Wednesday, March 04, 2015


A backroad on Hong Kong Island, June 2014.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


During June 2014 I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and went to a diner for a late breakfast. Then I saw the cat. Perched upon a table. Pretty cute. Not very sanitary, but very cute.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Looking back

Well, here in Texas things have been a little rough during February with chemo, hospitalization, blah, blah, blah. So I began looking back at some of my old photos and realized there are quite a few stories I never told you about from the Middle Kingdom. I'll try to post some as I can.

Last summer, the dean of one of the top music conservatories in the country asked me if I would teach English to his music professors. The very talented musicians could participate in more international music exchanges and competitions if they could speak English. He wanted me to give them a test at the beginning of our class to determine their level. The poor lady in the navy dress above hardly knows a word of English, and she felt humiliated. I even gave her an easier test with pictures on it. I felt sorry for her. She's a musician, not a linguist, and she's not used to being bad at anything. She grew up when English was not a part of the school curriculum. The younger teachers had all studied English before.

I asked the teachers not to look at each other's papers, and you can see from looking at the photos above that they conscientiously followed my instructions. "Exam" and "not cheating" just don't seem to go together well in some places around the world. Fortunately, this was not intended to be a serious accredited English class.

While they were cheating, I figured I might as well look out the window and take some photos. The university is on the outskirts of town in older buildings near the elegant green mountains. It was beautiful to me.

The teachers were all very kind and warm-hearted. I knew it was going to be a great experience and that I was going to establish some excellent new friendships.

Their placement exam took place right before summer break. I was supposed to actually start teaching them in September in two different classes (one for beginners). But life changed around September and I never got a chance to teach these classes. I put the conservatory in touch with someone else who might be able to help them. It was all I could do. I hope I get to visit those teachers again some day.