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.
Unusually woken up at 7.30 this morning by V kneeling on my ankle. M has been awake for a while and needs his nappy changing. Outside the window there is a light fall of snow. For the first time in my life I’m not pleased to see it. Fridays are a hassle at the best of times, and a couple of extra difficulties immediately came to mind.
Another hour’s kip, an hour of Chinese, shower, shave, and a lot of other miscellaneous ‘to do’ and it’s 10.30, time for the two-hour trip across Beijing for my first class. There’s bound to be a traffic jam, so I walk past the bus stop to the subway station, buying a couple of baozi for the ride. The journey on the first two trains is fine, but when I get to the third I inexplicably decide to stand on the wrong platform, and go a stop in the wrong direction before I realise my mistake. I arrive at Taiyangong station and get in a taxi, telling the driver to go to Wangfujing when I really want to go to Wangjing. Fortunately he picks up on my mistake before we’re halfway across the city.
My classes on Friday afternoons are in-company training for a large European electronics company. Their offices are sparse and modern, not something you usually see in China. I teach there for four fairly uneventful hours, and remember little of it afterwards. Not sure if autopilot is a positive thing, but I’m happy with the quality of my work these days. V says I sometimes teach in my sleep, which is more worrying.
I finish at the company at 5.30, and there follows a mad rush-hour dash across town to get to my next class at 7. Fortunately I’ve got the routine down pretty well now, and am able to take the company shuttlebus, though strictly speaking I probably am not allowed to. There’s time for a ten-minute dinner, then back to work. I have two ‘English corner’ classes. The first is discussion-based. The students debate whether the minimum age for driving should be raised to 25. One student says that a man can get married at 23 in China, and it’s much harder to ‘drive’ a wife than a car. The second class is based around the week’s news – a fairly daring class in China, but probably the most enjoyable to teach. As usual we sidestep the big stories of the week and talk about whether “sleep-texting” is on the increase.
After class I meet up with UK friend John in a restaurant downstairs for a quick drink. It was his birthday the other day so I offer to pay, but apparently I bought the rounds last weekend – this explains a lot. He has to go to Hong Kong to get his visa renewed on Sunday – it being completely impossible to do it in Beijing now, even through an “agency”. I have similar trouble next week when my work-permit needs to be transferred – that promises to be a bit of a nightmare all round, but I shouldn’t need to go to HK.
I take the subway home, and a tuk-tuk from the station. Strangely it doesn’t seem so cold outside now it’s dark. It’s 11pm by the time I get home, but everyone is still up and awake, even M.