Just spent a very frustrating morning on the internet trying to access both my email and the WordPress blogging site: the firewalls here block access to these on a daily basis so this is a regular routine. Two hours later, and 20$ lighter, I am now the proud owner of a VPN account, which gives me access to sites through a server in the US. Unfortunately I am now running out of time so I shall make this blog short.
Been getting back into the groove of teaching after a nice (but tiring) holiday. My first class last night was Teddy 1, where my role is pretty much to babysit for 40mins: I planned a lesson that involved learning foods, and then prepared a game where the kids fished for different food objects (no off the cuff lessons here). The fishing went down a storm, but I’d be surprised if they could tell you the difference between ice cream and fish by the time they went home that evening. The next class was much older, and I managed to have a chat with them and teach them some new words before having another spectacular fail with grammar. I made up something about how I was actually correct, but nobody – least of all the students – was buying it. How embarrassing.
Last night I had a run in with my friendly ‘Chairman Mao’ local at the dumpling restaurant not far from my school (those who pay attention to my ramblings on this blog will remember him from a couple of weeks ago). My Chinese is definitely improving because as opposed to smiling like an idiot I was able to tell him a little bit about myself and that I definitely didn’t understand anything he was saying. Small steps but I feel like we’re bonding. This is the same place where I once ate 30 dumplings in one sitting – quite a feat even for me – and I can’t helping thinking the owner is a little disappointed now that I just order 10. It’s tough, but that body fat percentage isn’t coming down on its own!
The last couple of days have found me longing for the UK, my first time since arriving here. I think this is just a reaction to having to do some actual work for a change, as opposed to gallivanting off around the country. I picked up a cafetière and coffee from Will (thanks Mr. and Mrs. Shaw!) so my mornings are now a much more cheerful affair; and I can now complete my gym workouts in the morning looking like I am at least half awake. I doesn’t help that Man Utd got through to the Champions League final last night and I missed it – typical. Apparently the final will be on Chinese television so I will stay up late to watch it – if anyone from home wants to join me I can offer cheap beer, dumplings and great coffee for the morning after. Answers by email…