International Travels & Services

A Hard Trave & A Delight Teaching -- Shirley's 594th Friendly Greeting & American Travel - Nov 16, 2019

Hi,Dear Friends

How are you?

Today, Nov 15, 2019(American time), I have been in the USA for 16 days in my 10th American travel. I am going to offer 94 lessons in 4 K-12 Schools and have a communication at Ava Art Guild Nov 4, 2019 to Feb 12, 2020. Until Nov 15, 2019, I have completed 35 of the lessons. 

Anyway, this is the most difficult travel of mine between China and the US within the past 11 years. 

I started the travel at 6:00am, Oct 31, 2019 and arrived at Hong Kong International Airport at 7:15am, then, 3 surprised things happened: 

m768_1.jpg--First of all, those original luggage carts which were lined up outside the airport weren't there and all passengers couldn't enter the airport freely until going through a security check…It was so hard for me to carry 3 pieces of luggage with 2 hands... in case the 2 big suitcases with 4 wheels, I had to draw the smaller suitcase and one of the big suitcases with my hands and kicked the 3rd one with my feet... 

-- Finally when I entered the airport and found a hand luggage cart to carry my luggage to the counters of the United Airline to check in, a worse thing came to me: my flight from Hong Kong to Chicago was cancelled. Oh! My God! I bought the tickets 3 months ago, and I didn’t get any inform until I arrived at the airport. No way, I could only follow the arrangement of the United Airlines: fly from Hong Kong to SF, from SF to Denver, then from Denver to my destination.

-- Then I was punished 400 USD for my overweight luggage before the long distance travel was started. 

And since then, I had been suffering a quite big psychology pressure and worrying about the time: there was only less than 2 hours at the airport of SF, whether it was enough for me to go through the customs and to carry my luggage from International flight to the national flight, then to pass the national security check and catch the 2nd flight and then the 3rd flight at Denver Airport? 

Luckily, I arrived in my destination on the planned day though it was later for 4 hours. An old friend who and his missionaries taught me Bible 2008 to 2009 – Mr. John David Lawson picked up me at the airport on Oct 31 (American time) and then to pick up me once more to buy a new cell phone and made an appointment with At &T on Nov 1 for installing internet in my house on Nov 5.

There were two pities in the follow time:

-- Although I had paid $100 to keep my telephone number for 1 year before I left for China in June, 2018, buy I couldn’t pay another extra fee for my coming back later, so that my cell phone number was given another person when I was at At & T on Nov1, 2019.

-- I missed a call maybe from At & T at about 2:30pm on Nov 5 during I was offering a lesson in the classroom. Then there was no anyone coming to install internet at my house at 4:00pm. So, I called the customer center of At & T at 5:00pm and the next day and also called back the missed call 8 times as soon as I found the missed phone call… instead of getting an answer from the latter or got a solution from the former, I was asked a lot of personal information so that I didn't feel normal. Therefore as soon as I finished the teaching jobs, I went to go to the local At & T store that had made the appointment for me on Nov 1st. Then I just knew the reason: the clerk who served me on the day wrote my name wrong in their system so that my true information couldn’t be trusted by their system and their customer center. 

The worst thing was that they had cancelled my appointment on Nov 5, and wouldn’t be able to install my internet until Nov 11st during the business time so that I decided to refuse the new appointment with At&T. Then I called Mediacom by the good help of Mrs. Glad Eyerman as soon as we finished the jobs Nov 8 and I got the internet connection on Nov 9, though the fixed process was kept for 5 hours for I met a fresh technologist and he said many times "Thanks you for your patient..." :-) 

Contrary to the hard travel, my teaching jobs in the first local 3 K-12 Schools since Nov 4 have been done smoothly and well by the good directions and help of my work partner Mrs. Glad Eyerman and their principals -- Mrs. Jenny Pendleton and Mrs. Paige Duda of Immaculate Conception School, Dr. Cheryl Hall of Elizabeth Ann Seton School, and Mrs. Lindsay Paulsell of St. Agnes School,

We decided to continue our cooperation since 2015 before I left for China in June, 2018; then I was given the title “Guest (Chinese) Art Teacher” of 4 k-12 Schools of Springfield, MO in August, 2019. The 4th one is St. Joseph Catholic School.

