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American Spirit & Chinese Traditions -- Shirley's America Travel Diary 107 & 498th Friendly Greeting - Oct 11, 2015

How are you? Is everything doing well with you?

On my side, it is another touching week and the easiest weekend in my current American travel.

-- Until Thursday, Oct 8, 2015, by the good support of 3 local K-12 private Schools and the seriously organized jobs of Mrs. Glad Eyerman, I have given 55 lessons for free to more than 1,000 person times on Chinese Poetry with music and picture and two kinds of Traditional Chinese Paintings (Chinese Baimiao and Chinese Xiyi) at St. Elizabeth Anne Seton School (15 lessons), Immaculate Conception School (34 lessons) and St. Agnes School (4 lessons) already. If there is no anything special, I will complete another 14 or 16 lessons and complete all teaching jobs in my this travel in the USA.

Though I have been quite busy and extremely fatigue since I started the teaching work, I was so happy as soon as I went among these so lovely teenagers. Especially when I saw their talent and intelligence behind their first Chinese paintings, I could not help smiling and as every teacher in the world, I do want to give my knowledge and skills to those work hard with extraordinarily intelligent students as much as possible.

With a very harmonious cooperation with Mrs. Glad Eyerman and her students, this week, I have given 17 lessons to 17 groups of students and also I have gotten many applauses after completing a Chinese painting in the classroom as similar as after singing a Chinese poem song in the first weeks...

A touched thing was in a dinning room of a School, an elder lady especially came to Mrs. Glad and me and told us that her grandson who is studying in the school very enjoying our lessons and she would just like us to know the news...

-- Until Friday, Oct 9, 2015, I have checked over 100 houses online, went to 11 of them outside and 6 of them inside. By the good help of my new agent Mr. John Walker, my former classmate Mr. Zhu Bin and his wife – May who was majored in English, I signed two contracts and gave a new offer on Saturday, Oct 9, 2015 and on Sunday, Oct 10, the seller has accepted my offer. Now I have started to work on connecting an inspector for the inspection.

If there is nothing special, one of my work goals within the first 3 years of my 10-year plan (2015 to 2017) will be realized partly. I will have a true foothold and my little cross-cultural and comprehensive art project will have a true base in the USA.

I used the word “ partly ”, because the beautifully little house is smaller than my anticipation and the two ones that I had missed in Sept; its height can also not contain all my big size paintings. However, I do enjoy its charming feature, good geographical position and possible development room. It has also given me a new subject to re-design the size and height of my art works, to made them more reasonable in my target market. After all, most of the local resident houses cannot cover the height of my current big size painting works.

-- Until next Tuesday, Oct 12, I should be able to go back OTC to continue my English lessons, each day for 4 hours. Now I have just attended 10 hours / 50 hours so that I had been warned by the computer system for I am the student who ust attended lessons for 10 hours.

Anyway, it did not know the opportunity cost of my 10 lessons was about 300 US dollars for taking taxi while giving up lunches for I had not any time to eat. Though I carried 2 eggs in my bag often, but I had only once opportunity to eat them at about 1.30pm in the past 3 weeks.

However, in my heart, there is still full of the appreciations to OTC and my English teacher Mrs. Vicki and Mrs. whom I do not know her name for their good jobs. Because, just in the little time I have caught between 2nd and 3rd lessons when I had 4 lessons (I did not have any time to go to OTC when I had 5 lessons), some mistakes which I had not realized for many years have been corrected and some problems that had confused me for a long time have been resolved. For example, first time, I knew that I should say “ Not Any Something” and “No Something... ”

In the past week, what most touched me was the extremely responsible work attitude and the high work efficiency of my second agent Mr. John Walker. Via the short work with him, not only have my work goal on founding a base for my cross-cultural and comprehensive art project had a stridden forward, but also, it has given me an opportunity to understand something more about American property industry, to know the different work styles, work attitudes and the sense of responsibility between different agents. To understand more about the American Spirit in this field…

Can you imagine? I just wrote to him ( for his name on the card by a house ) online Sunday night, I got his telephone call Monday morning, and I was picked up from the school I worked into his office to check data Tuesday afternoon, and then I was picked up to check the houses on the list one by one. No matter they were empty or there were someone living in, no matter it was a black basement or a bright attic , Mr. John Walker went to each part to check every thing carefully, from the windows, doors, cabinets, to the slope, the sheaves, every corner and every thing... just like it was him who was the buyer. Many times, he checked a house carefully much more than I did.

As a foreigner who does not have a good English level, what most touched me was: Mr. John Walker listened to my every words very carefully, seriously and patiently. Many times, for a term of property which I could not understand, he tried to explain for me so many times, sometimes maybe more than 10 times, until I understood it totally.

Sometimes, I just asked a question casually, he remembered it into his mind. For example, when I asked how much to paint the house this day, then I got the price about it next day. When I said I needed a garage on the first day, then I got a cheapest price on a piece of paper with size, materials and picture next day. And at the first munities I met him, I found two piece of paper which was his notes on what I had talked over the first phone call…

So, when I worked with Mr. John Walker, I did have a sense of safety. Because I was sure this agent was helping his client with his 120% sincerity and effort base on the client’s interesting.

