More Things I Have Noticed Recently

It’s been a busy old week in China. I feel that this week has been spent doing productive things, rather than just sat at home listening to music and re-watching the football highlights over and over again. I got to watch the FA Cup game last weekend via a stream online. Needless to say I got very over excited about it all, especially the 4-1 result, and despite the fact that I had to get up at 6.30am the next day, I didn’t go to bed until 2am. Surprisingly, I felt quite good during work on the Sunday, but it’s probably not something I should do every week!

There have been some things happening, randomly and not so randomly this week, which has been pretty cool. First of all, on Sunday after work we all met up for some Szechuan food, at our local restaurant just down the road from school. After this, we all headed out to a bar a friend of a friend had just opened, and we were going down for some moral support/token foreigners. From this short visit, we ended up receiving some severe positive discrimination with free gym membership to a fairly posh gym. It seems like the owner wants foreigners there, as another selling point to his gym. Considering we were just about to fork out money for a gym membership, it shows that procrastination can sometimes pay off! I’ve been three times this week and haven’t got bored yet, so I’m pretty proud of myself! We may even be doing some marketing/adverts for him soon too. So we’ll just watch this space. I may be making a foray back into the modeling world again too, as the bar also wants some photos with lots of different people in, i.e. lots of foreigners. I’ll obviously keep you updated about my blossoming modeling career.

I went to do my Christmas shopping this week, as considering that so far, packages have taken between 2-5 weeks to get to me, even if I post it soon, it’ll probably not reach home until around the New Year. So I’m apologising in advance for late cards and presents! Whilst on my shop, I came across a lot of very friendly people. As I was on my own, I reckon I seemed more approachable to everyone in the street, as usually, when we are in a larger group, as foreigners we don’t tend to get approached as quickly. I had people talking to me in shops and at bus stops. Just the usual, “where are you from?” kind of thing, but at least I know roughly what they were asking!

Speaking of shops, I went into one of the supermarkets the other day and had to have my handbag sealed inside another bag! It was all security tagged so it couldn’t be opened until you got to the tills. Pretty extreme measures to stop shop lifting, but it must work. I also got excited by the fact that I finally found vodka in a shop. I’ve been searching for almost 3 months in Erdos now and finally my patience has come to fruition. We can even buy Baileys and Gin for Christmas too, which is fantastic. This supermarket is a fairly funny place to be. As well as the whole bag in a bag thing, there are always too many staff doing nothing. It seems that the Chinese employ as many people as they can, minimum wage of course, but most of the time they end up doing nothing. The ones that are doping a job seem to be doing pointless jobs. For example, whilst one person mops, another is fanning the floor the mopper has just mopped to make it dry quicker! I mean, talk about ridiculous. But anyway, if it keeps them occupied…

There is a similar vein of craziness when it comes to the street cleaners. They wander the streets clearing up anything and everything that is lying on them. Including every single bloody leaf you have ever seen in your life. I’ve never known anything like it. They will literally pick every leaf up, whether in the road, in the bushes or in the indents in the street where the trees are. It’s crazy! We’d just leave them in the UK, or at least, not bother about every, single leaf. They love sweeping in the middle of the road too, in their bright orange clothes. It needs to be bright as they severely risk their lives every time they stand in the middle of the road, but there you go. Just another example of the China way.

WE HAVE GAS! Finally, almost 3 months after moving in we have gas. It’s very exciting as now, we can cook food that won’t burn on the bottom of the pan; the plates we’ve been using thus far do just that and it’s fairly irritating. But we have gas now so I can’t complain anymore.

I’ve been exploring the world of Taobao, which is the Chinese version of eBay. I’ve wanted to buy some dominoes for a while to make a new game in the classroom, but haven’t found any in the shops. I asked Gaby to help me find some online and I’ve ended up buying 100 dominoes for around £2.10. I haven’t got them yet, but I am very excited to and plan to make a domino track down the stairs at Arbu, which will be hilarious if I do say so myself. I’ve also bought some new speakers off Taobao, as the ones I brought with me, I broke the charger wire the other day so I have been unable to charge them, rendering them useless. So again I enlisted Gaby for Taobao help and have managed to order some.

I need them for my latest project. I’ve been told that I have to do a Christmas ‘show’ with my Kindergarten classes who I have on a Thursday. Basically this means that I teach them ‘Jingle Bells’ to my best ability and need the speakers, obviously. I’ve created some flashcards with the words on, and also some pictures to help with meaning, but I’ll let you know how it goes. I am not hopeful. I also have to do a demonstration class in front of their parents next Thursday, which should be interesting whilst being mildly scary.

I did a demo class this week for new students possibly interested in signing up for the course. It’s basically a marketing ploy, ‘look at our classes with foreign teachers, aren’t they great?’ and the parents are also in the class watching what it’s like. Again, scary. I did two half an hour classes; in the first class I had 5 students, including one boy who burst into tears every time I asked him a question. In the end, I managed to squeeze a ‘yes’ out of him and he left the room not crying, so that was a small victory for me. The second class had 4 students in and was a bit better. In the end though, out of the 9 students who came for the demo, 6/7 have signed up! So I’d pretty successfully done my job, with the help of Jenny, the CT who was in the room too and who explained the Aston method to the parents.

I saw a fridge on the back of a scooter today.

Finally, I have a picture of a lion dog. This dog guards the entrance to our estate. He looks pretty funny but you wouldn’t want to mess with him.

Lion dog

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Author: Bennett

2 years as an expat in China and now doing the same in New Zealand, Bennett sure likes to experience "slow travel!"

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  1. A Celebration of a Year in China | A Leap Into The Unknown - [...] 19th November 2011 – “[...]we ended up receiving some severe positive discrimination with free gym membership to a fairly…

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