V’s been reading my old blogs from my days in Prague and asked me why I don’t write about my life any more. I said that it wasn’t that interesting, and that as I bored myself writing about it, I dread to think what anyone else will make of it. She disagreed. The upshot of all this is that I’m going to try to write a full record of this week, and see if it’s in any way readable or interesting. Please let me know what you think, usually-non-commenting page-hit-people.
Didn’t get a lot of sleep during the night. The baby seems to wake up every half an hour, finally deciding he’s up for the day at about 5.30. V’s mother takes him downstairs and we can finally get some kip. I feel terrible – groggy, nauseous and with a headache, but after a few hours real sleep I’m a bit better, but still with the suspicion that a cold is coming on.
Have breakfast and study Chinese in what was left of the morning, then at lunchtime go out with V to the market to buy ingredients for dumplings. We take an old lady shopping trolley, and buy pork, corn, chives, dumpling skins and pomegranates for making juice. It’s cold outside, and the local area seems to have the life drained out of it.
We get back for lunch – cauliflower, tofu skin and kelp – and then I spend the next few hours planning lessons, sorting out files, phoning, e-mailing, and occasionally taking care of the baby. We manage to sneak half an hour to watch the end of the film. V makes me some Chinese medicine from various bits of tree. Not sure if it worked or not, but I am up for going to work.
I take the bus to JianWai SOHO and just get to the office in time for the first class. It’s an ‘English corner’, which means ‘teach pretty much whatever you like’. I have a stab at doing a creative writing class. It doesn’t go down particularly well – partially because it isn’t well-planned, and partly because it’s difficult to get Chinese students to be creative. Then I have an hour-long break, or at least I should, but the five minute printing-and-cutting-out job turns into a half-hour one due to a paper jam and an overenthusiastic member of staff trying to yank the sheet out and tearing it. I phone the cafe downstairs to order a tuna sandwich. As soon as I say “hello” they know who I am and what my order is – on balance, a bad thing. Am I going to be one of those people who eats the same thing every day?
The second class is “job hunting” – a course I’ve been assigned months ago, and material is running a little low. We have a boring 40-minute reading on phone interviews and a fun 15-minute activity to finish. It’s not great, but better than the first one.
I queue for the bus outside for twenty minutes, managing to find a seat, and spend the journey back listening to music. The windows are steamed up and I nearly miss my stop. It’s 10.15 when I get up to the flat and everyone’s in their rooms, apart from V, who’s carefully sorting out her wardrobe. M is sleeping soundly, maybe we should be too? So that’s half an hour writing this and off to bed. Goodnight.