2002 Archive

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(▲ Links to the pages at the same level as this page. If you can't see the label, put your mouse over a button and look at the bottom of your browser.)

Jan 2002

Spring 02

May/Jun 02

Jun/Jul 02

Aug 2002 Sept 2002

Oct 2002

Nov 2002

Dec 2002

Note: various links or other references may be mentioned below that no longer apply. Sorry for the inconvenience.


January 19, 2002

Dear Friends & Family,


      It has been a month since our last update, and the trip we were looking forward to was all we hoped for and more! Andrew and his cousins were great company for each other as their parents and grandparents enjoyed such historic places as Ephesus, Hieropolis, Laodicea, Antalya and Perga. It was also wonderful to share Christmas together as an extended family for a change. Then we renewed old friendships during a wonderful week in Israel. We found people friendly and very appreciative of our presence. It was nothing like we see on the news, and this is a great time to visit the Holy Land since there are NO tourists! As long as you stay away from the “trouble spots” Israel is probably safer than most places--and OH what sites are available to students of history! From the placid Sea of Galilee where Jesus taught former fishermen to be “fishers of men,” to the fortress of Masada in the desert by the Dead Sea, history came alive with every new vista. Highlights of our visit to Jerusalem included prayer at the Western Wall and the chance to see Jesus’ empty tomb. The sign on the tomb door said it all: “He is not here; He has risen.” It was a trip we will surely cherish for a lifetime!
      Meanwhile, the challenges of our life in Shanghai were waiting our return. Michael has been getting a new term started at SIS while giving end-of-term tests at two Chinese middle schools (he now has around 85 students). Vivian and Andrew are studying hard, and we all enjoy entertaining friends and finding new places of interest in thriving Shanghai. Just ahead we have the lively season of Chinese New Year to look forward to (Feb. 12 kicks off the Year of the Horse). Hopefully by then we will have some photos ready to post from our trip.
      So, stop back by in February to check out changes in our website, and until then we wish you and yours a prosperous Lunar New Year!


Michael, Vivian and Andrew           (back to top) 




Spring 2002


       Note: There was no official update between January and May of 2002. There are several reasons for this. During the February Spring Festival break we traveled to Michael's old university for a wonderful vacation (see the Xiamen photo page). Then when classes resumed Michael's schedule changed drastically--again! This note from an e-mail Michael sent in March should show you what we mean:


One sure has to stay flexible over here in terms of work. I started the year with four classes (i.e., 4 groups of students), 85 students, nine lessons to prepare, and 8 hours in taxis to get to three campuses each week. That changed to 11 classes, 200+ students, and nine lessons to prepare. That changed to 10 classes, 180 students, and eight lessons. That changed to 1 class (in walking distance from home), 12 students, and 20 lessons to prepare. And yesterday this was reduced to 1 class, 11 students, and 16 lessons. On top of this I have always had many duties as the academic coordinator for the SIS Intensive English Program (a role which really suffered when I had classes on two extra campuses). Many of my replacements and fellow teachers have no teaching experience, so I can't just put them in front of a class (like my boss does to me!). Instead, I must create a few lesson plans and walk them through things for a week or so. Needless to say, all of this takes TIME!


       Then a leading university approached Michael to become a contributing editor for a new textbook they were about to publish. (Their original "Foreign Expert" got sick and had to leave the country, and they had gotten way behind schedule.) This turned into a second "full-time" job as Michael put in an additional 127 hours of work over the next six weeks (give or take). However, in the end we were all proud of the completed New Horizon College English level two text (with teacher's manual, workbook, web-site stuff, etc.).

       In the middle of all this we had several health problems, both in China and in the USA. Our adult daughter, Beth, was diagnosed with Epilepsy, drastically changing her life and leading us to worry even more from 12 time zones away. About two weeks later, Michael's Dad had a mild heart attack. Meanwhile, Vivian's Dad was still recovering from a heart attack, and fell a few times. Michael's Dad recovered quickly, but Vivian's father had a slower recovery.

       Then Vivian spent several busy April days in Xi'an and finally worked out a contract for Michael to teach at a well-known university, starting in the fall. This meant that we would be moving, and that started the long packing process. With all the medical trouble back in the US (plus Vivian's undeniable need for corrective eye surgery), Vivian and Andrew started planning for a summer trip to South Carolina. Meanwhile, Michael had to step up our efforts to get ready to record a music CD (the pianist was pregnant, and the producer and lead backup singer were also planning to leave the country soon).

       On top of all this, our webmaster was getting very busy and thus had less time to spare for www.krigline.com. All of this led to the long delay in posting any updates about our busy lives!


