JD and I have played a couple of games of "Dungeons and Dragons" recently. JD loves it - he enjoys using his wide range of vocabulary and his imagination gets sparked by talk of treasure, monsters and magic. Unfortunately the other players live in the far north of the city, so it takes us over an hour on two buses to get there. However, we play in the back room of a western restaurant, so there is always the reward of a fresh pizza to look forward to before we head home (by taxi!).
It was Ma's 81st birthday yesterday. We were all too busy to celebrate then, but we went over to her flat today for lunch, presents and a birthday cake.
Ma has been holed up at home for the last two weeks due to some gout in her little finger. Apparently this has stopped her from walking, shopping or cooking. Until, that is, she decided to walk to hospital and see a doctor there who told it's a minor thing - go home!
When I first came to China to live and work, English was one of the three core school subjects (along with Chinese and Maths). Some ten years ago it got demoted to be just one of the seven compulsory subjects (the same level as Science, Politics, PE and Art). It seems to be even less important these days [see Chinese Ministry of Education announcement above] comprising only 6-8% of total education time. Perhaps another indication of China focusing inwards and closing its doors to the rest of the world?
The area behind our neighbourhood used to be fairly empty, and quiet apart form the odd dog barking. But recently there have been digging and thumping noises day and night. Our second floor flat still looks out on a tall ivy-covered wall, but apartments above us have a "better" view of the construction [see photos] and we can all hear the racket. We are told they are building offices and it will take up to three years! Hopefully Jiajia, JD and I will be long gone by then but, meanwhile, our neighbourhood is not happy.
Past blog entries