Carmans and Greenes Together Again

We were thrilled to have our friends, the Greenes, stay with us again for Christmas. We had lots of fun, laughs and conversations. They’re the kind of people that we can easily just pickup our friendship where we left it off. Nathan and I both made a video.

Here’s mine:

Here’s Nathan:

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Anna Ice Skating Practice

Anna has come a long way since her First Ice Skating lesson. She can now skate forward and backward. She can swivel (forward and backward), lift one leg, squat low, cross over legs on a turn and stop quite quickly. With being able to skate backward, she already passed her daddy’s ability…

This video shows Anna in a special practice for a show that Anna will soon be in. It’s meant to show everything that they’ve been learning. Take a look!

Anna Mae Reciting Psalm 100

Anna has been working very hard in her Bible class at school. Every week she has a verse to memorize. We usually work on it in the morning as she’s eating breakfast. The fact that she’s able to read many of the words helps with studying.

For the last several weeks, her assignment has been to learn Psalm 100. Anna has done excellent with it and knows the passage really well.

Anna’s 1st Ice Skating Lesson

Anna’s been so excited about her ice-skating lesson since we signed her up several weeks ago. I got to take ice skating her only one time while we were living in Qingdao. It was a lot of fun and she, as usual, picked it up rather quickly.

I wasn’t supposed to take her to the lesson tonight, but Jacquelyn got sick. I had a blast, though, taking pictures of her and waving from the stands like the proud dad that I am.

Out with our Neighbors

Since we’ve been living in Qingdao we’ve enjoyed living in the same apartment. In most places getting know your neighbors beyond the stairway/driveway head-nod is a challenge. Despite living literally 10 feet away from our nearest neighbor in this 6-floor apartment complex, it is still a challenge. That being said, we have gotten know a couple of families that live in our stairwell. One in particular has really been cool to see develop.

Bob is a high school senior this year. Over last couple of years, Bob and I have been able to hang out to practice his English. We’ve done tutoring, hanging out with friends, and even playing the board/card game,Dominion. From time to time Bob’s family takes us out to dinner.

This last year has really been special for Bob. He’s on a special track through his high school to study abroad. Bob put in his applications to several universities in the States and hoped for the best. I was thrilled to hear that Bob got accepted to Purdue University in West Lafayette! It’s been fun being able to tell him about Indiana. He’s off for college in August. For you Indiana friends, I might need you to show him the sights.

Another cool factor is that Bob has a little sister about the same age as Anna. They enjoy hanging out together and chasing each other.

In the days since we’ve decided that we would move back to the States, every time I hear Anna speak Chinese I feel a bit regretful about the decision. It’s almost certain that Anna will completely lose her Chinese within 6 months to a year. This year in particular her Chinese fluency has increased incredibly. It’s so cool to be able to watch her converse so easily with her Ayi, teachers and friends.

Here’s a video that shows her hanging out with Kun Kun, Bob’s sister, when they took us out for one more dinner this evening.

My Friend the Movie Star

This past Christmas we got to go back to the States. Of the many areas that we hit, one was to my old stomping grounds (I don’t know where that phrase just came from…sorry). My friend, Rick, who I have been friends with since the first grade , and I were able to get together and play Madden Football. It really felt like we were transported back to the good ole days when we used to play Sega, The Master System and wiffle ball like every single day. I guess the only thing different from when were kids was talking about how cool our kids are…oh, and the graphics on the XBOX are slightly better than the 1987 Sega’s.

Anyway, one of the things he showed me while I was there was a mini-movie where he had a leading role (there were only 3 roles, all of them leading…) I thought it was super cool. Here’s the movie:


*Video – Ode to the Binky

Every now and then the family will have a jam/dance session. J-Dogg leads on the guitar, Anna the Orchid interprets with dance, and the Mean Bean Lucas will add lyrical dissonance (crying). Orchid Mama usually (wo)mans the camera, but will pipe in when the moment’s right with sweet resolution (usually, when J-Dogg fails to resolve on his own).

Below is a short clip of how these jam/dance sessions go. This is an original: “Ode to the Binky”. (All rights reserved.)

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China Day: I’m More Chinese than You

Recently the school where I work put on a China Day show. It featured our staff, students, and some local entertainers. I was in the one of the plays. Take a look at the video and pictures.

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Jeremy, The Police & The News

The other day some friends and I were invited to hear the local police explain how they can help us foreigners in case of a dispute. A local news crew was there ready with their cameras. We all sat down at the table while the police woman explained that if we have a dispute we can call the police and have a “sit-down” with the other party to resolve the problem. It is actually quite nice knowing that we can do that. After I volunteered to translate for English-speaking foreigners, the news team asked me why I volunteered.

Now, I’ve never been interviewed by the news before. I had no idea who to look at. To make things more confusing, it wasn’t the reporter that asked me the question, it was the cameraman. Should I look at the camera, the reporter, or the cameraman? In the end I looked at the cameraman. Is there a standard protocol when being interviewed?

Anna & her doll

Anna has always loved books and recently she has discovered a new love for dolls. So now Anna thinks that dolls need to have books read to them. Here is a short clip of Anna reading to her doll. Listen closely at the end and you will hear Anna speak Chinese!