November 30, 2007

Weekend Plans

Hello Friends and Family,

Well, after two weekends straight of traveling all over China, we're ready for a weekend of doing nothing! Well actually, we're not going to do nothing, we're going to eat junk food and watch movies all weekend. As you can see below, we were able to track down all kinds of snacks and movies all over Nanning this afternoon. The lineup includes: All three Indiana Jones movies, License to Wed, Night at the Museum, Stardust, Ratatouille and Pirates of the Caribbean. Our refreshments include Snickers, Pringles, Doritos, Mentos, Oreos, Sprite and Pepsi! We may explode from a sugar overdose...we'll have someone notify you if it happens. Hope you all have a relaxing weekend before the rush of the holiday season is upon us. Don't forget to root for the WOU Wolves this weekend in the Rotary Bowl in St. George Utah! Gotta go! License to Wed is up first! Talk to you soon.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

HMMMMMMM....looks good! Why don't you treat yourself too?

November 27, 2007


Christmas time is nearing with songs amoung us and decorations glowing. We celebrate a day that is truly amazing, yet many people only hear the songs and see the decorations that look so pretty but they don't know the Truth. I enjoy the music and the decorations, but my heart aches knowing the Truth isn't among everyone or it gets overseen by the worldly decorations. Everyone doesn't get the opportunity to hear up front the Truth throughout the world. Please be thinking of others during this season of Christmas for the opportunities to be shared about the Light. Famliy and Friends, how fortunate you are in the freedom you have.

Please be thinking of people around the world and the Truth that means everything.

Traveling has been full of wonderful experiences but even more than that I have seen the need for the Truth in this world. May it come soon, to every ear and every heart.

Kealy Thorson

November 26, 2007

Weekend with friends---Yangshou

Hello Friends and Family,

Well, like we had mentioned, we had a great time in a city called Yangshou with friends this weekend. We spent three days in the small tourist town in the Northern part of Guangxi province. Yangshou is a popular tourist destination and backpacker's mecca, once visited even by former President Bill Clinton. Ever since we have arrived in China, our students have asked us if we have visited this area, so it will be nice to tell them that we now have. An added bonus was the opportunity to travel with very good friends that we have made since we've been in Nanning. They were great travel companions and it was fun to experience this part of China together. We stayed in a hotel just off a busy shopping street with restaurants and vendors, overlooking the famous Li River, which was more like a stream at this time of year, but nonetheless beautiful. We had a great time wandering the streets, buying souvenirs, had some great hot chocolate at a nearby cafe and watched some beautiful sunsets and moon rises. We also took a bike trip out into the Yangshou countryside, with unique mountain formations, beautiful rivers and orange groves. One evening, we also took a tour and watched cormorants fishing at night. We rode alongside a boat while we watched the cormorants fish. The spotlight was so bright that you could see them chase the fish in the water and the cormorants even perched on our arms at one point. We also experienced trains in China for the first time. They are much smoother than buses and it was nice to sit with friends and play games and snack on food as the countryside passed by. The train ride was long, but would have been much longer without fun people to be with.

A scene on the beautiful countryside bike ride

The Li River

We are tired now from two weekends straight of traveling. We are going to relax this week and enjoy more parts of Nanning, as well as continuing to foster relationships with friends and students. We hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and are earnestly preparing for Christmas. Have a great day. Talk to you soon.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

November 25, 2007

We're Back! We're Alive! Good Night!

Hello Friends and Family,

We have arrived back from our exciting weekend in Yangshou. We had a great time with our friends, saw some beautiful scenery and enjoyed some fantastic hot chocolate. We'll get you more info tomorrow, but we're beat and need to sleep so...we'll talk to you soon. Have a great day.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Love

Hello Friends and Family,

Happy Thanksgiving!!! We miss you all on this special day and we hope that your day is filled with love and with family. It is hard to be so far away from you during this time, but each of you are in our thoughts and prayers and we are thankful for your love and support while we are on this adventure. We had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving day here, as we are ahead on the time schedule, so our Thanksgiving day is over and its time for the Christmas Season to begin. This morning, we spent time decorating our apartment with lights and decorations. We had fun playing Christmas music and trying to make our little temporary home here feel Christmasy. We had hot chocolate and are about to watch a Christmas movie to start the season.

