakes) before.
5. In mid-December, I was asked to help lead a Christmas music program on
nearby Gulangyu island (in the historic Union Church building). These
students volunteered to learn several songs so they could also
6. The second Sunday of Advent was "game night" at our apartment.
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Don't forget that Vivian has a photo scrapbook website,
too. She has a lot more time to play with fun things than I do, and she
frequently adds a page or two. Her pages are more elaborate than the
simple photo pages on krigline.com, so they load slowly in China, but you
might enjoy seeing her nice pictures. Click here to start your journey: