Grampa Bill Index

Travel in the USA Index

First Days in SF

Street People

Going to Colorado

At My Sister's House

Going to Chicago/Michigan

East Lansing - 1

East Lansing - 2

Goodbye Michigan -
Hello Chicago & KC


January 23, 2012

Dear Shandong Sport University Students,

This will be the first of a series of emails that will document my trip to the United States of America for you. It is my idea that you will "travel with me" during the next 30 days as I make my way across the United States of America.

My plan it to start in San Francisco, California for 4 days and then travel by American rail road (Amtrak) across Nevada, and Utah and stop at my sister's house in Grand Junction, Colorado for 4 days. My sister is a teacher, her husband Glen raises cattle, and their two young adult children help with the cattle, go to college, play musical instruments, and do many things that you can relate to.

After four days I will get back on the train and travel across the Rocky Mountain of Colorado, move across Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois (an area of farm land known as the "bread basket to the world").

Next I will pass through the great city of Chicago, briefly cut across Indiana, and travel to the heart of Michigan where I will visit friends on the campus of an important public university - known as Michigan State University. All along the way, I will introduce you to special friends of mine working at their jobs and living the life of "average" Americans.

Toward the end of the trip, I will retrace my journey back across America but this time taking a southern route to Los Angles and ending again in San Francisco. On February 25, 2012 I will fly to Beijing and finally arrive back in Jinan for the Spring semester.

Most teachers and students at Shandong Sport University will not begin class until late in February BUT as for me, I am teaching you now and you are in my class so open your minds to learn English and a great deal of American culture.

* * *

Today was a very special day for China - the start of thr Year of the Dragon - 2012. For me it is even more unusual. Last night and this morning I celebrated the new year in DaXing - Beijing leaving China at 8:55 AM on January 23, 2012.

I then got on an Air China jet and raced EAST for 11 hours 30 minutes arriving in San Francisco at 9:00 AM January 23, 2012 - to be able to celebrate Chinese New Year in this important city where 1 in 5 of the people living here has Chinese ancestors. So in this special way I got to celebrate New Years Day for almost 48 hours!

On the way over I met Lucy Xu who was an English major. She has been working for Dragon Horse Chinese & Foreign Entrepreneurs Service Co. of Beijing. This was her first foreign trip and she was going to New York to meet a potential education partner for her firm to send students. I helped her find her connecting flight in the Japanese airport terminal. We took different planes to the States.

When I got to San Francisco the van that took me to he hostel was driven by Wu Chan. Chan has worked in the states off and on for 9 years. He just got back from spending six months in his hometown of Qingdao, Shandong. Most of you can speak English as good as Wu Chan - so he and I chatted in a mixture of English/Chinese - much as we do. The reason he was in Qingdao was to get married. His dream is to go back to China and open a car wash business in time. So he is here now, saving up his money for his business back home.

I am sending this email to a group of class I, class II, and class III leaders I call my "mooncake leaders" because of the special meeting we had at my apartment in the Fall. I EXPECT you to pass this email to all the students in our three classes. I will also share this email with some of the leaders at Shandong Sport University (so they can understand our commitment to learning), some of my former VIPP students, and other close Chinese and American friends.

Please write to me as we travel on this journey together. Let us make this a very special learning project that involves English Majors, but also Educational Technology, and Instructional Technology. Ask questions as we go.

I have attached seven pictures from these first two days.

The Adelaide Hostel

On a cable car


At Fisherman's Wharf

Alcatraz Island

The "F" Line

At work in the Adelaide Hostel

Your teacher in America,