We are very blessed to have met some wonderful people here who invited us to join them for a Thanksgiving feast. Along with 30 or so other adults and children, we each chipped in and had a true American Thanksgiving meal. There was turkey, apple pie, pumpkin pie, cookies, mashed potatoes and many other dishes that made it a very special meal. Each of the people we have gotten to know are so very kind and loving and they feel so much like family already. It was enjoyable to spend time with them. We even each went around the room and said what we were thankful for, also a Thorson and Thornberry tradition. A lot of the kids are affectionately calling us 'shoe shoe' and 'aie' which mean, 'uncle and aunt' in Chinese. We enjoy the kids just as much as the adults! As we were leaving tonight, one of the boys even asked 'Where is Kealy Aie?' And when I tease him or tickle him he says, 'Stop it, Shoe Shoe!' We had a great time, although it was hard being away from home today, we were still able to enjoy spending time with friends that feel like family.

Tomorrow we are hopping on a train and leaving for a popular tourist destination with some of the friends mentioned above. We are going to a town called Yangshuo, Northeast of here about five hours by train. The scenery should be beautiful and it will be a relaxing weekend, strolling the tourist streets looking for souvenirs and enjoying the famous and beautiful Li River. We are also hoping to watch Cormorants fishing at night and maybe even take a bamboo raft down a part of the river. It will also be very fun to simply spend time with some friends that we enjoy being with so much.

We'll be radio silent for a few days, but we hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving celebration. We miss you, we love you, and we are so very thankful for your friendship and support. Happy Thanksgiving.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

November 20, 2007

Hanging with Celebs!

Hello Friends and family,

Here are some more pictures from our Hong Kong Trip!

Ryan with Brad and Angelina

Kealy with the Commander-in-Chief

Wow! Yao is tall.

Kealy ready to get down and dirty!

Kealy shopping for souvenirs at the Ladies Market

Some beautiful flowers on a street corner

Kealy and Mr. Jones

Ryan's best karate stance

Hong Kong skyline at night

More views from the harbour

The hustle and bustle of Hong Kong

Talk to you soon,
Ryan and Kealy Thorson

November 19, 2007

Leaving Our Footprints in Hong Kong

Hello Friends and Family,

We're back and still alive from our weekend in Hong Kong! We had a great time. It was a wonderful weekend and we enjoyed Hong Kong very much. It was so nice to be just another foreigner and blend in with people from all over the world; chinese, american, european, indian, middle eastern, african, all could be seen on the same street corner in Hong Kong, a truly international city! We highly recommend Hong Kong as a place to see on the globe!

Of course, our 'structured, but flexible' schedule turned out to be more flexible than structured at first. Our flight out of Nanning was delayed for two and a half hours, causing us to arrive at the border of Mainland China and Hong Kong after the border had already closed for the night. Fortunately, there were a handful of cheap hotels near the border, so we found one with no bugs or rats and hopped in bed for a quick snooze.

The next morning we got up early, crossed over the Chinese border, went through the Hong Kong border, then caught a train to Kowloong (the island north of Hong Kong island) then a taxi over to the university where our friend was staying. We were able to meet her and talk for a little while, but it is close to finals for her, so she hopped on the bus with us, took us downtown and dropped us off. There we were in one of the world's largest cities and we had no map or plan, but we did have no fear! We were looking forward to exploring a large city and of course, the people on the street spoke English and the signs were in English too. We wandered the city, enjoying the gigantic skyscrapers, some 70 to 80 stories high! We strolled around the city, enjoying the fantastic weather and the cool breeze. After lunch, we walked up the hill a ways and caught the Victoria Peak Tram. Hong Kong Island is on a mountain and a tram or trolley was built in the 1800s that will take you up to the top of the mountain and you can look down on one of the world's most recognizable skylines. We got up to the top and were blessed with little fog and no clouds. The view was fantastic and we enjoyed the quietness and romantic scenery. The area was quite touristy, which was fun because there were a lot of different people there, as well as Haagen Daas icecream and a wax museum that we explored and could take pictures with the world's celebrities!

