Hwa Nan Women’s (??) College

I’ve officially witnessed history being made. Hwa Nan Women’s College now has male students. What a sad day. All the tradition and history, and quite frankly, the only selling point of this private school, down the drain. As I cracked open my journal today, sipping my coffee, I turn to look out my window at the adjacent dorms to find a shirtless boy brushing his teeth. (Their sinks are out in the lanai…can you imagine when it gets cold? No thanks, Hwa Nan.) If I didn’t know any better I’d be dragging him and whatever girl outta there by their ear lobes! Lucky for him, he’s been properly admitted to this school and I can’t argue.

In other news, today was my 3rd (and final) 1st day of classes. It’s amazing what can happen in a day in China. Let’s review, shall we?

First off, how does this happen so quickly?? I don’t consider myself a neat freak, but I’ve been here for a 37 hrs, for cryin’ out loud!

Who needs a lesson plan?!

Next up we’ve got Ms. B in full force, high heels and all! I love it! My feet were killing me, but totally worth it! I can hear you already, “Who are you and what have you done with Emily??!!”

Can I be to blame if my girls can’t take any good frontal photo shots? I don’t know what to tell you.

I’m feeling good. I’ve got the girls smiling and laughing. I’ve already decided today was going to be an introduction day and “real” learning would start on Monday. Then this happens:

Me: Does anyone have any questions for me?

Student A: How old are you?

Me: Does anyone want to guess?

Student B: 25!

Me: I love you, but no.

Student C: 40!

Me: Get out.

I guessed I asked for it, but I gotta admit, it was hilarious.

I had a full morning and still half the afternoon to go. Everybody’s in for the 1:30pm class when I spot a shirt. I can’t make out what it says, but it’s hilarious, nonetheless. And of course, the girl has no idea what she’s wearing.

Then I told them that while English is really important and useful in life, sometimes it’s of no help. Yes, I want them to learn English, but I’d also like for them to be able to take away something a little deeper. So everyday I’ll try and come with something in Chinese that we’ll translate together.

1. I write the Chinese characters on the board.

2. They help me with the pinyin (English alphabet spelling of the sound of the characters)

3. They tell me different ideas of meanings in English.

4. I give them my translation.

5. We discuss what that means in our lives.


Here’s today’s:

The word of God never goes out void.

I did this with all 3 classes I had today. At the end of my 3rd class a girl walks up and shyly asks me if I’m a “chr-christ-christian”, spelling it out with her pointer finger. I tell her yes. “Me too” she replies with a big grin on her face. I give her a soft and subtle high-five, “Thanks God”, my soul sings. If even to be an encouragement just for this one little sister, I’ve found purpose of my being here.

Best 1st day of classes ever.

We proceeded to take pics with their names…none of which I can read in the photos. *backfire*


Don’t be shy!


This is one of my bigger classes.





Cindy made me cry today.

WOD for time:

21 Wallballs (16lb)

1 Rnd. of “Cindy

15 Toes-to-Bar

2 Rnds of “Cindy”

9 Burpees

3 Rnds of “Cindy”

“Cindy” = 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats

As soon as I finished the WOD I immediately walked back behind the house so no one could see my tears start to run down my face. It’s been a while, and usually only happens in China (emotional rollercoaster and sensory overload with which exercise seems to filter and sift through), but today my frustration (stinkin’ “toes to bar”! I don’t why I had such trouble with this one!) and fatigue brought out my emotions. After wiping my face I strolled back around the house, sat down and immediately thought, “Someone give me a pen and paper. I need to write a journal entry. This is prime time, when the thoughts flow, emotions are high, analyzation begins. What brought me to this point? Why now and not earlier? I wanna filter this all out on paper. Jesus, what’s going on with me? Help me understand so I can pinpoint and deal with it…or simply let you take care.”

“I’m leaving.”

