1. Comments are still disabled though I am thinking of enabling them again.
2. There are now several extra pages - Poetry Index, Travel, Education, Childish Things - accessible at the top of the page. They index entires before October 2013.
3. I will, in the next few weeks, be adding new pages with other indexes.
Sunday, 16 September 2012
Time for that more detailed update.
Apart from a delay of about an hour at Beijing my return to Baiyin was about as uneventful as a long journey can be. I was met at the airport by a couple of people from one of my new schools and driven straight to a restaurant for another meal on top of the half a dozen or so airline meals that I was still digesting. It was, of course, a sign of things to come. When we eventuall did drive to my new apartment I was very impressed. Not only does it look better from the outside; not only is it my apartment, rather than shared; not only is it five minutes walk from the school - it's a very very nice apartment. Before I decided to move to China, when my plans hadn't been set in stone, I considered staying in the UK but buying a new apartment. I looked at some new build apartments which were much smaller than this one, about as well-fitted and in a not especially nice area. They were a hundred and ten thousand pounds. A few posters, a few nick-nacks on the shelves, all my old stuff moved over and it already feels more like home than last year's apartment did, though that was also good.
I've settled very quickly back into my routine. The new schedule is no more onorous than the old one. Neither of the two schools I teach at is more than a ten minute walk away. Both schools are friendly and welcoming and let me teach whatever I want to. The other new teachers in the city are also good. One, Garret, an American, is stuck out west away from everyone else but he seems to prefer that. Theother three here at the moment are a lind of set of ENglish northern towns. With Wolverhampton, I am the furthest south. The others are from Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield (or near enough in each case). They all seem enthusiastic and happy.
Our biggest problem in the first couple of weeks has been food. There's just been so much of it. I've been out to dinner at least half a dozen times, with teachers, old friends, new friends. Ben, one of the new teachers, has a particuylarly friendly landlord who took us to dinner at his apartment. He must be pretty rich as he has one of the nicest apartments I've ever seen - and I don't mean just in China.
Two weeks in and there is already a week's holiday looming just around the corner. The other teachers are hoping to get off on a long trip to the Silk Road. I'm thinking about it but on the whole I'm inclined to just stay here, read watch TV and relax in a week when I don't have any teaching to do. Well, almost no teaching as I expect I'll still have the little girl that I tutor five nights a week. I picked her up as a student when Erika left and it's such a boost to my money that I don't even manage to spend what her Dad pays me never mind have to touch my bank acount and school salary. Easy work too. Her Dad or Mom come with her and sit in the corner for an hour (in the case of her Dad, usually falling asleep on the sofa) while I go page by page through a pile of text and reading books. She's a bright, precocious and friendly eight-year old and it's the easiest money I've ever made.
And now here are some pictures of my apartment and the view from my window.