Life in America getting tougher.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life on the Red Sea

Life on the Red Sea near the ancient quarter has not been easy.  People relied on the fishing trade to survive.  There were, and still are few resources like much of Arabia.  Al Gassim has agriculture and the Arabian Gulf has vast oil reserves.  The people on the Red Sea have a culture all their own.


The area is being developed, in very recent years, for coastal development, centers of trade and new manufacturing, the production of electricity and education.  These developments are working and supporting better lives for the people along the coast.  Jeddah and the influx of pilgrims to Mecca are a source of travel into the, to be opened shortly King Abdulaziz International Airport.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

International Teaching has such a strong appeal.

Got another job offer contact. This one may be hard to refuse. The money is good. Last year my school closed so was out of work for a number of months. Not going to let this happen again.The Rub Al Khali Desert tourism destinations

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time to write about some travels


So many times have people said, “you should write about your travels”.  I was asked by TES four years ago to write about my experience teaching in China.  Never did it.  International School Community asked me to write a blurb about a place we visited.  The one I wrote about is:

What fantastic people including the mayor and head of tourism who made sure we had a place to stay.  A family we got to stay with and Tom who returned us to: Fairmont Peace Hotel

water town

One of the famous bridges in Zhouzhaung.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Almost summer

The end of another school year is upon us.  Saturday, 3 June, 2017 I attended the largest, high school graduation I can remember.  Twenty-four hundred students.  The largest since my own with some 700 students, years ago.  The past year has been quite an adjustment, and everything expats cannot prepare for.

Two things, one being a budget.  The generous income, and benefits, paid by private, international schools allows numerous opportunities for saving, travel and generosity with children (grown-ups now).  It has been a discovery that the time for a budget, now that the wife and I are both working is coming into focus.

The second is personal health.  Being on the go and living in other cultures keeps you on the go.  Living in bigger cities, for short periods of time, requires a great deal of walking and innovative means to get from place to place.  In the past I was required to meet new people, get to the grocery and of course explore new destinations.   Being back in the U.S. my life is way more motor-driven.  That is most tasks require getting in a motorized vehicle and get on a highway.  This equals, unhealthy habits.  I have gained 30 lbs. since leaving Germany in July, 2016.  Deplorable, and my blood pressure is up.

The last day of work is 9, June.  So lining up projects around the house.  I have been doing steps lately and got pretty good at a set going into the garage!

ECOT graduation

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back in Ohio, USA

American cookout

American cookout

Something culturally unique is the American cookout.  The Lebanese, Jordanians, Egyptians, and others, travel to the park or have an elevated cooking space.  Typically one may not have the luxury of surroundings such as are available in the U.S.   Our son-in-law embraced having his home (castle) and mastering his grill.  A great feeling.

The return to the U.S. is a great feeling.  So glad to be here and starting a lifestyle embracing the culture in Central Ohio.  Today, I made a phone call.  I realized:

The receiver’s response was in English.  I think I know the speed limit on a rural road.  I have seen many familiar faces the last several days.  People who create run-on sentences, and I understand what they said. You get in your car to go somewhere.  My buddies at the YMCA.  People with similar beliefs.  The church I grew up in, a grocery store with what seems like, unlimited choice. A high school reunion. TV in English. People look and act like me. A cookout. Lot’s of adorable wildlife.  There is more.  As I told my Sunday school teacher; “everybody wants to come to America.”  All this despite being greedy, consuming too much, the majority of Americans weak in faith but strong in love for their country.

Nice to be home and catch up on what I missed.  Also blessed to be living in a country where to feel safe.

John A Lawrence

Granville, Ohio USA








Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hiking at the foothills of the Alps


Great way to spend a day.  Four staff members and 12 students did an International Award day trip.  About one-half way the group missed a turn.  What we were told was a railroad track was actually a dike which we followed to the end.  The route we took had us crossing a log across the river, down a mud-covered trail (and I had tennis shoes).  Then we ended up on some kind of peninsula three sides surrounded by water and the side we ended up crossing was bound by a steep hillside.  We had to cling onto the hillside grabbing small trees, roots and mud covered with leaves.  Just a crazy day.  Those who wanted to eat lunch early were doomed.  Instead of 12:30 it was almost 13:30.

Still a great time and a great way to get to know your students.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bavarians love items made of wood.

Great Bavarian wood

Great Bavarian wood

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Move to Europe

Surprisingly I got a call from a placement service about working in Munich, Germany. Took the position and have been working here for six months now.  Much different than the Middle East or China.  Bicycle riding is, relatively, safe in Germany.  Lots of great food and drink and remaking a new life at least for the short term.

My wife had to set up house in the U.S. while I reported to a new job.  She joined me in time for Octoberfest and now has been to the U.S. for the holidays and recently returned. We have toured some of Bavaria including the Alpine region, Tirol, Austria and Salzburg.


2014-08-17 13.23.42

This is a photo of the schloss in Oberschleißheim close to where I live.  Elector Max Emanuel built this place in 1691 to rival the great palace at Versailles.  Also I work in schloss Haimhausen by no means a rival to the one pictured above but still very impressive.  Donna and I are glad to experience Europe.  The last time I lived in Europe was 1976 as a student in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

2015-01-25 09.25.04

The New Year has come, winter equinox is over and hope springs eternal.  Cannot wait to see what comes next.  Ski week of course and Karnival!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mountain Xiacun

The last few days in China are a great time to reflect on my time here and pray about the future.  What better way then to climb a mountain and listen.  It’s been almost a year and many of us who live at school do not know the entrance to climb the stairs up Mountain Xiacun.  It is smack dab in the center of a city of 600,000 inhabitants yet cry few go here.  The view is magnificent.  It is a short hard climb up a well maintained set of stairs.  The mountain in the front has a fence to keep anyone from falling off the southwestern face.  

The GPS location at the top of Xiacun.

The GPS location at the top of Xiacun.

What a glorious day.  An AQI of 36 which is as low as it gets on any given day.  What is on my mind?  The ebook written by my colleague Joe Brennan.  If you get a chance to read it “Views from the Mainland” it is an accurate account of what life is like in China from the eyes of a westerner.  And my life at a Chinese school this last year.  So true and well written.  You can get it on Amazon but not if your kindle is registered for China or the Middle East.  (I found out my kindle was registered in the Middle East and had to change it to a U.S. registration.  

What do I have to be thankful for?  Certainly the opportunity to live in China.  Sitting on this mountain viewing the beautiful surrounding is inspiring.


I have learned so much from the students and families.  It is an addiction discovering so much about people.  The Chinese people are friendly, warm and kind.  I have taught some truly gifted students.  As one colleague observed, “I just went to an ordinary university, got an ordinary degree, but I teach some not so ordinary, exceptional students.  These students will do great things in their lives”.  He is totally on target.  

Some of my students have parents who: chaired the first Islamic Council Organization (ICO), sponsored Bill Clinton to speak, handled John Kerry ‘s mission, had lunch with the governor of California, know the former secretary of the treasury, ambassadors, U.N. representatives and on and on.  Mostly I don’t even know what their parents do. 

Tenth grade emerging talent.

Tenth grade emerging talent.

So thankful for this two years and the beauty of China.  Both the natural beauty and beautiful people whose parents and grandparents have endured great hardship.

On the right is a new project with no less than 23 towers.

On the right is a new project with no less than 23 towers.

 Leaving very soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment