June 26, 2007

54 Days: Are You Smarter Than A Chinese 5th Grader?

Hello Friends and Family,

It has taken me a little bit longer today to come up with anything worth saying. We are still here at the capital, the schedule changing every five minutes as to when we will Sine Die, but our staff is enjoying hanging out. One of my cool co-workers, Adam, found "Are you smarter than a fifth grader" the game, online, and it got me thinking to myself, "self? How much do I really know about where we're going in 54 days?" I realized that there is a lot to learn about China, a country so rich in history and culture, that it would take years to know everything there is to know. But I also realized that the more we learn about their culture, the more receptive they might be to learning about our culture. So...I have prepared a bit of a China quiz for each of you if you dare...These are basic cultural and history questions about the country of China and hopefully you will enjoy learning a few things about China with us as we prepare for our adventure over there. So give the quiz a try and then go to the link to discover the correct answers. DON'T CHEAT! Leave a comment and let us know how you did!
Ryan and Kealy Thorson

1)What is the capital city of China?
2) The ginko or maidenhair tree grows in China and is used in Chinese medicine. When did this plant species first grow?
-millions of years ago
-thousands of years ago
-hundreds of years ago.

3) Which of the following animals does NOT live in China?
-the snow leopard
-the platypus
-the giant panda.

4) What was the Forbidden City?
-a city at the end of the Great Wall
-the home of the Emperor
-a Buddhist monastery.

5) The Great Wall of China was built to keep out invaders. When was the building started?
-over six thousand years ago
-over two and a half thousand years ago
-over six hundred years ago.

6) What was the Silk Road?
-the road used by the Emperor between his palaces
-trade routes between China and Europe
-a road used by people working in the Chinese silk industry.

7) What is the Terracotta Army?
-eight thousand life-size figures set up to protect the Emperor Qin in his tomb
-the army of Kublai Khan
-the people who built the Great Wall.

8) Which of the following is a famous Chinese philosopher?
-Siddhartha Gautama
9) In the sixteenth century Europeans were keen to buy from China. Which Europeans settled in Macao in 1557?
-the British
-the Greeks
-the Portuguese.

10) Who took over Hong Kong from the Chinese in the nineteenth century?
-the British
-the Americans

-the Spanish.
11) Who declared the formation of the People's Republic of China in 1949?
-Mao Tse-tung
-Chiang Kai-shek
-Deng Xiaoping.

12) What is the status of Hong Kong?
-Hong Kong is a republic
-Hong Kong is a Region of the Peoples Republic of China
-Hong Kong belongs to the UK.

13) What is the official language of China?

14) During the Chinese New Year festivities children are given Lai see. What is Lai see?

-lucky money
-honey cakes
-paper dragons.

15) What is the translation of Kung hay fat choi?
-Would you like something to eat?
-I am pleased to meet you
-Happy New Year.

June 25, 2007

55 days:"I Don't Know For Sure"--Daily Blogging

Hello Friends and Family,
I thought I would give daily blogging a try. I don't know if anything that will happen today will be interesting to any of you, so, if its boring just let me know. We had an exciting evening here at the capital last night, from 3:00-10:30. Quite a day as we prepare for Sine Die (meaning the end of the session). It is exciting and frustratingly interesting because the schedule changes so much. Everyone is searching for information and what are schedule will be like these week, I have heard millions of different ideas: We'll be done tonight, tomorrow, Friday...so I don't know what to believe. My standard line when I am asked for rumors and speculations is: "I don't know for sure". As I continued to repeat this standard phrase almost unconsciously after the 100th time, I began to analyze it on a metaphysical level. You know, I thought, it is kind of like we should live life: "I don't know for sure". We really don't know what each day will bring or what might happen. So...I am trying to live in the moment, which can be hard for me...but I am having some forced practice. At least I have a great bunch of people to work with and not a whole lot of other responsibilities. I do miss Kealy, but she'll probably get more work done without me bothering her. So, anyways, we'll try this daily info thing and see how it goes. I am going to need some projects after this job is done, so maybe I can improve the blogging skills before embarking to the far east.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