Kealy atop Victoria Peak

HMMMMMMM...Haagen Daas

Sunset in Hong Kong

We watched the sunset, then enjoyed the skyline in the dark, then caught the trolley down, had a nice chat with a couple from Holland who were traveling through China, but wish they were traveling in America the second time because they absolutely loved America. They couldn't believe how nice everyone was in America!

We met Cathy and her boyfriend for dinner in a hustle and bustle restaurant in the middle of downtown Hong Kong. The food was okay, but we had a great time with them talking and enjoying the crowd, then afterward we walked the city and went to an area which was almost exclusively a place where foreigners hung out, so we enjoyed slipping into the crowd there. We also had our second icecream of the day at Ben and Jerry's! We then went back to our room and massaged our sore feet!

Hong Kong's tallest building in the back; the international finance center and a world war one and two memorial in the foreground.

one of the many forms of transportation in Hong Kong; double decker skinny trams!

On Saturday we slept in and got a slow start. We then went back downtown for a few hours and did some more serious shopping for souvenirs and gifts. There were lots of side alleys with shops and markets in between stores like Giorgio Armani and Gucci. In the afternoon, we took a harbour ferry to the island of Kowloon. On the tip of Kowloon is an area called Tsim Sha Tsui. It is the home of Hong Kong Hollywood and we walked the harbour and put our hands in Jackie Chan's handprints on the avenue of stars. The Hong Kong island skyline was also a sight to see both during the day and at night from the other side of the harbour. We also caught a subway to the 'Ladies Market'. Even larger shops and markets with a ton of people. It was almost suffocating at times, but we still enjoyed the shopping and the bright neon lights which are Hong Kong. We snuck into a hole in the wall Chinese restaurant for dinner and the table and seats were barely big enough for us to fit into but we enjoyed the authenticity of it. We bought some I LOVE HONG KONG t-shirts and headed back to the harbour area for the symphony of lights, when the Hong Kong skyline puts on a laser light show using the buildings and also, all of the malls had gigantic and extensive Christmas decorations already up, so that was fun to see. We went back early and grabbed snacks at one of the many 7/11s and enjoyed English TV and watched a documentary on Crocodiles.

Our last day in Hong Kong we slept in a little again, then hunted down Subway for our final meal. We have been craving sandwiches with Turkey and Ham, two things impossible to find on the mainland, and at last we found the one Subway in Hong Kong. We each enjoyed our sandwiches and people-watched for an hour or so. We finished our souvenir and gift shopping and, having just a little money left, found Starbuck's! We sat in comfy chairs, sipped our coffe and listened to Christmas music. A lot of the restaurants and cafes in Hong Kong are on the second or third floor away from the road and people so we sat at a window on the second floor and watched the people some more. It was then time to head home, plus we were out of money, except for a little money to purchase the Christmas CD we heard in Starbuck's! We caught a bus to Kowloon, then a train to the border, crossed both borders, then a bus to Shenzhen, then we waited for our flight, had a good flight, then caught a bus from a friend back to downtown Nanning, then a taxi finally to home! I think we covered all the modes of transportation minus horse and motorcycle! We probably walked 15-17 miles over the weekend and have the blisters to prove it, but we feel like we saw a lot of the city and we enjoyed just about every minute of it. It was great to see a big city, blend in with other foreigners and enjoy some of the foods we used to take for granted in the states.

