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FEBRUARY

2月

2018

Be S.M.A.R.T in 2018 Crossing the Sea in the Middle of a Typhoon The Magic of Poetry

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QINGDAO FAMILY

Where Would You Like to Travel to This Year?

Maxim Grade 6

Paulina Grade 8

Sukie Grade 8

Anthony

Qingdao No.1 International School I'd like to travel to Germany because I like the cold more than the warmth. Also, my relatives live there.

International School of Qingdao Machu Picchu, Peru.

International School of Qingdao Afghanistan.

Champa Flower International Kindergarten I want to go to Hainan. It's warm.

Miso Grade 10

Anna Grade 8

Guokai International School of Qingdao I would like to travel to Europe again. When I was a middle school student I went to England, Switzerland, France and other countries. That travel impressed me a lot. If I have one more chance to travel around, I would like to go to a European country.

Qingdao Southlands School Greece is the first place I want to go if I have a chance. It is a great country to understand and experience western civilization and culture. I would start my journey from the capital, Athens, to enjoy the beautiful view and unique culture.

William Grade 4 Galaxy International School I would go to Hainan. I want to eat the big delicious coconuts and I want to sleep on the beach.

Isabella Year 4 Yew Chung International School of Qingdao I'd love to go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and to buy clothes!

Tiger Grade 2

Alice Year 4 Yew Chung International School of Qingdao I would like to go to Santorini in Greece because there are white and blue houses. I have been there before and I had fun!

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Claire Grade 8 Qingdao Amerasia International School I'm going to New Zealand, we have a green card. I have never been there before so I'm very excited to see that country.

Francesca Grade 8 Qingdao Amerasia International School My family and I are planning to go to New York at the end of the year to see the amazing fireworks!

Qingdao Yinhai Academy I want to go to London, UK because I want to study there one day and because it is a fashionable city. Also, I like Harry Potter. I want to see the famous writer J.K.Rowling and talk to her.


QINGDAO FAMILY

Szechuan Lotus Root Crisps

Former restaurant owner turned stayat-home grandma, Hui Wai Ning, shares some of her favourite homecooked recipes with you. Easy to make, healthy, and full of love; these recipes will warm the hearts and bellies of every Qingdao family.

Recipe: 1. Peel the lotus root and cut it into thin (2-3 mm) slices 2. Heat up the oil in a wok and deep-fry the lotus root slices. Make sure to turn the slices after a few minutes to make sure both sides are done. When the slices are caramel brown, take them out and let them rest on a paper towel. 3. Grind the Szechuan peppercorns and stir them in a little bowl together with the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. 4. Drizzle over the lotus slices and enjoy! Ingredients: • lotus root • vegetable oil (for deep frying) • 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns • 1/2 tbsp soya sauce • 1 tsp sesame oil • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

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QINGDAO FAMILY

Redefining the language learning environment

Hi guys, I'm back with some more language learning and psychology knowledge, as I do feel that we need more conversation going around so that more people realise what the psychological mechanisms behind language learning are. With conflicting theories in academia about how adults acquire a second language, in the sharing economy era, the need to learn languages and learn them fast has become crucial. In my experience in China, I've met many people who have been studying English for many years, but still lack the confidence to speak. When I ask the reason, most people complain about the lack of a language environment:

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"Oh, wait until I go to the US~ My English level will improve immediately". "I don't have foreigners around, so I can't practice my language skills". Given my background in environmental psychology and my personal experience in foreign language learning, I can't help but wonder how I have earned my HSK 5 in approx. 3 years of learning Chinese, while other people's progress is so slow. Therefore, I used my expertise to analyse where the difference comes from. These are the conclusions I came up with: • People's definition of a language learning environment is unclear

by Adina 邱天美 Environmental Psychologist

and many don't actually realise what the components of such an environment are. As a result, they might wrongly put their hopes on travelling abroad or on having foreigners around for improving their language skills. • Given the previous learning experiences, based mostly on memorisation -very stressful and with few results- many people ended up thinking that they lacked the talent to learn languages, and lost their confidence to speak or motivation to continue learning. • Many people focus too much on the language itself and not on what it represents: a way of thinking, a communication tool,


