New Year calendars they made at school.
Something I got into in a big way this year was listening to podcasts. I used to read magazines, but problems with the post from the UK caused me to finally cancel them all. Instead, rather than playing music on my phone at moments of spare time, I now listen to spoken word podcasts on a variety of topics. Some are on serious, some are comedy, some are about things I have a particular interest in (music, sci-fi, maths, trivia, science etc). But all are free and it's a useful way to hear people speaking English at normal speed in a land where that's all too rare!
We celebrated our Christmas this last weekend as we are all working on the actual day. JD woke at 6am to see what Santa had bought him [see above] and then we played with various toys throughout the day, opening all our presents after lunch. JD seemed more interested in making a junk plane from the boxes which the present came in at one point [bottom, left]. Then JiaJia managed a delicious roast dinner [bottom, right] in the evening to round off a very enjoyable day.
Merry Christmas to all my blog readers!!
Christmas is fast approaching but it is largely a theoretical celebration here. Christmas Day itself will be full working day for me - six hours of watching students perform role-plays for their final exam. We may actually trick JD into thinking that Saturday and Sunday beforehand are actually Christmas, so he has more time to enjoy the fun and the presents which are slowly gathering under our tiny tree! We can probably cook some sort of vaguely Christmassy meal then too. Our tiny flat is barely decorated this year since we are about to move back into our old flat which is three times the size. But I fear by the time we get settled in there Christmas will be long forgotten! Oh well!
It's nice to see JD so much happier about going to school these days and to see how many friends he has and how he is loved by all. Unfortunately he only has one more term to go before moving to Primary School and having to make all sorts of new friends once again. Oh well, enjoy it while you can JD!
I had a nice birthday a few weeks ago but it's true to say that the only actual physical birthday gift I got this year was this micro-Lego dog which I finally put together last weekend (thanks Vix!). JiaJia promised to pay for a (much needed) pair of new glasses whilst JD made me a card. Ma bought me a cake and my folks transferred some money which I plan to spend soon. We had a nice meal out as a family though and there were lots of kind wishes on email and Facebook.
Last week I got my new passport back from the University with my visa transferred into it. They then advised me I had to register te new passport and visa with my bank so that they could continue to pay my wages in. So we headed off to the bank where the account was opened, only to find it had closed and moved to a new location. We rang them and they gave us their new address but said that any branch would be able to register the new passport. So I went home and Jiajia and I went to our nearest branch. After an hour there, they said we would, after all, have to go to the original branch. 30 minutes drive to get there and another half hour queueing to be told they couldn't register it either, but that I didn't really need to anyway. I rang the University who insisted it did have to be registered. So after the Uni and Bank spoke to each other on my phone, the bank said that they could do register it after all but I'd have to queue again. 30 minutes later we got to a cashier who spent another half hour trying, and failing, to register the passport. So JiaJia and I finally went home after 5 hours of trying but still without a registration. I'll let the University try and sort it out - life's too short!
Every year, thousands of Siberian seagulls descend on Kunming's waters to spend the winter in the relative warmth. They are spectacular sight which many people travel from far away to see.
Visitors usually feed the gulls by throwing chunks of bread into the air or holding rolls gingerly in their hands for the gulls to grab while on the wing.
But this year saw something new - a local man donned a whole bread-covered suit and stood somewhat bravely amongst the flocks of birds as they grabbed and pecked him! Nobody knows quite who he is, but a few photos were taken as proof which have appeared on local media. After a few minutes he packed up his bread suit and headed off! Bonkers!
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