JD's latest obsession is playing Monopoly. He has a firm grasp on the rules and tactics, but does favour the green set above all others. We've been playing almost every day of late, sometimes twice in a row. It's great for his Maths and English. He charged me £26 yesterday for landing on his property before spotting he had the whole set and immediately saying, "Oh no, £52! And on the e-bike to school this morning he suddenly asked me what "annuity matures" means! He only wins about one game in four at the moment though and has to choke back the tears when his houses get removed.
Last week was a steep learning curve both for JD and his parents! He has had multiple random and nonsensical school rules to get used to while learning dance routines for hours every day. Meanwhile Jiajia has had to trawl through well over 50 texts a day from the school ranging from what the maths homework is (received at 9.40pm - to be handed in the next day) to how the school expects pencils to be sharpened. We are trying to bite our tongues, especially in front of JD, but it seems like Chinese schools are indeed as disorganised and petty as we'd been led to believe.
JD managed to get 10/10 "thumbs up" stickers most days last week. He had a bit of a wobble on Tuesday, getting told off for "whispering in class", "not dancing energetically enough" and "allowing his elbow to lose contact with his desk while trying to volunteer an answer"!? We had to apologise to the teacher and give JD a "stern" reprimand at home!? To try and get back into the teacher's good books, we have agreed to let JD represent the school in an "English Speaking Competition". Fingers crossed!
JD started Primary School today. Through various devious means we managed to get him a place in the "best" Primary School in the city and so he is now in a class of 40 - one class out of a 10-class intake.
The first day was the usual Chinese chaos. We were told to arrive at school at 8am, until a text at 11.40pm the previous day which changed the time to 8.30am. Guards at the school initially wouldn't let anyone in without seeing a text message on their phone - a message which hadn't been sent. And on arrival at the classroom we were asked to hand in a copy of out house registration - something nobody had brought since nobody had been told it was required. and so on...
Rather alarmingly, the white circular machines [such as the one above left] hang on walls around the school. So far, nobody I've asked can tell me what they are! Worrying...
I'm half way through my August IELTS examining commitments. It's a long day dealing with 19-22 candidates one-by-one, each expecting their 15 minutes of 100% focus from the examiner as, for many, it can be a life-changing exam. Some barely have enough English to form a sentence, some could speak OK if it wasn't for their crippling nerves and a few are talented enough to score well.
Security is very high with metal detectors, documents signed in and out and electrical recorders locked up over lunch. And no phones or cameras are allowed in the room - hence the mocked up photo above!
My blog celebrates its 13th anniversary today (including its previous Yahoo format). I wonder how many readers have been following it from the very beginning? The blog stats say there are 200-300 unique views daily, though there are only about 20 regulars that I know of. If you've never signed the Guestbook (tab above), why not reveal yourself?
Another in my occasional series of "Flashbacks" looking back at blog entries made before this Weebly version started.
In March this year 25 people were killed when their bus fell into a 100m deep valley in QiaoJia County, Yunnan. The roads there are known to be particularly hazardous . And just yesterday, a bus full of Middle School students fell into a river, killing 28 children, also in QiaoJia County ...... so guess where I’m going tomorrow?
My INSETT training course in QiaoJia starts on Monday and I was due to be picked up from YiLiang tomorrow (I got back “home” this afternoon after a pretty torturous 18 hour bus ride). But now, all QiaoJia cars have been “grounded” until the registered drivers there have received “safety training”. So I have been asked to take a bus back to Zhaotong tomorrow morning (with all my resources, computer and hastily washed clothes etc) and meet some ongoing transport that QiaoJia Education Commission will have arranged. My relaxed holiday mood has been well and truly shattered!
We arrived back home yesterday after a fabulous and successful month in the UK. JD got his toy Nerf guns confiscated on arrival in China (a country where common sense and a sense of humour are often sorely lacking). Fortunately JiaJia managed to persuade the security officer to let her post them to our house rather than lose them completely.
Now I just need to re-register with the local police and get our dead car battery replaced. But we are happy to be back as life slowly returns to its normal pace.
Our last little trip to London yesterday. While JiaJia checked out the Van Gogh exhibition at the Tate Gallery (crowded), JD and I walked to the Imperial War Museum where JD proceeded to tell me imaginative statistics and backgrounds to all the various planes, tanks and weaponry (to the amusement of passers-by). Who knew a Spitfire was from Canada and could travel at 10,000mph?
We also managed to meet up with my good friend Miki, recently returned from running a hotel in Poland. We all joined up for a picnic by the Thames before Miki went on her way and the rest of us headed back to Sidcup to start packing for China.
My youngest brother Andy and his children, Louie and Daisy, visited today. We started with a Wetherspoons breakfast together - fast becoming something of a Hider tradition!
With intermittent rain outside we spent the morning playing Monopoly and then, during a dry hour in the afternoon, managed to visit "Lark in the Park" - a Christian community event with many children's clubs.
About the blogger
Past blog entries