                                                        (back to top) 



May/June 2002 (May 21)


Dear Friends,


      We have been especially busy for the past month or so, mainly in relation to a project to record some of Michael's songs at a nearby studio. We are please to report that the recording phase of the project is finished and we now have 14 songs on a CD! You can't imagine how much work goes into something like this! Those who have heard the result say it is wonderful, but Michael is quick to admit that it sounds like "an English teacher and his friends" as opposed to a bunch of professional musicians! Be that as it may, we are DEEPLY indebted to the many talented friends who volunteered their time and talents to participate. How can you get a copy? Well, that is phase two, and we are still trying to find an economical way to reproduce the CDs. Stay tuned--we'll post something here when everything is finalized!

     Meanwhile, life remains busy with Michael teaching, Vivian studying Chinese, and Andrew doing what all kids do! Vivian and Andrew are also getting excited about a short visit to the US for the month of July. Michael will stay in Shanghai to keep working and to start packing up the apartment to move to Xi'an (see photo album) where he will take up a university teaching post in August.

     Thanks for stopping by. Sorry we've been too busy to post messages here more often, but that seems to be becoming more and more "normal" for us these days as there is always SO much to do in Shanghai!


All the best,


Michael, Vivian and Andrew           (back to top) 




June/July 2002


       As June comes around, the CD recording of Michael’s songs is being duplicated here in Shanghai (see our new <<“I’ll Sing” CD>> web page!). About 20 people volunteered their time to help us out, and we will be eternally grateful for their sacrifice! We spent scores of hours and hundreds of dollars to put 14 songs on the CD, and those who have already heard the result say it is worth listening to! I’m glad it is done and hope that some good will come out of the project.

       Meanwhile, my teaching duties are winding down for the summer, even as our school undergoes continual change due to construction. This has also affected Andrew, as classrooms and schedules get moved around frequently. Vivian’s after school Victory Kidz Club also ends soon, as does the Saturday morning English class she has been teaching.

       Andrew and Vivian are looking forward to their flight to the US on June 26 (returning to Shanghai August 6). Andrew plans to visit his grandparents and some of his old school friends, and Vivian will try to have eye surgery done in the short time she is Stateside. I will stay in Shanghai to catch up on some work and prepare for our move to Xi’an in mid-August. As always, there is lots to do and never enough time to get it all done!

       Thanks for stopping by. We hope your summer is also productive, and may we all find the time to rest and reflect upon the blessings we so often take for granted!!


Michael Krigline for the family          (back to top)  




       There was no August update, but here are some highlights. Vivian's eye surgery in the US went very well, and she returned to China not needing glasses expect to read--quite a change from needing BOTH contacts and glasses a month before! Meanwhile, Andrew had his eyes tested and STARTED to wear glasses to read. The doctor did not think this was related to Andrew's eye accident a year before, but one wonders. Beth's Epilepsy medicine also started to work properly, so Vivian felt much better about Beth as she and Andrew returned to China.

       Meanwhile, Michael spent the summer catching up on work, packing, and saying goodbye to Shanghai friends. Here's a e-mail note from Michael that is worth posting here:

       Meanwhile I'm wrapping up loose ends, fighting a cold, and packing--where did all this stuff come from, anyway!? One of the best things about moving is the reminder that the best things in life are not THINGS at all, as many of your once-precious things get left in a bag beside the curb. As Paul put it: the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. And now we turn west to Xi'an. We feel this is the next step in our quest--our calling--to love and serve the people of China in any way we can, and (especially in the classroom) to serve with excellence. When people ask why we do it, the answer is pretty simple: we are following a Great Example!!


          (back to top)  




September 17, 2002


Greetings from Xi’an!


     We moved to this ancient capital about a month ago, and we are still in the process of settling in. We found a nice apartment, not too far from Andrew’s new school (Xi’an Int’l School), and only a few bus stops away from Northwest Polytechnic University where Michael and Vivian teach English. Michael is working full time in the English Department, while Vivian works part time in the University’s continuing education program (NPU Western Technology Cooperative Center). Once we found the apartment we set about to furnish and clean it, and turn it into our home. Meanwhile, we have been exploring the shopping areas nearby, learning how to live in this new environment. We have also been making new friends on and off campus!

     Please forgive us for letting our website get so far out of date. During China’s upcoming National Day holidays (Oct. 1-3) we hope to make time to “fix everything,” bringing the website back up to date. Michael is beginning to learn how to use MS FrontPage, and Vivian returned from the USA with a copy of the old website files that need to be updated. So, please be patient, and check back next month to see if we reached our goal!