And I don’t have the comfort of knowing I’ll be back in 18 weeks. I’m leaving for, what’s looking like, 2 years. And yeah yeah yeah, “people do it all the time”, “the time will fly by”, “you’ll be back before you know it”, but it’s still 2 YEARS(!). A lot can happen in 2 years. You can have 2 kids in 2 years! You can compete in several different competitions and even cross the Molokai Channel in 2 years (given you did the regatta and long distance season working up to that goal…some people do it SEVERAL times per year)! You can make major gains in athleticism in 2 years! Bah! That list goes on. So, what I’d like for everyone to do is just HOLD ON a quick second while I go get this masters degree and wait for me to get back before making any other moves. Ok? Thanks!

Now that that’s settled, let me shift into my wiser side and turn to Jesus before melting into a pile of sap on the floor….or little kid kicking and screaming, which I tend to do with impatience (in my head).

…much like this

This summer has filled me with such joy from so many awesome people, most of which I’ve just recently met: my morning Crossfit workouts, volunteering reception at church, Manoa Weightlifting workouts, Fridays at the beach, intimate coffee talks, dinners with girlfriends. It’s never the event or the location, it’s the people. I’ve been welcomed in to so many different families here and I just couldn’t be more thankful for who God has placed in my life. So instead of focusing on my sadness of leaving, I’ll say thank you.

I’ve never met a more welcoming bunch of people. Mahalo Crossfit Fifty, can’t wait to return!

Thank you to all those that invested time with me even though I’m leaving, sharing in experiences, family time, just getting to know me. You could’ve easily brushed me aside knowing we may not keep in touch (although I’m going to do everything in my power to not let that happen). I have so enjoyed laughing with so many of you, learning your stories and walks of life, even walking with you, and appreciate all your encouraging words of support in return. I’m so blessed and humbled by God’s abundance in provision for family and friends. It’s really kind of ridiculous how He spoils his princesses. I’m so eager to return already, but will “enjoy the ride” God has me on for now.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches me may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19

My utmost prayer is that you all know the love of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, His covering, grace and mercy. What freedom there is in that! Accept that and give it to others. It’s our calling.

See you in 2 years…unless, of course, YOU come visit ME.

Alive In Christ

My bible study/mentor/small/best friends group back home has switched gears a little. We’re moving from “sheep to shepherds”, each in our own lives, so we’re making it top priority to share our devotional times in our small group meetings instead of simply debriefing the week, which usually keeps the focus on ourselves and what we’re getting from God verses the other way around. Last night was the first meeting since the change. Last week we covered Ephesians 1, this week is Eph. 2. I wouldn’t normally share my devos for obvious “public laundering” purposes, but today’s was a coverall lesson, a simple reminder of where I was, and through God’s amazing grace, where I am today, which I think applies to EVERYONE. So, without further ado, here’s my sermon. (lol, jk)

Ephesians 2:1-6 “It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.” (version: The Message)

First thought: Holy Shnikees! (Chris Farley, anyone?) This is one of the most humbling verses (and versions) I’ve ever read. It makes me think about how prideful smoking is (cause of the inhale/exhale part…random, I know, just wait). “I’m going to inhale this trash, destroy myself and then exhale death onto those around me because it’s MY body and I should have a choice.” We choose what we “inhale”, are influenced by. We choose our friends, our music, and what we allow our minds to dwell on. Then, as if we DIDN’T have a choice, we “exhale disobedience”. We’re pulled down by our friends’ influences and wonder why we’ve made such silly decisions. We contort the image of relationships because of the message that filthy music gives. We think about things we shouldn’t be with the excuse of “just looking, not touching”. And instead of throwing us all out, God gives us 2nd, 3rd…..9837493742934th chances to wipe the slate clean again and again. And it is by nothing of our own, nothing good in our hearts, nothing we worked up to, just grace and mercy, so huge, it saves us from the depths of hell, and lifts us up to eternal glory with Jesus. I am humbled.

