Well the time for leaving has officially started.
Although we've only been here 5 weeks so far and despite feeling like shaking our heads at the job sometimes it has become a little family and thank god for it! However, our little family is slowly breaking up as the months progress until July.
Marco, a manager from IH Palermo in Sicilly was the first to go who was just on a visit. I told you about Yuan Fei, one of the managers at IH who we all went out to KTV for last weekend (one of the only managers who's not an idiot), was next to go and now a fellow ying yu loashi (YING-YOO-L-OW-SHER- english teacher), Theo is finally leaving. You'll see that i've made him the picture for this entry because his leaving night last night was quite an eventful one and because he's leaving to continue doing something amazing which if anyone fancies it can be seen on his blog: http://www.asfaraseastisfromwest.com/. On his blog if you read it, you'll see that so far, Theo arrived in Hong Kong in 2009 where he spent a year, as his brother lives there too, and from there has planned to cycle all the 16000 km home to Norfolk. He cycled up to Xi'an but couldn't go any further when winter hit because the conditions would have just been too hard and so stopped here until now, teaching English at IH. Now, however, he's can carrying on so we all went out last night for a bit of a send off.
It started off as a bit of a shambles to be honest! Theo had picked a nice, cheapish pizza place miles away from where anyone lives, near the Big Goose pagoda, in an effort to try and please everyone with something different than chinese I think! This was fine, except that the directions given said that it was on the south side of the pagoda. After an hour (with trying to find a bus, the actual bus journey and Sarah precariously trying to hold a 10 inch cake without it splattering everywhere while sitting over the wheel of the bus) we rang to find out where the hell we were to which we were told that the restaurant had given out the wrong info and it was on the North side. So the walking began and eventually we arrived and hour and a half later than the meeting time at 7! There was still pizza and the creamiest cake you've ever seen in all your life to eat though so it wasn't all bad! Plus, Theo very nicely paid for the pizza as his leaving present to everyone else.
When everyone but the IH staff had left, the plan was to head back homewards to a little shop owned by the cutest little chinese man called Peng You (Pen yo). After 20 mins waiting for buses and after all Sergey's moaning about waiting and wanting to get taxis (for 15 people might I add) I eventually said that, fine if he could get 5 taxis lined up here in the next 2 mins we'd get in them. My sarcastic little quip got shot down within about 10 bloody seconds when lo-and-flipping-behold 6 turned round the corner with the vacant lights on and pulled up. Would you bloody believe it?!
when we got to the shop, where Peng You has all the staff round at night to keep him company and drink bai jiu (that disgusting spirit I told you about last week), the shutters were down. We were all deciding what to do next when we saw that Sergey had gone to get the poor bloke out of bed and he was running down the road a chinese fag in one hand, keys in the other!
We all piled in and it wasn't long before the wasabi peas, fruit sweets, peanuts, beer and bai jiu were being passed around, while toasts, speeches and a lot of drunken photos were being done. Even Peng You's usually disapproving wife was having a good time and hugging and kissing everyone- I have a sneaky suspicion she was spiked with some bai jiu at some point, bless her!
Eventually though, when it was getting to the 2/3ish mark, bed started calling and people started filtering out. We had hugs and byes and all that and went home. Wisely, Theo isn't actually leaving until Tuesday so he can recover from the traditional chinese drunken send off!
Well, that's it again for now. I hope you enjoyed the little insight into the strange nightlife of Westerners in Xi'an when you get befriended by a cute old chinese man who just wants to play rock paper scissors and tell you about his dog.
More to come soon