a transplanted life in China 

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build a tower

Published on January 15, 2013, by in Teaching.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while; as usual, however, life got in the way and it was delayed. I’ve now done this team-building activity with two different classes, and it proved to be a lot of fun.         The Marshmallow Challenge was created by Tom Wujec, and he describes the activity in a TED2010 Talk [click photo above to view video]. The object of the activity is to enhance group and cooperative learning skills through creativity, planning, trial & error, and problem-solving as a part of a team. It involves building a tower using dry spaghetti, tape, string, and marshmallows. As a bonus, the extra marshmallows provided snacks for instant energy.     Here are some of the photos from my English for Academic Purposes class as they constructed their towers. As it turned out, the students fell in love with the red clothesline string I provided, and used way too much of it. Oh well, I’m not one for strictly following instructions anyway. A few of the students also chose to snack on the spaghetti (uncooked) afterwards, which I didn’t recommend.     After the towers were completed, a committee of judges used a tape measure to determine which one was tallest. Prizes were awarded for height and creativity – one tower was shaped like the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. During the activity I played a mixture of pop, disco, and 70s R&B music for inspiration. If you try this

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night sidewalk

Published on December 23, 2012, by in China, Photography.

 blurred night view, busy sidewalk near the Bell Tower, Xian, November 2012  

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Xian street view

Published on December 15, 2012, by in Photography, Travel.

news stand and passersby, Xian 2012-11-16

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three days in Xian

Published on December 9, 2012, by in China, Photography, Travel.

Bell Tower, Xian   I’ve been sick for about 3 weeks, ever since i got back from Xian. The air quality in Xian seemed to be particularly nasty, resulting in breathing problems and an allergy attack. After my return to Chengdu and a week around students with colds and winter coughs, my allergies turned into a chest cold. I’m starting to recover now, but I’ve pretty much spent my free time in bed, when not working.        crowned head, Muslim quarter, Xian   In Xian, I missed the attraction that the whole world flocks there to see, namely, the Terracotta Warriors. A colleague told me that it was, indeed,  a stupefying sight, thousands upon thousands of silent sentinels, unearthed after a couple of millenia, guarding the tomb of of the Qin emperor who unified China. Next time, for sure.   Muslim restaurant I stayed at the Hantang Inn Hostel my first night – a comfortable and friendly place in an alley near the city center. After walking through the Muslim Quarter and then visiting the Wild Goose Pagoda, I was exhausted. On the way back to the hostel I stopped at a small noodle restaurant and ate the best chicken soup with dumplings of my life. It was a bowl of soup to celebrate and to rhapsodize over, but sadly I never made it back for a second bowl.      Another Muslim restaurant   Getting to the Wild Goose Pagoda was an effort, involving a subway ride

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restaurant in the Muslim quarter, Xian

Published on November 19, 2012, by in China, Travel.

  I just returned from three days in Xian, the ancient capital of China and the eastern terminus of the Silk Road. It was a quick visit, just enough time to sample some of the local food and see a couple of monuments. I’ll post more photos in the days to come.