We are teaching this weekend and sharing about Thanksgiving Day with our students. They are very curious about the holiday and its history so it is fun and a good opportunity to share with them. More about that later. For now, we'll talk to you soon.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

November 14, 2007

A Weekend in the Big City

Hello Friends and Family,

Sorry we've been slow-posters. Its been a busy week, getting ready for our trip to Hong Kong this weekend. We're actually on our way out the door right now, to lunch, then one more class, then we catch a taxi to the airport. But we wouldn't to give you our structured, but flexible itinerary for the weekend:

Morning-Take bus to Aberdeen and explore harbour and city
Lunch-Take boat ride to floating restaurant in Aberdeen
Afternoon-Head back to Hong Kong central and take peak tram to top of Victoria Peak
Evening-Explore Victoria Peak and watch sunset, then dinner in Soho or Central Hong Kong

Morning-Explore Hong Kong Park, St. John's Cathedral and Central
Lunch-Downtown in Central
Afternoon-Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui and explore Promenade, Avenue of Stars, Golden Mile
Dinner-Restaurant on Tsim Sha Tsui
Evening-Watch Symphony of Light from Tsim Sha Tsui then take ferry back to Central

Morning-Go to 43rd floor of China Bank Tower for view of city, Explore Central
Lunch-Sheung Wan
Afternoon-Explore Sheung Wan, Back to Hong Kong University to explore and pack things
Dinner-Sheung Wan area
7:00-Catch bus to Shenzhen airport
11:00-Fly to Nanning

There it is. We look forward to getting some pictures up. Have a great weekend and we'll talk to you soon!

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

November 8, 2007

Hong Kong Here We Come!

Ryan and his Friday class

Hello Friends and Family,

As the title of the blog suggests, its true! We just bought two plane tickets to Hong Kong! Actually, we're flying into a city called Shenzhen, then taking a bus over the border to Hong Kong. The president of the college's daughter goes to school there and she helped us arrange coming here when we were still in Oregon and she has invited us to stay with her on the campus of Hong Kong University. We are going to fly out next Thursday and stay through the weekend. We are looking forward to seeing a big city of China and such a famous international place. If anyone has any recommendations on things we should see (or gifts to bring back), let us know!

We had a good time this evening together. Celia, Joe and Amy invited us for dinner called 'hotpot'. Similar to fondue, but any kind of vegetable or meat or tofu is thrown into a boiling stew and you eat as you go. It was fun trying different kinds of mushrooms, tofu and vegetables and they are always fun to talk with. Amy, the five year old daughter, even let me play her little kid electronic game so I could practice my Chinese.

Celia and her daughter, Amy

After dinner, the high school students here where we live were having a English performance and speech competition. Each class sang two songs, one in English and one in Chinese. Popular English songs were, "Loving You', 'You are my sunshine', 'Venus', You raise me up', and 'I can be your hero'! Then, different students would give speeches about friendship. We helped judge the competition and we were supposed to give scores from 1 to 10. So I gave scores of 7.35976, just for fun (hehe) It was fun seeing some of the students we have gotten to know here at the school a little bit. At the end of the competition, some sweet break dancers did a little number that was phenomenal!

On our way up to our apartment, we were ready for some Oreos and to watch the Unit. But you have to be on guard in China, because the second you relax, something crazy will happen. Our porch light was out, so we tried to open our door and we could see the keyhole. After fumbling around, Kealy asked me to try and I thought, in my manly pride, that I could rescue the day and get us into our apartment. Instead, I broke the key off inside the lock and the handle to the outside of the door fell off! We had a good laugh and Amy and Celia came up and laughed at me too, a humbling, but fun lesson. Amy even used the broken door handle as a phone and we talked in Chinese/English for a little while. Anyways, hope you have a great day. talk to you soon.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