Michael, Vivian and Andrew

Teaching and Learning in XI’AN, CHINA!           (back to top)  




October 13, 2002


Greetings from Xi’an!


As promised, I have been working on this website for scores of hours, but the process seems to be "two steps forward, one step back." My first attempt to upload files went great, but after that my computer kept misplacing the files at my web host. (I am not sure I am using these terms properly!) I even called Susan (my "webmaster" in the US), but she could not figure out what was going on either. SO, I zipped the files and emailed them to her to load. BUT this still did not solve my long term problem--namely my desire to be able to fix and add stuff as desired.


Thinking that maybe the problem was incompatibility between MS Front Page 2002 (which I got from the US last spring) and Front Page 2000 (which Susan had been using), it occurred to me that Vivian's computer had the older software.  After going to the trouble to transfer the files and fix the resulting "translation problems," it still would not upload. I fiddled with settings and read various instructions for hours before trying (in desperation!) the same upload instruction that had already failed several times. This time it worked! If you are reading this, it obviously worked again, but there is no telling how long it will take me to upload all the newest changes!


Such is life. If you have known us for long, you know that "change" could be our middle name! At work, just last week my schedule changed (I split 50 students into two classes), two days of class were canceled (two sports days were added with no warning), and my classroom changed (they are moving me into a fancy new building with all kinds of cool electronic equipment built in!). So, some change is good and some isn't. 


When we changed locations (Shanghai to Xi'an) in August, some of our stuff was damaged. I have added some photos under the heading of  "Shipping Damage," mainly for the benefit of the moving company.


Of course we have recently changed a lot of relationships, leaving behind old friends in SH, and getting to know new people here. Last night we had 15 of Vivian's students over to our little apartment to talk and watch a movie. This is something we hope to do regularly, in addition to sharing lunch with students near campus rather often.


I am sure more changes are ahead. I want to keep changing this website, but it looks like that is going to take a lot of time. So be patient, and keep coming back every once in a while. There is no telling what you will find!


Michael Krigline

Teaching and Learning in Xi'an          (back to top)  




November 1, 2002

Dear Friends, 

The process of updating this website continues to go slowly. It is rather odd--sometimes I just push a button and everything is fine, but most of the time I push, then wait, and about half an hour later a message comes up saying something is wrong. I'll just keep pushing those buttons, and eventually things will show up the way I want them!

For the most part, things have settled down for us here in Xi'an. Vivian and I are busy with our teaching duties, and Andrew is getting used to the tougher pace at the international school. We have bought all the furniture we plan to buy for a while, and it is a good thing because we are broke! So, for the next few months we will just sit back on our new sofa, grade papers on our new desks, and enjoy our new home! (You can see some photos of the place on our apartment page.)

Some of the new or improved features of our website are listed below. Look around. You never know what you will find!

Teaching and Learning in Xi'an,
Michael Krigline for the family

Note: In October I added pictures of wet boxes arriving from Shanghai ("Shipping Damage"), photos of the NPU campus (with student essays and photos attached), another song to the CD page, and a new English Study Guide. You will also find a few more favorite links and some articles that we have written.
          (back to top)  




December 1, 2002

Dear Friends, 

I love the Christmas season! Our CD collection provides familiar and uplifting Christmas music. We have some classic movies with us (like Dickens' Christmas Carol and Capra's It's a Wonderful Life), and it is fun to share them with our new friends as we enjoy them again every year. Our artificial Christmas tree is as beautiful as ever, thanks to the students who came over to help us decorate it. We are also looking forward to a special Christmas party on campus, as we introduce all of our students to this wonderful holiday on Christmas morning (yes, it is a regular work day over here!).

It is easy to see the attraction of Christmas, even among people who really know nothing about this holiday. Red and green decorations and colorful lights provide a bright contrast to the dull colors of early winter. Everyone likes gifts (both giving and receiving!). Add the warmth of baked goods and parties, and the season is almost irresistible! Most importantly, Christmas presents several powerful, positive themes: peace on Earth, joy, and eternal love.

May all of that and more be yours this Christmas time!

Michael Krigline for Vivian and Andrew

NOTE: An article I wrote about Christmas is--or soon will be--available via our links page. You can also learn about the history and meaning of Christmas symbols via http://wilstar.com/xmas/xmassymb.htm.

I continue to have trouble uploading things to this website. My fiber-optic cable gives me transfer speeds of up to 500k inside China, but the transfer rate to the USA is usually about 20k! I do not know if the problem is physical or political, but I will keep trying to keep our website current and full of interesting things to see!                  
(back to top)  


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