International Travels & Services

Imagination-- Shirley's America Travel Diary 113 & 504th Friendly Greeting - Nov 23, 2015

How are you? Have you had a good week? Are you enjoying your weekend now?

So far, I have come to Springfield, MO, USA for 3 months and have done 5 things mainly. Besides having an art exhibition, attending English lessons and participating a training, mainly I gave lessons and bought a house as the foothold and the base of my art project in the US.

Until Nov 20, 2015, I have given Chinese poetry course (with music and pictures) and traditional Chinese painting course 77 times for 87 hours for free and offered paper, brushers and felt pans for more than 500 students and more than 1,600 person-times ( include Immaculate Conception School 34 lessons, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School 16 lessons, St. Agnes School 14 lessons; Springfield Park Central Library 10 times for 20 hours and Springfield Library Centre 1 time for 2 hours). Principal Paula Baird, Principal Cheryl Hall and Principal Lindsay Paulsell (she is on the 3rd and 4th photo on the left) have awarded me their Certificates of Appreciations respectively on Oct 12, 22 and Nov 20, 2015.

During this process, many things having been touching me. And this week, I was inspired or touched by my lovely American students and at least 4 of my American friends.

In my last 5 lessons at St. Agnes School on Friday, I did demonstrations 5 times for them. Instead of asking them to follow what I have painted, I encouraged them to look out of the windows and to see the colors of the nature, to design pictures in their own minds, and painted them out with the techniques I had showed them with Chinese tools I have offered to them, to paint anything they wanted in their minds by developing their own imaginations.

After finishing a wonderful painting, most students stood around me to recite the first Chinese poem I had taught them. Many of them wanted to recite it in Chinese and then to sing it in English. Then we said Thank You and Good Bye in Chinese.

I was so tired for the continuously work that I felt my legs straight and my head dizzy in the 4th lesson, and in the 5th lesson, I had to stop for a few minutes for taking some medicine to control my headache in the 5th lesson, in my heart, it was full of the happiness and appreciation when I saw my students’ creations with so rich imagination, got the Certification of Appreciation from their principal and got a card includes all of students’ signatures of a class and two big Chinese words Xiexie -- Thank You.

Meanwhile, I was touched by some good American friends.

-- First of all, Ms. Peggy Hanes and Park Central Library. They did not only sponsored my art exhibition, offered me a place to teach no matter my art exhibition was done in their library or it has been finished, but also, with an open mind, wide chest, they encouraged me to take my team to the library center when they knew the latter had offered me a room to work.

Here are something Ms. Peggy Hanes wrote to me:


Please take your class to what ever library is best for your needs. We are all one library system, and The Library Center has rooms that are perfect for teaching!

Please know that you are welcome here at PRK, but I encourage you to take your class to the library that is best for your students.

Peggy Hanes
Park Central Branch Library
Springfield-Greene County Library

With an appreciated heart, after I have gotten the offer for 2 weeks, on Wednesday of the 3rd week, 12 students and I had the first lesson in the room of the library center.

What Ms. Peggy and the Park Central Library did, has really set up a example that how to treat, help, and support a dreamer with a so sincere heart.

Secondly, Mrs. Carissa Garran (she is on the 12nd photo on the left)– one of my American friend and student. It was she who forwardly connected the library center and to get a room for me to teach; it was she who came to help me to connect Mediacom Company to transfer my internet on Monday; and it was also she who came to help me to move from my rental house to my own house on Wednesday.

Finding her good organization ability and passion for Chinese culture, language and arts, I appointed her as the leader of the team, and by her good work, now my students are getting more and more and be organized very well. Except I still offer brushers and paper, they have started to offer themselves Chinese ink, colors and also one of them kept picking up me on the lesson day.

She is just my new American friend and student-- Mrs. Ellen(she is on the 12nd photo in the blue T-shirt).

Do you know? I had bought a gas stove that was in my house, but, its “Burner Valves on Right Side Leaking Through” on the “Warning Notice of Hazardous Condition” that the utility department gave me Nov 17, before I moved into the house on Nov 18 and they advised me to buy a new one or repair it. So , I tried to order a gas stove online at once, but, it would be delivered to me in 3 or 4 days. No way, I decided to go to buy a new gas stove somewhere. I called my classmate Mr. Zhu Bin but he was in his class. Then, I called Mrs. Ellen.

You cannot imagine how busy Ellen was for she is a wife, mother and a grandmother. But when I called her, without any hesitation, she came to help me in the heavy rain. Because of her good help, my new gas –stove has been fixed in my Kitchen on Friday.

The bad news was:

-- I bought the gas stove with the house together, but it is leaking so that I had to spend time and energy to ask the utility department to check it; then to spend money to buy a new one and to pay for removing the old gas stove away. And I could not cook for 3 days.

-- On the 4th day I lived in the new house, someone damaged one of my locks. It was lucky enough that after I called 911, quickly, an officer Eric Brian from the local police department came to my house. He checked the damaged lock and made a record. He and his colleagues would like to help me to live safely in the USA.

Even though I have met the main purposes of my current travel in the US. Because of my tight schedule, I have not had time to visit 99% of the people I should or plan to visit or meet yet. And I am still on the second week of my training when the others have entered their 4th week already.

Anyway, by the good help of Mrs. Wanda Nava (she is on the 2nd photo on the left)- my former work partner at Seymour R-II School, Nov 19, Thursday, I went to Seymour R- II School the 5th time, to visit Superintendent Bruce Denney (he is on the 2nd photo in the middle) of Seymour R-II School for saying Hello and for continuing the talking that was stopped in Feb, 2014 because Mrs. Wanda Nava was sick and retired ahead. Still I would like to re-start or open the courses: Poetry, Painting, Music – Comprehensive and Artistic Chinese and traditional Chinese painting at their school.

Hopefully, we can re-start the work in Seymour High School according to the letter of Principal Brian Wilbanks days ago.

Can you imagine? In the past 3 months, Mrs. Wanda Nava has come to see me 4 times. Every time, she needed to drive from her husband’s house for 1.5 hours.

To be honest, if I did not get so many good help from the local American friends, I would not be able to do anything. The best return to them, should be my harder work for the local people and for beautifying this world.

So, Wednesday afternoon, after I moved into my new house just for 4 hours, before I have had an idea where I should live and before I have fixed my air-bed yet, I went to the Library Center to give my lessons...

How about you? Do you have anything special to share in the past a week?

comments powered by Disqus