Here’s the insane part, it doesn’t stop there, people! It’s not just about the after-life. He EVEN has an extravagant life for you here on Earth! He wants His name to be SO big, SO well-known, he’s willing to use you to do it, despite our idiocy. We don’t even have to feel equipped! In fact, I think he’d rather us feel inadequate therefore forcing us to rely on Him. How’s that?! You ever applied for a job you know NOTHING about and been their first choice? That’s our God! Don’t try and understand it, it doesn’t make sense. God’s bigger than sense.

The application of this in my life is huge. I gave my life to Christ a long time ago so I’m a veteran, I should know better. But I’ve made some pretty poor choices that, at the time, seemed irreversible. But nothing is impossible with God. He’s given me a second chance, but not without painstaking work and discomfort. “Yes, baby girl.” He says, “You can have all that (my seemingly particular dreams that become more specific every day), but I need to wipe the slate clean. Let me do that. Let go. It’s just stuff, and I’ve got a plan for you that you couldn’t imagine even if you tried.” So I let go. By the end of this summer I’ll have no place to call home, nothing to call my own, no keys to anything. After all the hard work I put in to get myself free and clear of debt, I’m about to dive in all over again for a Masters in Sport Physiology. (And let me tell you, going back to school, not under the covering of your parents is a whole new ballgame.) God never lost his patience with me though. He never said “Oh for the LOVE! Nevermind!” I simply said, “I still want YOUR plan, not my own.” He said, “Let’s DO THIS!” I’m so grateful. I may not know what lies ahead, but will simply take the steps God shows me at the appropriate times to take them….because I’ve been made alive in Christ.

Confessions of an ESL Teacher III

  • Today I said “I think I might kill someone” at least more than twice while grading vocabulary quizzes to find at least 5 stupid students who forgot to put their names on them. I know this seems harsh, but it’s the cardinal rule IF YOU WANT A GRADE!!
  • While listening to a student painfully stutter out her perspective of Rapunzel at English Corner, I quoted in my head, “T-t-t-today Junior!” from Billy Madison and laughed out loud, which in turn made everyone look at me.
  • I frequently apologize to my Chinese teacher because I know exactly how she feels towards the end of our 2 hour lesson, tired and ready to get the heck outta there.
  • Midterm is when I feel finished, June 15 is when I’m actually finished.
  • I turned in my syllabus almost 2 weeks late, and it wasn’t even the school that reminded me. I was cleaning my computer and noticed last semester’s syllabus, to which I replied “Oh crap! That was due, like, 2 weeks ago!” LOL!
  • I made a very easy-to-grade test so as not to take up too much time because I care more about the Men’s Olympic Weightlifting Olympic Trials this week than anything else in this world, including my students. I’m actually attending the competition. It is going to be OFF THE CHAIN! (I just squealed thinking about it!)
  • I got so mad today I almost threw a book. LOL! See, most of my students can’t pass with just tests (I think that’s pretty clear from my “Hilarious Answers” posts.) so being the nice teacher I am, I give them stupid easy homework assignment and pop quizzes in class to make easy 100’s to help bring up their grade. Yesterday I gave an in class assignment of writing a memo…IN CLASS, not homework, AND I let them work with partners. I saw one group who had already turned theirs in to me working on another so I ask, “What are you doing? I have yours already.” She laughs and points to the next group over. “You’re doing theirs for them?! Are they paying you?!” as I grab the paper and wad it up. Everyone in each party received a 0. I wasn’t even grading them. I was correcting them and giving a 100 in my grade book just for doing it and these lazy donkeys couldn’t even do that!! I was beyond angry. The frustrating part is, the school leaves it on the teacher to pass all his/her students. So if they don’t pass your class, you have to make another test until they pass. THIS PERPETUATES STUPIDITY and laziness because they know in the end they’ll get through regardless if they tried, cheated or not! You gotta let them fail sometimes!
  • I love teaching.
  • As I’m grading I find myself saying, “Well, she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed”.
  • Sometimes I give quizzes in class because I think, “What the crap am I gonna talk about for an hour and a half?!”
  • I cross-stitched for, like, 10 hours this weekend.
  • I also watched YouTube videos of Olympic Weightlifting for, like, 10 hours this weekend.
  •  I prepared for this week’s classes for, like, 45 min….same weekend.

