Good Morning wonderful people.

My day just started on a very unique, but wonderful note.

Right now I am in finals mode for my oral English classes. They have to do a five minute interview with me covering the basic lessons that we have learned in class this semester. They have all gone pretty smoothly, but I have had a few surprises. One of them includes my senior class where mysteriously four new students appeared! They have not been to a single class but decided to show up for the final. Unfortunately I cannot fail them, but what was more infuriating was that their English level was quite strong. Uhhh the surprises of second-language learning


My two freshman classes have two classes a week with me: oral English and Western culture. We have already finished our oral English interviews, so yesterday we just had to finish the written Western culture exam. It went quite well (side note: my freshman are awesome), so that meant we would not have to have class on the last scheduled day: this Tuesday morning.

Wonderful stuff for Sam. A typical Monday -Thursday involves me waking up at 5:30 a.m so this morning I was able to sleep in. Yaaaaaay!

One thing I totally forgot about until 8:55 a.m Tuesday morning….. When I arrive back home on Tuesday nights, my room is suddenly all sparkly and clean. Even my bed is actually made! What Chinese magic does this??

A knock on my door quickly answered my suspicions. I hastily threw on a pair of gym shorts and a tank top to answer the door to two lovely middle-age Chinese women. Immediately they came in and started asking me why I am not teaching (they already know I am a teacher). As we are speaking, and by speaking I mean they are saying long-winded questions/statements to me and I am replying with three to eight word sentences, she hands me a mop to start cleaning my floor. They do not care I am a college teacher; right now I am just a boy who slept too late


I tell them that my mom and sister  妈妈和妹妹 are coming to China next week! They were so excited and so curious. Successive questions followed asking how old they are, what they do, why they are coming to China, etc. Remember, all of this is happening while WE are cleaning together.

After they finished mopping my floor, one of the ladies is on the phone talking Chinese super fast. We said our goodbyes and they left the room. Soon after they leave, I get another knock on the door. This time two middle-aged men walk in and bring new light bulbs! The ladies must have noticed mine were old and asked for them to be replaced. After the light bulbs were replaced, they started fixing my table that has been broken for too long. So happy.

My morning quickly turned from irritation for getting woken up to gratefulness for their kindness. A simple conversation made all the difference in the world. These are the reasons why I am trying to learn this complex language and why I am so grateful for the hospitality of Chinese culture.

One of the things that stuck out to me during our 30 minute Chinese conversation lesson was a comment one of the ladies said to me. We had met the third day I had come to China (back in the beginning of Sept.) and she told me how “before my Chinese not so good, now a little better”. It reminded me of how much I have learned in this short amount of time.

A happy (late) New Years to you all. This year has already proposed new challenges and opportunities for me. Take advantage of everything in front of you and live life to the fullest!

I wish you all the best in 2015