13.10.2011 25 °C
I think this has to be the only country in the world where you are given a day off, asked about your plans for the day off, told to have a lovely few days off and then are called at 7.30 in the morning on your day off and told, "Actually, you have to come into work". Hmmm.
The reason for our time off was due to a school sports event, but obviously it was raining and the students couldn't possibly get wet. I hurried to my first class which started at 8.30 and told the students they would be spending the whole lesson learning and writing all the words that we have talked about this week. A sea of extremely disappointed faces looked back at me before I announced that I was only joking and we were going to watch a movie, and the disappointment turned into clapping and cheering. Bless their little Chinese socks. I love making them happy. What I had in mind for the movie was something Disney related or an equally lighthearted film, however they informed me that actually they wanted to watch Final Destination, and so I spent my morning wake up time watching people get crushed in escalators and electrocuted which I watched from the back of the class with my hands in front of my eyes as the students laughed and pulled their chairs closer to the screen...
After the lesson, we were told that the sports event was back on and I could go back to my day off. Thank you? Can I have my lie in back please.
I returned to my room and Kat (who had successfully avoided the early morning phone calls and door knocking) and I hurriedly got ready to go out for fear of it beginning to rain again and us being dragged back to the classroom. We went into Beilun town and discovered a whole new area next to an International college - most importantly, a coffee shop. No more Starbucks for us. Although I love the food and the culture here, coffee is one thing I miss and so it is good to know we have somewhere close by that we can go and spend rainy and relaxing days. Plus, you get to choose your own mug and put a stone with your name on it next to the mug on the shelf so that only you can use it. How exciting.
After this, we got straight back to being Chinese and spent the afternoon wandering through some tiny little backstreets where we seemed to be the entertainment of the day. We picked up some delicious street food from carts on wheels that literally serve some of the best food I have ever eaten, and we mingled amongst the locals - Nihao! A good few hours of walking later and some playing on the outside gym area (yes.) and we were ready for a rest, so we bought a beer from the shop and went and sat in a park next to the river.
Sadly, we could only sit and drink the one as I had to return to school to do some private tutoring (£15 an hour would be rude to turn down). My lesson with William and Jin was pretty hard going however as they had lost all of their races in the sports day, and I am very well aware of how upset boys get when losing any kind of sporting competition. I tried to avoid all talk of it and instead found myself going into the details of protesting with them before I suddenly remembered which communist country I am actually in....woops.
After this, Kat and I went to get noodles from a place which has now become a regular haunt, with the woman knowing exactly how spicy each of us likes our food cooked and what kind of noodles we want. With our stomachs lined, we attempted to get a taxi to a particular bar, however with only the name of it and no idea of the area or road, the taxi drivers were pretty stuck. The second driver we asked claimed to know but then ended up dropping us off at a nightclub in a completly different place. We had heard about the club and have kept saying we would go there, so despite it being only 9.30, we decided to go and explore. It was already quite busy and we ended up sitting at the bar with some of the staff and playing a very popular game in China involving dice and cups which seems extremely complicated after many beers, however after just a few is actually not so difficult. The games seemed to go on forever though and a crowd of people had gathered around the two foreigners. We will definatly return but this was not the night and so we said our goodbyes and left. Plus, we are supposed to be off again tomorrow but you never know....
- To conclude, here are my current top five signs that I have become very adjusted to living life in China*
1. The Chinese national anthem is now my alarm clock and now, wherever else I may go to sleep, I always naturally wake up at precisely 6.30am with the sound resounding in my head.
2. Buying barbequed green beans on a stick seems like a perfectly acceptable thing to eat after leaving a nightclub in Shangahi and the thought of wanting a chicken kebab has been long left behind in Liverpool.
3. Eating vacuum packed tofu as a snack is a regular occurence.
4. Drinking 2.8% lager makes me drunk and floaty.
5. Squatting to go to the toilet is normal, and, even more worryingly, I feel very proud of myself for mastering the art of it.