I was asked by my University to attend a "Thematic Briefing on the Sixth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth CPC Central Committee" yesterday. To be fair, the organisers tried their best to make it accessible and fairly interesting (Powerpoints in English, real-time translations, phone app "games", gifts, etc) but there's only so much fun you can wring out of "XiJingPing Marxism Thought"!?
As I was on a run around the neighbourhood last week I spotted this dead bird on the pavement. It didn't look like it had died from injuries or an accident, but dead it was! It is (was!) an unusual and pretty thing as you can see. On further investigation it turns out to be a "chestnut-winged cuckoo", probably en route south, migrating for the Winter. This one just didn't make it for some reason. Shame.
It was my 57th Birthday today. My main present was the laptop Jiajia bought for me 6 months ago when my previous one died.
This evening JiaJia, JD and I joined one of JD's classmates (and her mother) for a really nice meal at our current favourite restaurant, "Grandma's Kitchen" followed by a chocolate cake. Then we went to the cinema to see "No time to die" - the latest James Bond movie.
JD [bottom left in photo] and his classmates had a series of presentations about planets and space travel this week.
I thought JD would love this as he's very much into tech and spaceships. But he said it was largely about how American rockets are rubbish and the Chinese ones are the best. Must everything be political in schools here?
Another in my occasional series of "Flashbacks" looking back at blog entries made before this Weebly version started.
My trip to the VSO Conference in Beijing started smoothly enough with a 3 hour car ride to Simao shared with teacher Li (man), teacher Li (woman, no relation) and Ms Wu (very recently promoted to the Local Education Bureau). After a night there, we flew (45mins) to Kunming and met Sun Kang, a leader from the Provincial Education Bureau. He speaks great English and in conversation gave examples of how unlucky he’d been on recent trips (in Indonesia for the tsunami, in Vietnam during riots, in Thailand for the coup, etc). His jinx continued as our flight to Beijing was delayed by 1.. 2.. 3.. and finally 4 hours. At the airport we took an hour to find a taxi which then ran into a midnight traffic jam(?) and took another 2 hours to get us to our hotel. We finally arrived at 2am to find our rooms had been double-booked. And then I tripped and broke my ankle...!
At first I thought I had just sprained my ankle and continued to limp around for the three days of the conference. My talk on the first day went OK, and I learned a lot from the other talks (although some Chinese speakers were rambling a bit and, filtered through a translator, it often made it quite hard to follow ...and I was taking minutes). On the last day, VSO suggested it might be wise to see a doctor while I was in Beijing. He x-rayed the ankle as a formality though he suspected a sprain. But the x-ray came back showing a fracture, so on went the plaster! Crutches in tow I managed to get through the two flights and a 3 hour car ride back to JiangCheng, hopping up the 86 steps to my flat. I’ve been confined to quarters for at least this week - very frustrating when I had planned to finally launch my training here. Teams of Education Bureau colleagues are bringing me food, clean washing, bottles of water etc. So I’m trying to put my independent nature aside and allow myself to be “cared for” and “fussed over”!
One of my private classes is with a lovely young couple, "Christie" and "Chester". We meet once a week for a fairly informal English lesson. This week I invited them to my house for the first time, for a simple pasta bake meal followed by some ice-cream. They really enjoyed the food and then we took a deep dive into the past tense!
I've done this before and sat through 30-40 videos of variable quality. But today there turned out to be 140 videos and the whole thing took 3½ hours! And unlike previous years none of the contestants was particularly outstanding. All very average. Oh well.
About the blogger
Past blog entries