A Move, More Visitors, and Spring in China

New students--new term: Vera, Rachel, and Amerlia

There are good reasons why you haven’t found many entries for our blog recently.   We have been busy with the beginning of a new term, several visitors, and our biggest excuse, the need to move quickly during the fourth week of this spring term.

The move was a big surprise for us–and probably for the dean in whose apartment we’ve been living since August.  He and his family are in California where he is working on his Ph.D.  He has been ordered to return to ZAFU as part of the reorganization  of the university.

My last class of the week finishes at noon on Thursday.  So on the first week that Barry was back from Bali, we needed to be out by that Friday for the imminent return of the dean and his family.  At least we didn’t move to our 5th floor (really 6th floor since they don’t count the ground floor) choice, which was my first idea because it has the better view of the mountains and into Lin’an, a heat lamp for the shower, light wood floors that don’t show the dust, less convenient access for robbers, and a double bed instead of bunk beds for the second bedroom.

Barry’s rational mind and the condition of his knees prevailed since there is no elevator in the building.  Instead we are now on the first floor–and do now have hot water in the kitchen and bathroom taps and heater/airconditioners in both bedrooms and the living room!   We are able to make the apartment ours in a way we weren’t able to in the dean’s apartment.  And we got to raid the 5th floor apartment (for the microwave and an end table) and the storage area (for a 2nd desk, a bookcase, an end table, and a little table and chairs for our deck so we can have meals out there when it gets warmer).  We like it.  The big hassle was the cleaning since no one had lived here for over a year.  But we are in.

We had our first guest in our new apartment two weeks ago: our friend Melinda from Maui who is now teaching at a tourism school in Shanghai came for a visit.

Of course, we took her into Hangzhou.

Melinda in Hangzhou

At West Lake

Spring is coming in Hangzhou


Melinda and Barry on He Fang Street with its old China shops. Melinda bought a flute.

Barry drinking tea at the Chinese medicinal herb shop where Mao got his medicine

We ate in the street food alley where you can get everything from crab to dumplings and noodles

We plan to visit Melinda soon in Shanghai.

Last weekend, for the  Chinese Tomb Sweeping Festival, Satina came.  We first met her in a village outside Chengdu,  China, in 2003, when she was teaching in a college for minority east Tibetans. She is now teaching in Chengzhou, a 90-minute trip from Shanghai.  This is her second visit with us.

On a cold, rainy night playing Mexican Train, a game that Satina had brought with her.

Village right outside our campus

We walked through the village next to our campus to the reservoir.

The village is affluent with big houses and gardens

Blooming bean plants

And of course, we took Satina into Hangzhou on a perfect spring day, but that is the topic of our next blog.

So our guest room has been tested and approved for your use if ever you get this way.  We would love to have you visit.

And the dean and his family?  They are not back yet  :).  Aloha, Renee


About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

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