I’ve finished teaching at the middle school now, and tomorrow I’ll start at the Primary school, where I have 3 lessons a day three days a week and 2 lessons a day twice a week 🙂 I’ll miss the middle school as they were really kind to us and even gave us a cute floral scarf on our last day there. So last weekend, I had Friday off because my classes had exams to do instead. I headed into the city centre and wandered around the Huaxiba area for a while in search of our hostel! I’d gotten there pretty early though so instead of sitting at the hostel to wait for the others, I just kept walking and walking until I reached Tianfu Square, which is only 3 stops on the metro but it’s good when you suddenly realise where you are! So on the Friday night there was about 10 or so of us staying at the Traffic Inn hostel, one I hadn’t stayed at before but it;s soo nice, especially because they have the tiniest, cutest kitten too!
The next day we headed for the rugby! A couple of friends of ours are on the team, so we all bundled into taxis and stood on the sidelines as we watched the Chengdu team win against Chongqing 🙂 It was such a hot day and not much shade, but this was made better by the ice cooler full of beers they had! One of the girls there had also made SANDWICHES with REAL bread (out here they eat sweet bread which doesn’t really taste too great) and so these were basically the topic of conversation all day, all night, and all of this weekend too…
After the match, we went back to the hostel and got ourselves ready as we were heading out for dinner that night at a place called Grandma’s Kitchen which serves really good western food. However it was a bit pricy when we got there so we went over the road to Shamrocks for food and stayed there the rest of the night to carry on drinking… aren’t we adventurous! It was also Cait’s birthday so we sang happy birthday to her and devoured the cake.
So last week I had my final classes with my Senior 2’s (I only had Junior 1’s in the first week). I decided to show them a bit more about Britain, but when I showed the union jack they just shouted ENGLAND, so I tried to explain Great Britain which I don’t really think got through to them! I also showed them some photos of London, Portsmouth, and told them a bit about school over here, about how we start at 8.30am and are finished by 3.15…. they were all gasping and very jealous as their days start at 7am and finish around 7pm (10pm if they’re at boarding school)! I passed my passport around the class and showed them some English money, which they found really interesting as they hadn’t seen foreign money before. Luckily I got all my money back and I didn’t hear too many laugh at my passport photo!
On Wednesday I was asked by the school I live at to give a small 2-3 minute speech promoting an International course they do. It was to junior high school pupils with their parents who were thinking of taking up the course; when they graduate they’ll be able to study at University in a different country. I don’t actually teach the course or work at the school I live at but I prepared some general sentences about how it was a good school with good teachers, interesting classes, what they can do afterwards etc. and luckily I wasn’t speaking too quickly or complexed as they were nodding along in agreement! The only downside to giving this speech was that I was up first and afterwards, had to sit through the rest of the hour and a quarter presentation in Chinese… not so fun! The teachers I was with were all going in different directions so I was bundled into a taxi as they told the driver my school address and paid, and waved me off! Luckily I had my Mandarin lesson notes with me where we’d practiced taxi directions (right, left, at the corner etc.) so I put these to good use and thankfully we found our way back 🙂
So this weekend I had Thursday and Friday off because of Labour Day, a public holiday. I checked into Traffic Inn (again) and met a few of the others who were playing Mah Jong in a nearby park. We walked around the park which was sooo pretty and hopped in a pedalo where we were all excellent crew and navigated our way down the small lake 😉 We then had dinner, and later that evening went to a gay club which was fun! I wasn’t really sure what to expect from gay clubs in China but we all had a dance and were given roses so it was fun 😛 We left around 1ish as we were going to an Irish bar to watch a band play, but by the time we got there it had closed for the night! We crossed the river and walked past other bars trying to find our hostel. It all got a bit surreal then as a man was carrying a monkey and handed him to me! So at 2am in a random street there I stood holding a monkey eating an apple. We were up at 7.30am the next day as a few of us were going to Langquan Lake, about 2 bus rides away and this was sooooo pretty. We took a boat trip which dropped us off on 2 small islands for half an hour at a time for us to explore. The first one was really cool with abanonded sculptures, and then second one was random as it had different animals just wandering around…. for example we had to walk the same route as the ostriches! There were also snakes, monkeys, deer, peacocks, and birds etc. but we felt quite sorry for them as they were all in quite small and empty cages. A young boy was also running after an ostrich, so when we turned the corner we just saw a fully-grown ostrich running full pelt towards us!
Once we got back to the mainland, we went in search of food. There was a line of cages with different animals in where the customer picked which one they wanted, then the cook killed it there and then to prepare a variety of ‘fresh’ dishes with it. So we saw a fish get bashed over the head, and then more disturbingly they took out a couple of rabbits and chickens and slit their throats. The poor rabbit was still squirming around for a while afterwards 😦 So it was quite an odd day overall! Later that night we all headed back to Shamrocks as it was Ladies Night…. free drinks 🙂 It was suchhh a good night, and after this most of us went to a club called Here We Go which had a DJ wearing an Argos t-shirt who played reggae music. Yeah. Anyway we left around 5.30amish and the next morning we were all so hungover! Everyone had to leave as they had to teach on the Sunday to make up for the lessons they missed on the Thursday/Friday. However I have a sweet deal with changing every 2 weeks as they don’t bother with us, so I had an extra day off 😉 I booked in for another night at the hostel (just because), and after a bit of shopping today eventually made my way back to the school 🙂
I know this is a long post and I’m sure I’ve missed out loads, but that’s all I can think of right now. Looking forward to meeting my new Grade 3’s tomorrow!