I can go for weeks without meeting other foreigners and hearing "full-speed" spoken English. So podcasts keep me sane! Whenever I have 5-10 minutes spare I can plug my earphones into my phone and listen to part of a podcast - sometimes funny, sometimes informative, sometimes something catering to my odd tastes, be it "Thunderbirds", "Cults" or "Beef and Dairy Farming"!
Last week, for example, I found out all there is to know about the "Georgia Guidestones" a mysterious Stonehenge-like construction in America covered in advice (in eight languages) for how mankind should survive in the future. Fascinating stuff.
This little fellow has been causing me a lot of grief over the last month or so. I've never quite known what it is in China that gives me allergic reactions at this time of year but, after a tip-off, it seems "ragweed" is probably the culprit. It's common in Kunming (tick), its sprays pollen out every Sep/Oct (tick) and it causes tears, repeated sneezing and sore throats in those affected (tick).
So if you see tears running down my face as I say goodbye to JD at school each morning, it's not sadness. If you hear me shrieking as I wake up it doesn't mean I've had a bad dream. And if you spot me swallowing hard before talking to my class, it's not a sign of nerves! It's blummin' ragweed!
I saw this "political correctness gone mad" story in my newspaper the other day, and then spotted it was about a guy called "Paul Hyde". All too similar to my name, I reckon! If you Google my name, the only other Paul Hider of some fame is a West Country goalkeeper. Mine's not the most common of surnames (especially spelled with an "i", rather than a "y"). My younger students do tend to have a good laugh though when we learn about "Hyde Park" in London ...so it all belongs to you? haha!... or when we do our lesson on "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" ...so you are an ugly monster! haha!...
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