I've been off sick with a mild chest infection for a couple of days which is now, thankfully, almost cleared up. This morning I received a text from a colleague saying that he was coming to visit me this afternoon. Nice, I thought, to have colleagues that show such concern. I hadn't realised how much concern. At two thirty my doorbell rang and I pressed the button to let him in and unlatched the apartment door. I heard steps coming up to the fourth floor and discovered that it wasn't just Burton who had come to visit, it was the whole department including the guy who sits in the corner and hardly ever speaks. Seven people. If this were a hospital they'd have to take turns.
Moreover they were bearing gifts of fruit.
A lot of fruit.
There were easily three kilos of satsumas and two kilos each of bananas and apples. To eat them all before they go off I'll need to go on an all fruit diet for a couple of days.
We sat around the apartment chatting with me assuring them that I am almost completely recovered and will be back at work tomorrow. This reminded them of something important. They told me that my Friday lessons are cancelled but that I will need to go in and teach them on Sunday. This is because on Friday the students have more exams.
This kind of thing happens a lot. Timetable changes happen regularly and usually with a day or less notice. Lessons are switched from afternoon to morning, from weekdays to weekends or even cancelled altogether with virtually no prior notice. As a teacher in China it's just one of those random things you have to get used to.
As if to hammer home the point, about an hour after they had left I got another call from Burton. Apparently my morning class tomorrow has been switched from 11:15 to 10:20 and my afternoon classes have all been cancelled. This was something he found out about at three thirty today. Short notice is definitely the norm.
The Economist finally comes around
6 hours ago