November 7, 2007

Silent Night

Hello Friends and Family,

Its Wednesday here and Wednesdays have become our 'date night'. We try to have a night to ourselves once a week out on the town where we can explore. So tonight, we took the bus downtown and stopped at McD's for dinner, then went for a walk and wound up at Wal-Mart. We came back to the school and the whole block was pitch dark. The power had been out since this afternoon so all we saw were a sea of orange candles glowing. We decided to go for a walk around the block, since our apartment would be dark and we didn't have candles. After negotiating the rocky road, we stumbled upon a park where there were men and women dancing to music. Someone must have had a portable stereo, so we sat and watched people dancing in the middle of China on a silent night and looked at the stars, pretty unintentionally romantic! We have had a busy week here testing our students. It has been tedious, but fun too, sitting down with each of our 400 students each and learning how we can better teach English to them. Most of them just need more work on their pronounciation. They don't use gender distinictions in Chinese either, so a lot of the students call their father she's and their mother he's, but they are getting better. This past weekend was very low key, we went to a french restaurant with Americans in China on Friday. Quite the international night and the food wasn't half bad, no french fries, though! We're hooked on the show 'The Unit' now, after finishing Prison Break in two weeks. This weekend we are thinking about doing some more shopping at the bird and flower market and maybe even going to the zoo here in Nanning. Supposedly they have dolphins! We'll keep you posted. Have a great day.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

November 1, 2007

Aye, Aye Captain!

Hello Friends and Family,

Hope you had a safe Halloween! The weather continues to feel more and more like home each day...cold and rainy! Its more like a drizzle, of course, just like Oregon. We are not sure if it will continue or not but we are enjoying it while it lasts. So today we stayed inside and wore sweatpants and sweatshirts, drank hot choclate, and finished season 2 of Prison Break! Then tonight, we went to our weekly English corner at the college. We are always so nervous and not that excited to go, but every time we go, we have a lot of fun. It is tiring and a little intense with 20-30 Chinese students surrounding you for two hours, but we are learning to concentrate on one person at a time and really feel like we are developing some good relationships and they are asking good questions. We are also getting a lot of the same students each week which is great for building deeper relationships. We always look forward to a cold bottle of water afterwards as well. Two of Kealy's students we have become particularly fond of. They have given me the nickname 'captain' and everytime I see them, they stop and salute and say 'Aye, Aye Captain!' Its quite funny.

Tonight we were talking with the same studnets about bus etiquette in China and how, when the bus is crowded in China and a woman or elderly person or a foreigner gets on the bus, young men will get up and give them their seat. So Wei Ching, or Cola (his english name) told us a funny joke we thought we would share with you:

There was a young Chinese man sitting on a crowded bus in China. A young foreign woman got on the bus and was standing up, as there was nowhere to sit. At the next stop the man tried to get up and the woman put her hand on him and kept him from standing up. Five minutes later at the next stop, he tried to get up again and the woman put her hand on his shoulder and kept him down. A third time, five minutes later, the young man tried to get up again. The woman put her hand on his shoulder and said, 'where I come from, men and women are equal!' The young man replied, 'Hey lady, I've been trying to get off the bus for the last three stops!' (HaHaHa)

The other funny joke we've heard from a couple of Chinese students is, 'what is the only thing with four legs that Chinese won't eat...a table!" or, the alternative from Paul Lopez...two americans!

Hopefully those brightened your day. All the students were amazed to find out tonight that Kealy and I dated in High School, and even more surpised/shocked to learn that we got married in college! It is not allowed in colleges in China for men and women to get married, they have to focus on their studies or be 21 if they are not in college. Though they do have girlfriends and are quite silly about dating. One student told Kealy tonight, 'I have been struck by Cupid's arrow!' But he was too shy to tell her the name of the girl he liked. "She is one of your students," he said. When Kealy asked for the girl's name, he leaned in and said, "All in good time, Ms. Kealy."

Have a great day. Here's some pictures of Kealy teaching. Talk to you soon.

Ryan and Kealy Thorson

Kealy with the college behind her

Kealy and one of her classes