Nice to see JD photobombing Everton's caretaker manager
at a recent after-match press conference! Keep it up, son!
What's up, doc?
Ma-in-law has been back in hospital this last week. She threw up a couple of times last Saturday (probably having caught the minor bug that JD had the week before) and was straight off to the clinic down the hill for IV drips. She then stopped eating for 2 days and started downing various boxes of medicines. Not surprisingly, she soon felt even worse and rang me on Monday to take her hospital. I first suggested she stop taking random meds and start to eat a little, then see how she felt in a day or two, but no - she insisted on being hospitalised. Jiajia was away on business, so it fell to me to transport her and her clothes/sundries and arrange food and visits. The doctors have done various tests since and said there is nothing wrong with her. But, as usual, she insists she is in great pain and they just haven't found the problem yet. Jiajia arrived back home yesterday so hopefully she can talk some sense into her Mum.
Chip off the old block
JD and I headed back to our secret forest this morning and were delighted to find our Den in remarkably good shape. I reinforced it and added a side compartment while JD dug a hefalump trap outside with his newly bought digging tool. Then afterwards we headed into town for fish 'n chips - a late birthday treat to myself.
35 (or so)
A rather odd birthday today, with Jiajia away on business, Ma-in-law in bed "sick" demanding attention and JD coming off a night of waking, screaming and shouting. We made what we could of it - JD and I shopping for, and then cooking up, a home-made shepherd's pie, followed by a weak rendition of "Happy Birthday" as two wrongly-placed candles on birthday cake slices burned down my age. I opened my one card and scoured social media for anyone who might have remembered my birthday! I've had better days.
We may have been visiting a few too many temples recently. JD got up the other day and built his own altar before Jiajia and I had even woken up. So far his prayers have focused on Mummy turning into a fairy, and all of us returning to the water slide at Phuket!
I'm baffled as to why this kettle needs a lit-up electric sign to tell you it's OFF. Don't things usually light up when they are ON?
No flies on me
Today was the final class of the week enduring my mid-term Speaking Test. I'd asked each of my 100+ students to chat to me for two minutes about "a challenge they have faced". Many simply bottled out and had written and memorised a monologue speech, often followed by them falling apart when I asked the simplest of questions in follow-up.
The most revealing chat was a student who told me about her "part-time job", standing in for other students who didn't want to attend a class. She explained that she got paid 30RMB (£3) an hour to be in a given class so that the Chinese teachers could tick off the total number of students on their list (regardless of whether or not they were the right students). She said she could earn 200-300RMB (£20-30) a week! Genius entrepreneur or sad indictment of a broken educational system? You decide.
The most confusing talk was a guy who said he had hated a job because there were just too many flies to deal with?! He told me he had walked for ages trying to find people who wanted them but they just weren't interested. It took me ages to realise he was talking about "flyers"! Sometimes I really earn my money!
So spa, so good
Jiajia, JD and I returned from two nights at a Spa Hotel resort outside of Kunming yesterday. Jiajia had been given a voucher by a customer for a free night for two, so we thought we'd use it before it ran out. Anning is famous for its natural spa water and we drove to the "Five Star" resort in about 40 minutes. After checking in though, we were a little disappointed. Our room was OK, but not as "five star" as we had expected. Then we walked to the Spa to be told that we could only make one visit during our stay - no popping in and out throughout the day. The breakfast had a nice range of food, but the "hot" food was cold and we had to make a fuss to get a knife and fork (which are rather necessary for bacon, eggs, sausages and beans on toast!). With the price for an extra day quoted at 470RMB (£47), we asked if we could just pay to stay for a half day instead, checking out at 6pm instead of noon. Bizarrely, they quoted 400RMB for half a day, so we opted to stay a whole day after all. That evening we found a nice outdoor restaurant nearby with children's play area (there were no facilities for kids in the Spa resort). And the next morning we found a nice Temple and Buddhist training college within walking distance of the hotel, and shared a friendly vegetarian lunch with the monks. So we made the most of the trip and it was cheap enough with the voucher. I doubt we'll be back though.
A friend of ours invited us (Jiajia, JD and I) to a barbecue out in the countryside with some colleagues of hers a couple of days ago. I wasn't expecting too much, but, when we arrived, there was a whole suckling pig spread-eagled on a grill in the middle of our table! Other dishes came a little later, but we started off by tucking into this juicy piggy. JD was particularly keen to cut off its ears, tail, leg and snout! I sometimes worry about that kid!
Seats, eats, musical beats
5-minute video of JD at his recent Kindergarten Open Morning.
Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
Past blog entries