QINGDAO FAMILY a representation of culture. As a consequence, learning happens only at surface level. In order to draw a clearer picture, I will try to analyse each of the above conclusions, one by one. However, for article length considerations, the analysis will be done throughout several articles, so make sure not to miss future Redstar magazines. You might even want to consider a subscription, if you haven't considered one before. How do we define a language environment? In order to better understand the elements that define a language environment, we need to analyze what happens at a psychological level with some of the Chinese people who travel to English speaking countries and the influence travelling has on their language learning. It's no news that there are cultural differences between Western and Chinese cultures, from the food people eat, their life habits, what is considered polite or impolite, normal or abnormal, all the way to people's ways to communicate. Once Chinese people arrive in Western countries, depending on the purpose for going there and their initial language skills, many might try at first to make contact with local people, but might encounter miscommunication issues that they haven't been prepared for before going and might feel that they can't adapt to local customs. With a strong "face" culture and fear of making mistakes, they might try to find "shelter" in Chinatown, where they feel closer to home (speaking with Chinese people, eating Chinese food, checking recent news from

China on Tencent or just posting WeChat moments in Chinese to show their friends back home how cool their life in other countries is —— 吹牛 . As a result, even if they find themselves in other countries, the environment they have created for themselves is still Chinese, which inhibits progress in English learning. By saying this, my intention is not to criticise, but to draw attention to the very high expectations that are put on going abroad, without realising that a language learning environment can be recreated anywhere. How do we really define the language environment? Let's look at the native language acquisition process first. As children, apart from pooping and crying for food, what we did best was to listen, with no choice available to block sound. In other words we have been involuntarily listening to our parents speaking to and/or around us, and after almost one year, we were finally able to say "mama" . (A side note: You might want to imagine what the first word you would have said would have been if you had been raised by monkeys or any other creatures on this planet for that matter. Tough, huh!) The point is that through sound, we gradually started to make sense of the world and understand what was happening around us. Reading and writing came later, so it is important to remember the sequences in which we learned our native languages. As adults, we often start from the premise that because we don't understand a foreign language, there is no point in listening to it, so we tend to focus on reading

and writing first. And although a lot of research has been done in academia with different theories available regarding second language acquisition, based on my own Chinese language learning experience, I can only conclude that without realising, I have recreated the native language acquisition process. I started listening, even though I didn't understand anything at first, then started matching sound with characters, and only after that did I start writing (and by this, I mean typing. I am still not able to handwrite Chinese characters). Although I am not trying to dismiss the value of academic research, I would argue that we need to explore new learning methods, especially if we are trying to speed learning up. I strongly believe that my fast progress compared to others is due to involuntarily recreating the native language acquisition process, and not because of talent for language learning. If your intention really is to learn Chinese, then I am telling you, my friend... You've got to get out there! Listen as much as you can, learn to read characters and speak whenever you have the opportunity, no matter how difficult it might feel at the beginning. Given China's large population, what you lack is not opportunities to practice, but inner motivation. And that, is something that you need to find by yourself. If you feel you can't find it on your own, feel free to drop by my office for a chat and coffee. If I can't help you find your inner motivation, then nobody can! Just give me a call before, to make sure I am in: 17685515326.

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QINGDAO FAMILY

Crossing the Sea in the Middle of a Typhoon After 28 peaceful hours of travel, Catherine, husband Justin and son Eli find themselves in an air-conditioned transportation office just outside the Puerto Princesa Airport … happily unaware that later that day, they would be crossing the sea in the middle of a typhoon!
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“Palawan doesn’t get hit by super typhoons. When the rest of the Philippines is devastated by floods, landslides, and extremely heavy downpours, the island of Palawan gets only some light rainfall. In fact, the island is known as 'the land of the living' because we haven’t had to face these weather scares", we were reassured by transportation

by Catherine Esser

officials while waiting for our ride to the village of Port Barton. 
 When the van finally arrived, we climbed in and occupied the entire front seat. We were pretty impressed with our comfy situation and the fact that Eli would probably sleep for the entire duration of our 3-4 hour journey.


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Fat Chance!!! 
We had no idea just how crazy that journey was about to get….
 All Squished In Since getting into the van, we had made four extra stops. There was now stuff on top of the van, up to the ceiling at the back, and … five of us in the front seat. We had to lift Eli onto our laps so that a mother and her seven year old daughter could get into the last bit of space left on the front seat! If we were only going a short distance, it would have been tolerable, but we were going to be there for the long-haul. We had bags at our feet, the driver’s sling bag was tossed over his seat, and all this with absolutely no leg room to start with. Our driver was an absolute mad man. He drove like he was on the run. We took so many steep, sharp bends that I was close to heaving up my lunch on multiple occasions.

