I have been a teacher at GDUFS for over four years now and I am overwhelmed with all of the blessings from my colleagues and students. They may not even know it. But I am blessed. They have made my years at GDUFS fulfilling. They have challenged me to be a better teacher. They make me want to be the best. And I try. GDUFS has given me opportunities to give extracurricular lectures, and my personal favorite will always be the American Cooking Lecture.
Before coming to China, I gathered some recipes from my mom. One of the recipes was my mom’s zucchini, or carrot cake – depending on which vegetable was available!I found that carrots were readily available and whenever I had Chinese visitors to my home I made this cake for them. Some would say “It is too sweet” but would eat it all up, and the majority of visitors would say “Your cake is sooo good!” which led my husband and I to say, “Why don’t we teach our students about American cooking and bake them a carrot cake?”
Well, we carried our 65 X 40 cm Tomato brand oven to the classroom and proceeded to sift flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt into the grated carrots, eggs, sugar, and oil. The students gasped when we added the sugar. “It is chemistry and it needs that much sugar to taste good” we responded. It was also a very large cake;it fed almost everyone in the very crowded room. While the cake took 45 minutes to bake and began to give off a wonderful aroma, we shared other recipes and some pictures of traditional Thanksgiving dishes. The questions the students asked and the enjoyment of eating cake at the end was a highlight. I had students that I had never taught in the classroom come up to us for years after this lecture and say, “I had a piece of your carrot cake.”
What an opportunity that GDUFS gave me, to share something that was part of my home and my life at that lecture. So this has been a place where I feel welcome. I have students that can carry on intellectual conversations in their second language because this university encourages that, and that makes me smile. There are friends and colleagues whom I can confide in and they make me feel at home and loved. Teaching at GDUFS is an ongoing adventure, a place where I am growing, a place where I can have my cake and eat it too.