I leave the country for 5 minutes and you let the Tories in! Play the game, people!
I've sat down to write this a few times and fallen asleep each time. Not that what I have to say is boring, just that I've had some really long days recently. Well, OK, it's a combination of only having boring things to say and having really long days.
So I'm sat now watching world sport on CCTV5, drinking a cup of Colombian coffee and wondering: 'Time, where did you go?' I've been teaching here now for over 2 months (286 hours of lessons!) and am pretty well-settled. (By the way, the TV programme Gladiators has really lost something in translation to Chinese. They're bouncing around on one leg holding one foot and knee-ing each other. Weirdos.)
This last week my students have all been doing exams for me. Will and Wes have given all of their students written exams (for some reason!) and I've recorded all of my students speak. All 300 million of them. I've had debate classes, journalism classes and oral classes. Some have been excellent, some have been good and some have cheated. I've managed to weed out the cheaters and made them feel really, really bad about it. I've got around 22/30 hours of listening and marking to do these coming days. The students have all been given scores in the 90s by previous foreign teachers, making me think that the teachers had given up trying to grade so many students. Ha! Quitters.
Will, Wes and I went to Huludao the other weekend. Wes had some speakers mended by a small man with 3 pairs of glasses, a soldering iron in one hand and a top pocket full of resistors, capacitors and cigarettes. He did a cracking job, actually. I looked for some memory for my laptop and cudne find none. Wes also had his teeth looked at at a walk-in dentist clinic. Very odd being able to see other people get there teeth done in an almost open-plan dentist. (What is "almost open-plan"? Ajar-plan? Roe?)
We ate at a Sichuan restaurant which was another spicy hot-pot place. The lamb was immense; we didn't eat frogs. On the way back into the city centre from the restaurant, we passed a park which was almost entirely jam-packed with people using whips! It was just plain odd. They were whipping the floor, getting rid of all their pent-up, Indiana Jones fury. We also went to the local supermarket to stock up on bread. There's not a single place near where we live that bakes non-sweet bread. I dislike this.
Oh! The other day I got back to my apartment, desperate for a wee, lifted the toilet seat lid and there was a cigarette end in there. Now, for the smokers among you, you're thinking, So? But, I don't smoke. Someone had been in my apartment, while I wasn't there, for long enough to smoke a cigarette! I was not happy. I rang everyone in my Chinese phonebook and complained like Billy O. (Where does that come from? Is Billy Ocean a bit of a complainer? Roe?) Prime example of living behind collectivist lines.
In other news: Will is really bad at s***head. So far I've developed "The Shaming Badge of Shame" and "The Sombrero of Shame". I am currently working on blue-prints for "The Shaming Throne of Shame" and "King Shame's Balaclava".
My Chinese is progressing at a slow rate. It's getting quite difficult to find time to practise because I'm speaking English all day with my students and I'm too tired when I get in at night. Oh! (I've never really liked or understood why people write such interjections!) Every night and morning there seems to be an OAP fitness school or something going on outside my apartment. There's a big open court where they dancerise and use swords to Chinese music and all sorts! Will wouldn't dance with me. It looks like the perfect place to meet a Chinese girlfriend. Actually, I'm not really after a Chinese girlfriend who is both old and heavily-armed. By the way, with the good weather finally arriving, my 23-year old female students are becoming less and less dressed in my lessons. Nothing short of a knighthood would be worth me behaving.
In the pipeline for future lessons: all my favourite games from Whose Line Is It Anyway?; English Whispers; making English voiceovers for Chinese adverts and outdoor poetry. The latter is not making poems about outdoor but instead having poetry classes outside in the sun.
OK, folks, back to Knee Gladiators...