So, as soon as I arrived in Springfield, both of Mrs. Glad Eyerman and I met each other and refined our work schedule... 
Since Nov 4 to 14, we have offered 35 lessons for 20 classes, about 700 person-time... respectively, students have learned to read, recite and sing 4 Chinese ancient poems in Tang Dynasty (618-907) or Qing Dynasty (1636-1911), painted 2 landscapes, 3 flower and bird paintings, stories behind of the poems and touched some important cultural phenomenon relate to Chinese literati paintings…… 

I am quite glad for we are doing our best and working with a good match each other, to develop and extend what I have been thinking and exploring for helping non-Chinese speakers to learn something most excellent in Chinese culture which has lasting for 5,000 years more naturally, easily and artistically…

For example, for just teaching students a branch of plum blossom painting, before I make a demonstration for the students, Mrs. Glad offered the data from my book with a Chinese poem on plum blossoms with pinyin and translation in English on the projector, while I lead students to read, recite, sing the poem and do the demonstration, Mrs. Glad Eyerman prepared the ink, paper and brushers for her students, when I was showing students how to hold, use a Chinese brushers and the principles of Chinese paintings and the techniques, she did some explanation duly…And every morning, we went to the classroom about 30 to 60 minutes earlier than our students, when I was hanging up my paintings and teaching data on the white board, she was copying data from the text books I have bought from China, which was made by the ancient Chinese masters or were created by me and my professors together… Really, now, here, my own publications, which were published in 2013 and 2018, during my study in Chinese National Academy of Arts with painting, music and poems have developed their functions… 

Since what we are doing is something creative and pioneering, no one taught us how to do it. So, as soon as we found what we have designed before the lesson was no suitable for the students, quickly we adjust our original plan and tried to find some best way to help them. 

For example, when I taught students to paint a branch of plum blossom, at first, I showed them how to paint a while plum blossoms, then I found it was a little difficult for my American students who just touched a Chinese brusher to paint the lines, then quickly, I changed the painting to be a branch of red plum blossoms. And for helping students understood this kind of flowers are woody, instead of herbaceous and it is the earliest flowers which open in the snow, wind and rain… especially, I painted a big red plum blossom painting 240cm x 70cm (94.48inches x 27.55inches ) before we started to paint the red plum blossoms, to help students understanding its special excellent qualities and why it is admired by Chinese for a few thousand years, and even has developed a special plum blossom culture… 

And when I taught landscape, not only have I offered students some necessary technique, but also and more, I tried to show something in our ancient art theory, to express the change, comparison, relation and communications among all things we would like to paint, to open students’ mind and their way to think…

For example, when I paint a big tree, I would certainly paint a smaller one, and the big one always carries the smaller one, just like a parent is carrying her child, the smaller one always follow the big one, just like a child follow their parent or elder brother… every branch should certainly have some communications, just like people hand by hand, talk each other… since trees are something vertical lines, then the houses and the land are horizontal lines, since some leaves are long, another leaves should be short, since some leaves are upright, another leaves can be horizontal, since there are leaves on some trees, then someone else can not have leaves… then, I really found that my young American students could quickly do their best and did something better than many adults… I mean to catch the “Taste of a Chinese painting.”

What my students have done and their enthusiasm on learning Chinese culture, especially poetry, music and paintings have really encouraged me so much, and you can not imagine how some students helped me to develop my teaching work? Even, they helped me to design the activities to express the meaning of a poem… with some dance styles… :-) And often, some students asked me to sing a Chinese poem, so, now, since I came back to Springfield, I have recovered to practice my voice (following my music professor’s directions and piano each morning).

What makes me touched is my American work partner Mrs. Glad Eyerman, she has really done her best to help me and look after me (every morning, at 7:15am, she comes to my house to pick up me and every afternoon, she sent me back home after our work, and every noon, she accompanies to take my lunch and then to send back the plate to their dining hall… even though her daughter was sick, asked her husband to look after her, she still worked with me… when I hang up the paintings in the morning, she copies the data; when I could not speak clearly in English, she explained for me; when I was doing a demonstration, she prepared ink or colors for each students…), both of us have really had a good match on developing our cooperation together… so that one day, an stranger lady teacher lapped my shoulder and said “My two grandchildren were so excited after having your lessons…” and another lady teacher specially came to our classroom and said “You both are so talent… ”

So, really, I had a hardest travel and have had one of the best beginning, a delight teaching and working experiences in the first 3 American K-12 schools… 

Along with the work’s going forward, the wish to improve my English has become stronger, so, I have registered for an English Examination on Nov 22 for taking part in another English Training at the interval of my teaching jobs…

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

Notes: Photo 1 is my American work partner Mrs.Glad Eyerman and me .The other photos were a part of my students and their Chinese painting assignments.



Shirley's Art Works 1562- Integrated Art 112: Painting for Chinese Classical Poem: Bu Suan Zi -Yong Mei- by Mao Zedong--Shirley's Xieyi 862nd & 699th Assignment of CNAA -My 149th Painting in the USA--Nov 12,2019 

Sincerely, I am just a student on Arts of Painting, Music, English and Management,and work on the web site in my free time. I would really like to do something with what I have learned, to make this little web site to be a little Electronic Bridge of Cross -cultural and Comprehensive Art Study and Chinese Language Learning, to help the others while to improve myself. 

I would like to appreciate you for your good understanding, directions, supports and help. 

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you are welcome to write or leave your message on Message Board

Shirley Yiping Zhang

Nov 16, 2019(American Time)


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