May 23, 2007

Virtual Visa and Political Fifth Graders

Hello Friends and Family,
It has been about a week since the last post. We are having problems loading pictures onto our computer so I'll have to steal some pictures from the internet for this post. It has been a busy week and a half. Our China endeavors have been a bit confusing. We are now in the process of trying to get a visa for our stay in China but we are getting mixed messages as far as what kind of visa we need to obtain here in the U.S. Our contact at the university in Nanning, Mr. He, suggests we try and get a working visa here in the U.S., which is a little more difficult to obtain, but we wouldn't have to do any more once we got to Nanning. However, our contact at WOU suggests we get a tourist visa here, get over to China, then obtain a working visa. We are not very helpful, having never sought a visa before. Fortunately, we have a lot of people helping us through the process. Things have been busy enough here anyways. I had the privilege of going and speaking to approximately 100 fourth and fifth graders at Myers Elementary, where Kealy student teaches, and talking to them about what it is like to work at the capital. I had a great time and the kids seemed pretty interested, although one kid in the front row was laying down, having another kid cover him with grass, but hopefully it wasn't because I was boring. They asked great questions and I tried to leave them with the belief that they can make a difference in their government, which I truly believe they can. Kealy has been doing a fantastic job teaching them about how government works and today they are doing a mock senate session and voting on ten bills. She only has 2 1/2 weeks left of student teaching. I am so proud of her. Also, Dad came to the Senate session on Monday and we had a good time together. Senator Atkinson took time out of his morning to have him at his desk and talk with him and other Senators came up and said hello. Tomorrow, Dad, Mark and I fly to Chicago for a weekend of baseball and a great time together. I am really excited and will take pictures and get them on the blog.
Ryan and Kealy Thorson

May 11, 2007

A Tribute To Our Mothers

Hello Friends and Family,
At the risk of being cheesy, we still wanted to use this blog to let all of you know the incredible mothers that we have been blessed with. In a world of pain and confusion, hatred and violence, we are blessed with mothers that are kind and loving, selfless and relentless in their quest for our well-being. Both Kealy and I have said to each other on numerous occassions how thankful we are that our mothers our so eager to give wise advice, yet so supportive and encouraging for us to make our own decisions. We have always been confident that we can trust our mothers and tell them anything, knowing that they will be honest and loving. We both feel double thankful, having two mothers for the past three years and our relationships with them have grown and we feel their love on a daily basis. Their desire to be a part of our lives without intruding, to be wise and helpful without nagging and to support and trust without fear, is anything and more that a son and daughter could ever ask for. Neither Kealy and I have mother-in-laws, for our bond with our mothers goes deeper than any written law, but is an eternal friendship. Thank you, Momma D and Momma Jo, for your friendship, guidance, and never ending support and love. You have sustained us in your prayers and love, and we will never stop loving you. Happy Mother's Day weekend.

Your children,
Ryan and Kealy

May 8, 2007

Don't be so nervous to be in China

Hello Friends and Family,
What a great start to the week. Incredible weather and a lot going on. Kealy is working hard preparing for her next work sample in a fifth grade classroom teaching them about the Oregon State Government. I will be her guest speaker next week and talk to the kids about what it is like to work at the capital. She is collecting art displays from her first graders that have drawn her pictures, the most recent of spongebob and patrick. Thank you for all your prayers. We are continuing to gather information and prepare specifics for our departure. We received this
e-mail from Mr. He Tao, director of International Affairs at the college. We thought it might be interesting to read...
Dear Ryan and Kealy,
The school starts in September, but we need you to come a bit earlier to do some government documents like "z" visa, resident permitt, foreign expart certificate. Of course we will sign the contract when you come and pass the medical check, You will have a computer in your apartment.
about your jouney to China, you can come any day in August, we will sign the contract on 20th of August, if you come later, we will sign the contract when you arrive.
Don't be so nervous to be in China, we will get everything ready for you, we will have some students to guide you where to shop, to eat, to play. you will be hosted very well and respected by all of us.
you can move into the apartment as soon as you arrive, tell me your arrival date, time or the flight number in the ticket that you book, I would be very glad to meet you at Nanning airport.
best wishes
He Tao