The humidity, confined space, poor driving skills, and terrible state of the roads were all too much for a gal prone to motion-sickness! A Slippery Ride The rain was coming down so hard that I imagined us skidding off the road and into a ditch. But again, this wasn’t the worst part of our journey. That being said, I’m glad that I didn’t know this at the time! We eventually made it to Port Barton. It felt so good to get out of that van, but bad news awaited us. The coast guards were cancelling most planned boat trips. The ocean was too rough. All domestic and international flights had been grounded. We were “lucky” that we had even made it this far! We were told that we were in for a typhoon, that was only going to get worse in the next few days. We were, however, assured that we needn’t worry because our guest house’s owner had his own boat and

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QINGDAO FAMILY

he was on his way to get us. At the time, we should have wondered why our guest house boat was allowed to be on the ocean but no others were.

a tricycle and then asked if we minded the fact that we would need to walk out into deep water. There was also something said about 500 metres.

We waited. And waited… and waited! Patience finally changed to annoyance as we began to get chilly. The storm was thickening and night was falling. There was barely any daylight remaining, when a shirtless Filipino man eventually wandered up to us. He was dripping wet. In broken English he introduced himself as Jeffrey and told us that the waves were wild, we needed

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I was completely confused. Was this a two-part question? Did we need to decide between a boat or tuk tuk? I didn’t understand but he was in a rush and Justin started gathering the bags so I assumed that we were taking the tricycle instead of the 500 meter ocean walk. We took an unbelievably rough and muddy ride from the city hall to the port. It was starting to rain again, and there was only a little bit of

light left on the horizon. The Realization It was then that everything became clear. We needed the tricycle to move all our stuff 500 meters to the port. The waves were too rough for him to bring the boat closer so we needed to hold bags on our shoulders and then walk to the boat. Justin and I were laughing, and saying how absolutely crazy this was. But at no time did we think seriously about not going. The situation just didn’t seem as bad as it could have been. This man seemed to know what he was doing. He wouldn’t have come back for us if he didn’t think we would make it.


QINGDAO FAMILY

Eli and I waited on the beach as Justin and Jeffery, went back and forth, carrying each our bags over to the boat. The waves were strong, and we didn’t want to risk one of them falling over with all of our belongings. I don’t think that Jeffery anticipated that it would take so long to get the three of us, and all of the bags, over to the boat. He started to look a bit panicked. And trust me, islanders don’t really panic about much!

and our passports (which were in a small bag, and not waterproofed at all). It felt so trivial to even be thinking about those things while we were in this life-threatening situation. But the truth is that half of my worry on that evening, was that we would have to start our three week vacation with no passports and no camera. For me, that would be absolutely devastating.

Once we were all on the boat, and we started moving, the boat stalled. Jeffery jumped into the water to check the engine, and all we heard was…“oh shit”.

Eli had gone from chatting and laughing with us, to complete silence. He was reaching out to hold my hand, and the look on his face was enough to break my heart. I don’t think that he completely knew what was happening but he could probably sense that this wasn’t a game.

Ummmm…. that’s not what you want to hear on the boat, in the dark, with a typhoon rumbling all around you. Jeffery asked if we had a knife. It seemed that we had caught something in the motor blades. Thankfully, he was able to sort it out. But we had lost more time. The rain was coming down hard now, and the waves were picking up speed and strength. As we moved further from the coast, our laughter turned to prayer. Up until now it had all seemed like a crazy south-east Asia travel story, all “part of the adventure”. But suddenly, this was something so much bigger than “some adventure”. It was pitch dark, torrential rainfall, waves crashing into us repeatedly, water spraying into our faces, and we had our three year old son with us! I have heard many insane stories, but this was more like a scene out of a movie. How could this be happening? Justin held Eli and I held onto the bags, trying to protect my camera

And then, my focus shifted…

His favorite saying lately is, “Justin and Catherine and Eli. Together forever." He will take each of our hands, or hold around both of our necks, and then say this sweet phrase. I knew that he just wanted the three of us to be close, but the bags were flying up and down with each wave that hit us. I was using all of my strength to keep them from flying overboard. I kept reaching out to touch his hand, but I couldn’t hold it. As the situation got worse and worse, Justin started praying out-loud, and then we sang “Jesus Loves Me” (one of Eli’s favorite bedtime songs). Miraculously, a calm settled over us and we knew things were going to be alright. After what seemed like hours in this scary situation we finally saw the light on the shore, and we knew that we didn’t have far to go. When I say not far to go, I mean not far on a boat. But right there, with the shore in the distance,

Jeffery turned off the motor. Whaaaaattttt???? The shores were shallow and tapered slowly so if the waves were too big, the boats couldn’t get too close to the shore. Jeffery insisted on taking Eli and I freaked out a bit. A stranger had walked off, in chestdeep water with my son. I couldn’t see him, and my heart sank. Justin reassured me that he could see him. He grabbed a bag and got into the water. Being as short as I am, when I climbed off the boat I was neckdeep in water at moments, and then swimming the next! I carried nothing, as I was barely able to stay upright. I made my way towards that light on the beach, and then ran towards the only thatched roofed shelter that I saw. Inside I found Eli wrapped in a towel, behind the welcome desk, on a strangers lap, with a huge grin on his face. “Mama!!!” A couple of minutes later, Justin came into the hut, carrying two of our bags. We had made it. It was crazy. It was scary. But we had made it!!

