Thought for the Day: The biggest room

“The biggest room is —

the room for improvement.”

We all have work to do.

  • quotation from The Bali Advertiser, 14-28, Sept. 2016, p. 35.

Aloha, Renée



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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

2 responses to “Thought for the Day: The biggest room”

  1. Rosita says :

    Good quote! World has still many things to improve, I agree. Specially in Latin American, Asian and African nations. I know ’cause I live in Brasil. Here’s full of political instability, apart from a huge contrast between the poor and the rich, without counting increasing criminality. Sometimes I feel ashamed of being Brazilian ’cause both local and international media divulges more bad than positive news about my country…how proud do yuh feel on being Hawaiian belonger? Should I be proud of being Brazilian? If yah, why?
    Hope y’all are fine,

    • reneeriley says :

      Well, you are now talking to someone from the U.S. Among other military fronts, we have been in Afghanistan for the last 16 years. 😦 Our gap between the super-rich and everyone else is growing. And now Donald Trump was elected. We aren’t a true democracy where the majority wins, but a representative government. Trump is mainly appointing people who don’t “believe” in global warming or don’t “believe” in public education. If you are a minority in the U.S. it is especially hard to change economic status – but it is possible for a few. So I have really mixed feelings about being American. Although female, I was able to go to university – and pay my own way and get good professional jobs. I know I am blessed. But I’m certainly not happy about some of my government’s choices and actions. Although I am a Mainland haole and can never be Hawaiian, I do like many of the native Hawaiian values of aloha and family and living in harmony with nature. So I am happy to be living in this state. You too can be proud to be a Brazilian – for all the good things that happen there, and you can be part of the good things that happen in the future. Aloha, Renee

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