Therefore, base on the total trust to Mr. John Walker, I signed the contract on Friday, Oct 9,2015 and the buyer accepted my offer on Saturday, Oct 10, 2015.

Oh, when I was writing here in the early morning of Sunday, at about 4:49am, I could not help thinking of the other gentleman, Mr. Ton Hasehorst, his manager Ms. Leann and their good help ( especially they ranted me a lovely one bedroom apartment for helping me to reduce the cost of waiting for the house I had given an offer on Sept 1, but could not be sold and did not know when it would be able to be sole... and they did not charge me one coince when I had to move out just had moved into it for one day... because of my allergy ) once more, I felt Missouri people’s sincerity and kindness. It has really helped me to know more about American agents who are working in the property field. And from the continuous letters from the manager of the company Mr. Denial Call, and the responsible work of Mr. John Walker, I started to know why their company could create the best achievement in the South West of Missouri and be listed on the 17th in the American property industry.

Also when I am writing this article, in my mind often there is the feature of Mrs. Glad Eyerman who is the art teacher and my work partner at the 3 schools.

Can you imagine? During we worked together with a so fast speed, Mrs. Glad Eyerman did not only need to arrange my working schedule among more than 20 classes in the 3 schools, gave me a ride, looked after my water or lunches, but also, she had to look after her 4 children. Especially last week, her youngest daughter hurt herself in the school, she worked for her daughter in the nights and worked in the day time with me...

Though she worked under a big pressure, still she kept going to the school at 7:30am to prepare everything we need. Many time, when I went into the classroom, she had cut the paper ok, put the felt pan, paper, brushes, colors and water ok for every student.

What most touched me was: She worked so serious, within just 5 or 3 minutes before another group of students came into the classroom, or I finished a demonstration, always it was she who quickly changed the water, color boxes, brushes, paper and everything for the other group of students... she did not even want next group of her students to use the "dirty" color dishes or water that had been used by the last group of students...

Along with time, after looking after how she works in the classrooms with my own eyes, there are more and more appreciations and respect to her in my heart. Truly, if there were no her so much effort, I would not be able to do any thing.

The responsible agent work of Mr. John Walker, the excellent teaching jobs of Mrs. Glad Eyerman and the kind help of Mr. Ton Hasehorst and Ms.Leann has really brought me a lot of new thoughts about American Spirit. Maybe a part of it is just: kindness, honesty, sincerity, sense responsibility, working hard and service the others with 120% effort… ? Can you tell me more about it?

Meanwhile, when I am thinking of something about American spirit while I am thinking something about Chinese traditions. In my heart is full of the appreciations to my 59 Chinese professors and tutors in Beijing. Just because of they have given me a good education for 5 years, in my mind is full of the Chinese traditions, I mean how to study and teach Chinese paintings with Chinese traditions.

Different from my teaching style years ago, now I am trying to lead my students to see and to learn something best in the history of China, such as to teach them to learn a Song Density’s art works which is the highest art achievement in Chinese history (I had bought and I would deliver much more the most excellent Chinese art works in the history after I have my own house), let foreign students to touch something best at the beginning they touched Chinese culture and arts.

Even though I had re-painted for 13 years and studied in the best Chinese art school and the highest Chinese art research organization for 5 years and painted 1,050 paintings already, before giving a demonstration on a piece of small paper for my students, still I painted 13 times with different pictures on different paper, with different sizes and colors. What I wanted to do is to lead my students going into the nature, to learn from the nature, to learn from those excellent tradition and views... for example, I asked them to go back home to see what colors on the top of the leaves of flowers. I told them: if you paint two flowers, try to let them talking each other; if you paint 3 flowers, try to imagine they are in a same a family... except following my technique and work steps, never following what I have painted , but develop their own imagination... then you can see a very little part of their art works that my American students have done within 25 to 30 minutes...

When you see these little paintings by my American students, can you believe they are the first Chinese paintings by those so young kids who just touched a Chinese brushers first time?

To be honest, when I saw their so good works and so many smiles of my students... I did feel that so much of my limited save and pession was spent on buying paper, brushers, felt pans, delivering them from Beijing to Springfield, MO, USA and the travels; to be punished for the overweight luggage at the Hong Kong Airport, missed the seond airplane at Chicago, and so much suffering for finding a living place, no time to eat lunches... the so hard study life in Beijing for 5 years and the volunteer work in the USA for 6 years are all worth...

I do think, at the same time I would like to learn something excellent in the USA, I can never forget those most excellent Chinese traditions. Such as the traditions in Chinese painting's learning and teaching fields. Do you think so?

This week, especially in the process of finding and buying a house, I did have a strong feeling: My English is really too poor. To be honest, if there were no my classmate Mr. Zhu Bin and his wife Mrs. May’s help, if there were no Mr. John Walker and May explained the two contracts with more 33 pages for me one line by one line for about 4 hours, I would not really be able to sign them and then to buy a house at all.

Therefore, I will certainly cherish my luck that can live and work in the USA right now, try to study as more as possible and try to improve my English as much as possible.

My closest target is to pass the Training of OTC for becoming their instructor; and then to take part in the Chinese National English Examination in May, 2016 once more for entering the next step of my study at Chinese National Academy of Arts -- writing dissertation and getting my second master degree.

How about you? Do you have anything special to share?

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