April 27, 2007

A Day with the Governor

Hey Friends and Family,

Finally at the end of another work week. I think I am still getting used to this 40 hour thing. Kealy finishes up her three weeks of full time teaching and we have a fun-filled weekend ahead. Looking forward to the WOU Alumni game and some guitar hero/ping pong/Halo with some guys tonight hopefully.

Anyways, thought I would post some pics from Wednesday, April 25th, here at the capital. While working here, I have had the chance to join a group which is led by Senator Jason Atkinson and which is basically a forum to take a closer look into the innerworkings of Oregon state government and politics. On Wednesday we had the most distinguished guest so far, the honorable Governor Ted Kulongoski. The Governor took time out of his busy schedule to sit and talk candidly with 20 of us for about an hour, sharing his story of getting involved in politics and how technology and 'blogging' will shape the future of politics and campaigns. He was very open and honest and even stayed for an additional twenty minutes when his assistant told him he had to go to another appointment. It was a privilege to get to speak with him and spend time in a less formal occassion talking with him. Working at the capital has been such a great chance to meet and learn from people who have great insight and wisdom and are shaping the future of Oregon. I have learned some good leadership skills, as well as things not to do, and had the chance to search my own values and morals and lay them up against what the world is striving for. Anyways, here's some cool pics:

We all tried to squeeze in to fit into the picture, some of our heads are barely visible. This is the majority of the staff that I get a chance to work with each day. There are bright and hard working. Senator Atkinson is on the far left and Kulongoski is center.

I also had the honor of presenting the Governor with an honorary button from our secret society.

Anyways, looks like the contract will come through soon. Just have to fax them our passport information so they can make sure we really are Americans. Thanks for watching...

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

April 25, 2007

How about some more info?

Hey Friends and Family,

The first couple postings were pretty brief, I was excited to try this thing out! I thought I could try posting a couple of more pictures of where we are going to be teaching at so I could practice posting pictures. We had a great time with the Mid-High kids last night and they were really supportive when we told them we were heading to China. We are still waiting to hear back from the university with final contract information and from WOU on the visa and ticket, but its only been a day. It is hard waiting around and not being able to do anything but I suppose it is good practice in patience. Plus Kealy and I are so busy doing other things right now that it is probably good.
This kind of gives you an idea of where Nanning is on the map. We are close to Vietnam and the South China Sea which is cool, maybe we'll even get over to the Phillipines. Its only three inches away on the map, shouldn't take too long.

A lot of Guangxi (the province/state where Nanning is the capital) is made up of a lot of minorities and has a lot of different cultures within the overall Chinese culture. Because of its tropical location, villages and rice farming districts are prevalent outside of the city. Our university is within the city limits of Nanning and so we won't be in these rural areas, but we won't be far from them either.

The city of Nanning is a city of about 1 million people, a small city in China, and is nicknamed
'The Green City' I think because of its tropical climate and that the foliage is year round. The President of WOU said that the smog/pollution was almost non-existent in the city and the university is located in an 'environmental, economic' zone, so hopefully that will make the air even cleaner but I know that we are spoiled here in Oregon where the air is so fresh.

The skyline is beautiful and it looks like a really exciting city to explore so hopefully we will be able to go into the city often.

The food will be another interesting adventure. Dog and Snake are the delicacy meat, so watch out Fido, but there are a lot of chicken and beef dishes, with lots of vegetables. There are many different kinds of fruit that we will be able to try as well, probably better than here in America, where we usually get the leftovers from other countries.

Guess I better learn how to use chopsticks...Hopefully my lovely wife will teach me.

This is another kind of fruit that sounds really exciting called a lychee. It is a top produce in Nanning and I am really looking forward to trying it.

They look like strawberries on a tree...yum.

Anyways, I hope this was interesting for anybody that wants to take a look and learn more about what/where we will be. You can send me an e-mail at ryan.thorson@state.or.us if you have any comments or ideas about what to post or questions you have about Kealy and I's future plans. Thanks.


Ryan and Kealy Thorson

We're Heading to China

Hey Friends and Family,

This is our first posting and I have just set up this 'blog' account. I am totally new at this, but hopefully it will be a great way to stay in touch as we prepare and are in Nanning, China. Hopefully we have had a chance to contact most of you by now but if not, Kealy and I have accepted a chance to teach english at the Guangxi DongFang Foreign Language College (that's a mouthful) in Nanning, China. It is a tropical region with apparently, a lot of mosquitoes. It is still hitting us that we will be spending a year in a foreign country, but we are very excited. Hopefully we will have a chance to contact each of you in person and share more about what our experience will be like and, with the help of modern technology, stay in contact with you and keep you informed of what is going on. So here it goes...