It was very encouraging to here from him and we are very humbled that he told us 'not to worry' and that we will be 'hosted very well and respected by all'. It is a strange thought to think that we will be living across the world in 3 months. Living in Oregon our whole lives, it will be a great adventure to learn how to adapt in a different climate and culture. We won't be able to do it without all of you. Your friendship and prayers will be invaluable as we adjust. Looks like we will be leaving a little later than we thought. Maybe time for a little young married's camping trip and Triangle Lake. We'll keep you posted on the specifics.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson
Nanning at Night

May 3, 2007

So What Are We Doing Now?

Hey Friends and Family,
It seems like blogs come in spurts, but what the heck. Now that you know we are gearing up for China, maybe you're wondering what we are doing right now on a daily basis. Well...

Kealy has been spending a lot of time with 1st graders and something is starting to seem fishy...hahaha. She comes home with great stories and we are doing a case study on trying to figure out why 1st graders fall out of their chairs nearly everyday. She is a great teacher, the kids love her and draw her tons of pictures. We love laughing at dinner over her crazy experiences each day. She is even bring the kids to the state capital...

I have gained a respect and sense of appreciation for what these men and women give up six months of their year to do for the state of Oregon. While I never agree with all of them, though they don't ask my opinion, I see in the majority of the individuals there a love for Oregonians and for Oregon.

The Senate Chamber where I work. This week has been a busy one. Everything from discussin the war in Iraq to same sex relationships. Sometimes I feel emotionally drained just from absorbing all of the passionate debate. The Senators have been very civil, however, and I haven't had the chance of throwing anyone out by the ear yet. Maybe my time will come.

But what we really look forward to is our time spent with you, our friends and family. Ping pong has become a popular past-time. Charles, Brock, Jeff and I even invented a new form of ping pong with miscellaneous household items scattered on the table. We call it 'junk pong' and you have to play the bounce off of the household items. We are thinking about patentening it. Probably didn't spell that right?

Anyways, thanks for your friendship. Maybe I will find some of my friends to take a picture with me so I can show proof that people like me too. We love you all, have a great weekend.


Ryan and Kealy Thorson

Its Official--A Contract Signed

Hello Friends and Family,

It has been awhile since the last post. We have been waiting and have since received through fax our official contract from the DongFang Language College. We are very excited and pleased to see the guarantees in writing that we will be provided with. A 2 bedroom apartment (whatever size it may be) a kitchen and private bathroom with a refrigerator, air conditioner (yeah) and a washing machine. Also utilies at no cost, a comparable salary, a travel bonus at the end of our contract and lots of vacations and travel opportunities. It is very exciting to have signed something official and we had our very own ceremony in our living room to celebrate:

We are still waiting to get a couple of the semantics clarified just to make sure, but we are planning on faxing it back to them tomorrow or early next week. Right now they have a week off celebrating Labor's Day. We get one day off in America but they realize that a vacation needs to be longer to be a vacation. They also take two hour lunch breaks; one hour to eat, and one for a nap. We are looking forward to that. It is 72 degrees and sunny in Nanning right now, which is pretty tempting with cold May weather.

Kealy has been working hard with school, teaching full-time at Myers Elementary and taking OSU classes. She is very thankful she found such a great program and we are both excited to be done with school for a little while. Now we get to be the professors. Hopefully we'll be good ones. Ma Qin, one of my fellow co-workers at the capital, has been giving me Mandarin lessons during the day and I am trying to relay them to Kealy but I am not that good of a teacher. Still, we have learned how to say hello, goodbye, thank you, my name is and other basic things that will help us survive.

Going to be an exciting weekend with the mid-high kids, maybe test my spidey-sense and join the rest of america and see spiderman 3. Keep an eye out for a new post soon...

Sincerely, Ryan and Kealy