To be continued…

China’s 2012 Olympic Trials: Men’s Weightlifting

I got to attend China’s Olympic Trials for Men’s Olympic Weightlifting. It lasted 4 days, but since China dominates in the lower half of the all the weight classes, it was ok that I had to miss the last day due to teaching. These three days were the best days of my entire life. LOL! A strong statement, I know. That’s why I said it. Here are my pics. I erased a ton because they all look so similar and since I don’t use a big fancy camera, a lot were blurry. Enjoy!

I’m currently watching the USA’s 2012 National University Championships live via web and can’t help but think, “Seriously? That’s nothing compared to what I just witnessed”. My standard’s a bit higher due to China. Everything else is boring now. LOL! I got lazy with this post so didn’t comment on all photos, partly because I just don’t remember.

I had to teach the night of the 77Kg A Group, but watched in on tv after class. It was insane! Here’s what happened. I don’t know know old Lu Haojie is, but can’t be older than 20. Crazy!

A Simple Memo

The past few days in class we’ve been covering the skill of writing. Most of my students are trying to pass a test called CET4 in which they’ll receive a certificate (if passed), giving them better job possibilities and even higher testing options should they choose to keep excelling in English. Most of my students haven’t passed this test even though they’ve taken it 2 or 3 times. I’ve always known their English was poor, but I thought, “Surely it can’t be that hard of a test. They’re reading and listening skills aren’t so bad.”

Today I found out the answer to my wonderment: the writing skill, of which none of them have an ounce of. I let them write a memo with a partner in class today. After a full lesson on how to do it, step by step, they had their chance at it. Here are some of the papers I received. I have included all errors.

I'm surprised they don't just grab a used tissue and write it on that.

(The book) Question 46: Your department has just received several large new orders. The company has decided to ask everyone in the department to work five extra hours per week. Write a memo to all staff in the department: explaining the situation, saying when overtime will begin, and asking the staff to work overtime. Write 30-40 words. (I’m not sure how this could be more clear.)

“I have to tell all dept staff a bad news. Aco According to the development needs of the company, this week. I s started company needs a daily one hour of overtime. I hope you we can coperate and understand. thank You”

Our company has a good Due to the competition of from other company, Our company developed rapidly. under the command of our company. everyone need to work five extra hours per week, and the order will begin on from this wee Friday. I look forward to your understanding.”

“Because of we took a holiday in last week, so we must to overtime very day in this week. please inform each other, don’t absent. thanks” (Who said anything about a holiday?)

“We are attending a conference about producing 100 pairs of shoes All dept staff have to work overtime. Could you please tell all dept. staff we have to work overtime? And overtime will begin on 14-18 May.” (The memo is TO all dept staff. Who is “you”, and why are you asking him/her to tell everyone? And who said anything about a conference for producing 100 pairs of shoes? Just Say No!)

“Today, we d have received several large new orders. So everyone should have 5 extra hours per week. The start time is April 10. The overtime is April 16.” (Ok, we need to define “overtime” again.)

I no longer wonder why they can’t pass CET4.

China’s Spring Break

Tomb Sweeping Festival: I learned nothing because the family I stayed with doesn’t participate in it. Fine by me! We had a great time! I went to Zhangzhou with my (favorite) student, stayed with her family, enjoyed ridiculous amounts of professional level Chinese cuisine made by her mom and sat and watched the social interactions between family members. XiaoFen (Little fragrance, isn’t that a cute name?) is very lucky. She has a wonderful, healthy, stable family. It was a great trip! I’ll let the pictures help me explain.