July update

Change is in the air this week, literally and figuratively. A month ago it was pleasantly warm and dry, and I was working a gruelling 54-hour week. Now I’m down to 12 hours, and outside it’s been alternating between stultifying, oppressive, overcast heat and hour-long thunderstorms for weeks. It didn’t do this last year, but that’s Beijing for you – lots of different weather, none of it good.
I left my main job last week. My contract was up, and it was time to move on. The company don’t have the money or resources to run the kind of course they want to, and the only argument for staying on was that there was potential for it to be very successful later on. On the downside they weren’t paying me anywhere near what I could be making elsewhere, and while I don’t want to be mercenary, I’ve got a family to take care of now and that has to take priority. They have to learn what the going rate for a TEFL trainer is, and simply telling them apparently doesn’t work. Officially I’m still the headmaster, but in practice I’ll only come in on a part time basis if and when they need a class taught – and I have a feeling they’ll try to get other trainers to come in on the cheap. Well, good luck to them, no ill feelings, it was a good experience overall.
The last week has been a lot quieter than the usual. I’ve managed to get a few chores done, though not as many as I would’ve liked. Since I’m here I feel I should do more to take care of the baby, and while it turns out that there’s not that much I can do there’s always bits of fussing around, fetching things and baby-carrying needed. Aside from that there’s Mandarin to learn, stuff to write, films to edit, etc – but the priority is to sort out future work.
It’s a bit odd staying at home during the daytime. Previously Sundays were my only free days and I’d try to cram as much into them as possible (always a route to frustration but unavoidable). Otherwise I was pretty much just sleeping and eating breakfast here. Being here in the daytime without a hectic schedule brings the good (it’s actually quite a nice place to be on the whole) and the bad (no cold or room temperature drinking water, in the summer) into sharper focus. The best way to deal with it all is probably to treat it as a holiday – but that means finding new work this week. before the novelty wears off.
In other news, Saturday was my birthday, not such a big deal when you’ve got your own kid, but V made an effort anyway, buying presents and a pie (much better than a cake, thanks!), and it ended up being one of the least miserable birthdays ever. So big props to her.

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