June 24, 2007

56 days: Moooooving Right Along

Hello Friends and Family,

Thanks to all of you that helped us move yesterday. It was quite a day, between packing in Salem and me going to work for nine hours and Kealy driving the U-Haul to Sandy to unload our stuff. All of you that helped made it a lot easier on us and we are very thankful for your help. Our apartment is a little empty now, but we are going have fun this week and wrap up work here at the capitol, as well as turn in our application for a tourist visa. Congratulations to Dustin and Haley for the birth of the second boy, hopefully he is born on what will be the anniversary of the Beavers second National Championship. I am here at work again, wishing I was at Camp Mayfield with the junior high kids, but they are in good hands with Kevin, Ashley and Dusty. Kealy's birthday is in one week (yeah!) and she starts her online classes tomorrow, the last step in getting her Masters! We'll keep you posted and have a great week.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

June 14, 2007

In The Air...64 days and counting (ETD--Aug. 18th)

Hello Friends and Family,

Well, its getting more official by the week. Today, we bought our plane tickets for the trip, sealing the deal even tighter. We are going to be leaving on the morning of August 18 at 9:20 AM from PDX airport. We will arrive in Nanning at 11:45 PM on Sunday night. The total trip is 23 hours long, with the longest flight from Vancouver, B.C. to Beijing. It will be a very long plane trip, the longest I have ever taken, but I will have a great traveling companion:] Kealy has finished her time in the classroom, has passed her CBEST class and is fastly approaching completion of her official schooling. Speaking of fastly approaching, Sine Die (or adjournment) is imminent at the Capitol. The projected finishing date is next Friday or Saturday and I will work 3 or 4 days the following week. We will be moving back into Sandy with Mom and Dad on the weekend of June 30-July 1. We had a great time last night at a gigantic staff party from the capitol with more than 500 people attending and a great time to recap and remember all the hilarious moments of this session. Fortunately, no one made fun of the Sergeant-at-Arms, though it wouldn't be hard. Anyways, gotta run. Kealy is going to cut my hair so I can look decent for our 'graduation weekend'. We had a terrific party in Sandy last weekend to celebrate our completion and Michelle adventure ahead in Tahoe, and this week we get to walk the walk and acknowledge each other's hard work. Thanks for tuning...We'll get some grad pics up later. Leave a comment if you have a question or suggestion for the blog.


Ryan and Kealy Thorson

June 2, 2007

Thanks for your truth, it makes me moved

Hello Friends and Family,
Hope everyone is enjoying beautiful weather, wherever you're at. We are in the process of applying for a tourist visa for our trip to China and then when we arrive, we will go through the process of obtaining a working visa. There is less paper work to acquire with the tourist visa and we will have Mr. He at the University in Nanning to help us once we reach China. I had e-mailed him and asked him what would be the best course of action and that we wanted to be honest on our tourist visa application because it asked what our 'purpose for visit to China' is and how long we plan on staying. I was concerned that if we put 365 days on a tourist visa, then we would be denied the visa. Mr. He said we could put 30 days, since that is all it will take to get the working visa and he appreciated our honesty. In the last lines of his e-mail he wrote, "Thanks for your truth, it makes me moved"! Hopefully, that is a good thing. I think honor and integrity our very important to them and hopefully we can portray those qualities while in China.

We had a great time last night babysitting for the Shafferlys and they encouraged us a lot too when we had a chance to talk with them about China and what are role over their might be.

Dad, Mark and I had a great time last weekend in Chicago, a beautiful city. We did all the fun guy tourist things; museums, baseball, battlefields and football stadiums. We drove through four different states and got a great feel for the 'old northwest'. It was a lot of fun to be able to spend time with two of my best friends and we even got a baseball at the Chicago White Sox game.

Kealy has only one more week of school. She brought her fifth graders to the capital on Thursday and we had fun showing them around. The end of the legislative session is imminent and a lot of exciting and wierd things are happening. It is fun to be a fly on the wall and witness our government at work.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson