Well it's been a while since I updated. I actually thought I'd updated a couple of weeks ago but realized yesterday that it hadn't saved on the blog so this will be a summarized version of the last month!
To be honest, it's been an absolutely crazy few weeks! The school decided that, as they're skint and while they've got (some) man power, they'd put on an intensive English course for a month before we all left and they were w***ed again. This would be fine, apart from the fact that they brought 120 students into the school, (30 students in each class) when the school doesn't even have 120 chairs and the classrooms fit 6 people in comfortably. Nightmare. They also hadn't bothered to placement test any of the students so we had classes with people who couldn't say hello and those who could give you a philosophical argument banged in together…sooo me and sarah took it on ourselves to spend a whole night placement testing everyone and putting them into levels before we even entertained the idea of trying to teach the ridiculous set up that it was for a month.
It's also been a nightmare over the last few weeks with timetables. Jaoquin (the DoS) eventually found out he'd got the job in Beijing he wanted. It says something when your boss would rather move 600 miles away from all his friends to a demoted position than stay the director of IH. So now he's gone and the new acting DoS is one of the Chinese staff from upstairs at the school and frankly a dog could do a better job. She has been that flustered that we had to look and sort out the timetables for her, and rejig everything because teachers are dropping like flies left right and centre. First Jaoquin, then Laura the Spanish teacher, then Sarah and now Eva and Martina (the German teachers) have just left. It's been a bit of a battle at school the last few weeks but at least we finally got them to pay us most of what we're owed and hopefully by Tuesday I'll have everything before flying back!
It hasn't all been bad though, with everyone leaving, it has meant that we've had a lot of leaving dos! Jaoquin's was quite a sombre night cuz no one wanted to see him go. It was the usual night of beer and baijiu with some food and music thrown in outside Peng You's shop. There were millions of people there and all trying to squeeze in to see Jaoquin before he left. I never thought I'd have a need to use Spanish or French while I was in china but it's such a multinational little group that teaches here in this little corner of Xi'an that you basically have to be bilingual to speak to anybody.Brings the laughs though when you try and talk in a language you haven't used for 5 years. On the upside- my Chinese is getting better now, it's a shame I've got to leave for that reason cuz it could get pretty good in a year. I'll have to get a pen pal haha.
Not long after Jaoquin left, Sarah's dad came to visit which was really nice. They went to Beijing and when they came back we got to meet him and show him the sights of Xi'an with Sarah. He was really nice and bought us all tea a couple of nights and a few drinks when we went to a bar. We kept telling him he shouldn't but when he said it's only £20 we realized just how much we think in Yuan now. It's going feel like I'm in Saudi Arabia when I get back!
I also managed to get my holiday in before anymore teachers decided to leave! It was so nice to have time off from Primary school! I had really wanted to see the pandas but they'd been moved to the expo and as Sarah went and said it was absolutely rubbish, it wasn't worth spending the money to wait in a 4 hour queue to see pandas for 5 minutes. Nevermind. I entertained myself anyway, spending a couple of days just relaxing and I went to Tang paradise- a cultural theme park. Basically it's just a garden showing things from the Tang dynasty era. It was a really nice day when I went (the weather hasn't cooled down at all and at one point it was 39 degrees, I thought I was going die), but it wasn't worth the money. I managed to get some good pics though that I'll put up when I get back.
It was Sarah's and the Czech girls leaving dos then. Sarah decided to have it at ParkQin, the hostel pub in the city which is really nice and really cheap. Everyone from school was there and although it was quiet begin a Thursday night we had a really good night. We also tried out a different club (after the fiasco of the one before where everyone just groped you) called Song and Song which was actually more like a bar/club than just a club. They played more mainstream music as well which was nice and had a really good night, shown by the fact that we didn't get in bed until 5am.Luckily I wasn't teaching! The day after, on Friday night, it was the Czech girls turn. It was a bit of a crappy rainy night so we took the party to Sergiy's house. Being Czech, they'd bought vodka instead of the baijiu which was a blessing! And over here, it's watered down and nowhere near as strong as the stuff back home. We had another really good night and by this point, if ever im in need of a place to stay in Kazakhstan, Spain, Czech republic, Germany or pretty much anywhere there's someone from school I can ring haha!
So that's nearly it! It was laura's leaving do last night which was a very low key thing with food and a few beers at this little park place not far from the school, where vendors just set up tables and food stalls at night, so it's buzzing but not in the thick of the concrete jungle. Me and Gulhan left around 12.30 to walk home and walk off all the noodles that we eventually got. Ordering for 25 people from a little vendor took 2 hours and must have broken their backs bless 'em but we got it in the end.
I got back to a quiet (clean!) flat as Sarah left on Saturday and Emma left on Monday for Hong Kong to get her new visa now she's stayin here in Xi'an working at another school, so it's been nice to have the house to myself for a week J.
Well only a few more days of work left until I finish at IH Xi'an for good, then only another couple of days until I'm back in the good ole UK. I'll try and blog one last time before I leave, with thoughts of the whole experience and all that, but for now, that's it!