2008.11.14: November 14, 2008: Headlines: COS - China: Daily Journal: Carol Preston writes: I have been thinking a lot lately about the sights and sounds and sometimes smells of China

Peace Corps Online: Directory: China: Peace Corps China : Peace Corps China: Newest Stories: 2008.11.14: November 14, 2008: Headlines: COS - China: Daily Journal: Carol Preston writes: I have been thinking a lot lately about the sights and sounds and sometimes smells of China

By Admin1 (admin) (151.196.12.195) on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 9:55 am: Edit Post

Carol Preston writes: I have been thinking a lot lately about the sights and sounds and sometimes smells of China

Carol Preston writes: I have been thinking a lot lately about the sights and sounds and sometimes smells of China

Here in Chongqing sights include many, many high-rise concrete buildings, much construction going on many times with hand tools, lots of greenery, trashy spots next to modern buildings, and of course, crowds all over. I am in the habit of looking out my living room window every morning when I get up and am happy when I can spot Venus sparkling up there. One morning I was thrilled to see Venue plus seven stars surrounding her a rare treat! How long has it been since you have heard a rooster crowing in the morning? I was always led to believe they crowed at dawn, but there was one nearby that started crowing at 5:30 a.m. and continued off and on all day. He seems to have disappeared now. Then there are construction sounds, the pleasant sound of children playing and some lovely birdcalls.

Carol Preston writes: I have been thinking a lot lately about the sights and sounds and sometimes smells of China

The Far East: Happy Thanksgiving

By Carol Preston

November 15, 2008 - 12:00 a.m. EST

Caption: Carol Preston, back center, enjoys a field trip with her group in the Far East.

Special to the Daily Journal/Messenger

Seventy-five years into her life, Carol Preston rearranged her world completely. On July 7, 2007, the Salem resident signed up for a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in China. Preston, who is a retired teacher, will prep local instructors to teach English to other Chinese. Preston has agreed to share her experiences with Daily Journal/Daily Messenger readers from time to time in this column.

October has gone by much faster than September did. I am in the routine now, weather was lovely until nine days ago when it started raining and hasn't quit yet. I have gotten to know my students better. At first, I didn't think I would relate to them as well as I did the New Guinea doctors, but now I think it will be a close match. By the way, the New Guinea group left earlier this month, so I have one less class to teach. But I miss them!

I have been asked to tell more about these students. There are 14 of them three male and eleven female. Seven are doctors, two are dentists, three are nurses, one is a hospital manager and one is a PE teacher. Ten are married with children (one each!); two are married with no children and two are unmarried. They all look so young that if I went to them as a patient, I would wonder if they were even old enough to have graduated from college! All 14 are grouped together in my "Voice of America" (VOA) class, but they are divided into groups of six and eight for "Listening Skills" classes, which each meet twice a week for two hours each. VOA is only once a week.

Early on I emphasized the importance of following directions and was surprised to learn that some did not know what the English word "circle" means. I have to be very careful not to assume too much and to speak slowly!

Recently they took us teachers on a lovely field trip to a farm that had been turned into a kind of amusement, museum type place. It had a huge stage with typical Chinese shows offered off and on all day, displays of old farm implements and unusual little old-time novelty toys for the children to play with on a very large open plaza. Some people were demonstrating old crafts, such as weaving, embroidery, spinning silk and such.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the sights and sounds and sometimes smells of China. Here in Chongqing sights include many, many high-rise concrete buildings, much construction going on many times with hand tools, lots of greenery, trashy spots next to modern buildings, and of course, crowds all over. I am in the habit of looking out my living room window every morning when I get up and am happy when I can spot Venus sparkling up there. One morning I was thrilled to see Venue plus seven stars surrounding her a rare treat!

How long has it been since you have heard a rooster crowing in the morning? I was always led to believe they crowed at dawn, but there was one nearby that started crowing at 5:30 a.m. and continued off and on all day. He seems to have disappeared now. Then there are construction sounds, the pleasant sound of children playing and some lovely birdcalls.

Smells are often not so good, as you can imagine with an underdeveloped sewer system.

One Sunday morning I attended the worship service my next-door neighbor holds weekly. It was quite contemporary with a guitar playing songs I have never heard of, prayers and a brief message by the hostess. The best part about it was the mix of nationalities present young people from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Nepal, India and Australia. I have been unable to attend the last two Sundays, but I will certainly go again.

I will close with a laugh on me. At Metro (store with some Western products) I spotted a whole bin of dark purple small berries. I said to myself, "At last, fresh blueberries!" So I bought a fairly large amount. Imagine my surprise to discover they were grapes! I'm telling you, they looked exactly like blueberries except for the stem, which I should have noticed from all the times I have picked blueberries!

Happy Thanksgiving!



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Story Source: Daily Journal

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