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QINGDAO FAMILY

Become the best version of you! Be S.M.A.R.T in 2018! Learn how to make and KEEP your new year's resolutions with Jack L.A.

New year is a time when many people around the world make resolutions. However, many of the resolutions made are rarely kept as an overwhelming number of people are either distracted along the way or do not want to bother themselves. These set of people probably belong to the school of thought that believe what is going to be is going to be. Remember, life is what you make of it. Having said that, when thinking about new year resolutions, two questions that spring to mind are, what should they be based on and how do we make and stick to them?

To start with, a resolution is more about making changes to one’s life. Based on this premise, it is evident the idea may seem daunting if not impossible to the ‘lily-livered’. Unsurprisingly though, most people know what they are supposed to do to become their best version. However, without a compelling reason, it is very unlikely most of us will stick to our resolutions. As we all know, it takes time to create a new habit. In fact, it takes an average of 21 days going by life coach experts, to create one. But guess what! Many

people give up their new year’s resolution before the third week of January. Why? They are less motivated. Plain and simple. So, what should your new year resolutions be based on and what can you do to stay motivated? The answer is simple: be S.M.A.R.T.! You are much more likely to achieve your resolutions if you are motivated by rewards and incentives. By creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, with a Timetable) goals, you can


QINGDAO FAMILY

break down your resolutions into manageable pieces. If for example, your aim is to save for the first 10% down payment on a property by the end of the year, depending on your total monthly take home, your SMART goal may be to suspend any other expenses for the year and save 40% - 60% of your income by ‘eating in’, packing lunches and taking the bus to work rather than using your vehicle. These are doable as they are simple changes in your spending habits. If your resolution is to kick a bad habit such as smoking, going to bed late or working while you are supposed to be spending quality time with your loved ones, your best bet is to ask, why and who do you want to make this change for? The main reason for wanting to change has to mean something personally for you. In other words, the motivation should connect with your heart and soul. People who are fear-based are motivated to give things up if they are worried about the consequences

when others find out. Having examined what resolutions should be based on and how to make and stick to them, I am going to share my new year resolutions with you very briefly hoping they can serve as reminders. First and foremost, I will try as much as possible to spend ‘more’ quality time with my loved ones. My SMART goals will be to apportion a particular time, say from 4pm - 8pm everyday playing with my daughter’s, helping with housework, watching TV and having meaningful conversations with my ‘better half’. Secondly, I am going to rest and exercise more. I have just recently signed up to a gym and will be taking classes in aerobics, light weight lifting and muscle training four times a week. Thirdly, I am going to have to prioritise tasks. I tend to have more than 3 projects running simultaneously. By prioritising, I am able to clearly identify the most important tasks at any moment and give those tasks more of my attention, energy, and

Jack L.A. is a passionate educator, CLIL, IELTS & ESP tutor and e-learning coordinator. He is the academic director of Aceish Education (www.aceish. com), an educational technology and online education concern. He currently tutors literature and language arts part time at Guokai School (international department), Qingdao. Contact details - Wechat (brigle2015), QQ (1493802455), Email: aceish2015@hotmail.com. NB: CLIL - Content and Language Integrated Learning; ESP - English for Specific Purpose

time. Consequently, I will be more focused and efficient when dealing with personal and professional matters. On a final note, although it may be daunting, I am determined to achieve these goals come what may. The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. What are your new year resolutions? How do you plan to stick to them? Be S.M.A.R.T!

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YEW CHUNG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF QINGDAO WRITERS' CORNER

This Magical World of Mine By Daniel Gakes I know a place where we can go, If we feel down, Or feel alone. There are rollercoasters, sweets and more, You and I would never be bored, In this magical world of mine. There are fairies, elves and goblins too, All of them want to play with you, In this magical world of mine. There are no schools, Veggies don’t exist. Parents are cool, And you can’t resist, This magical world of mine. If you are scared, Or feel alone, You can play with garden gnomes, In this magical world of mine. I know a place where we can go, We’ll never feel down Or be alone. There are rollercoasters, sweets and more, I promise you we’d never be bored, In this magical world of mine.

Qingdao Family Feb 2018  
Qingdao Family Feb 2018  
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