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Summer was short this year -- only five weeks, but I still didn't have a lot to do. My wife was busy much of the time with her stuff, and my step-son with his, so I had to find my own stuff to do.

It’s summer now, and I’m on “holiday.”

你好 [nǐ hǎo]

People often ask me, “Can you speak Chinese?” and I’d love to answer 是的 [shì de]. But, of course, I can’t, because I can’t speak Chinese. I know about eight words now, not counting numbers, and I’m learning Chinese at a rate that means I’ll have to live in China for about 200 years before I can carry on even a simple conversation.

Walking here can be a challenge. That's not always true in China -- Hong Kong, for example, is orderly and organized -- but most of the places I've been in China are, as we say in Minnesota, "interesting" from a pedestrian perspective,

When I first came to China, I tried hard to bring the right things. I read everything I could find. I looked at lists from websites like this one, and I packed very selectively. I brought a bunch of stuff I still haven't used, and left behind a lot I really miss.

Lessons, of course, have to reflect your style and meet whatever requirements your school has set, so I can’t tell you exactly how to plan your lessons. I can, however, describe mine.

I have about 250 students here in Guiyang, and I, too have to administer final examinations. Mine are probably a bit different from most.

I have my students speak in class just about every week, and I "score" them each time. These class activity scores count for about a third of the final grade, attendance counts for about another third, and the final is also about a third.

I’ve had a Chinese driver’s license for three years now, and I’m still not sure I really want one. Driving in China is, as I used to say in Minnesota, “different.”

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