My University Department met last week to discuss this week's exams and review the term. Thankfully my boss, DingWen [right] doesn't see the need for unnecessary formal get-togethers and so this was our second and last of the semester! When I started at CaiDa University we have five foreign teachers in our department. Only Tom and I are left and, rather annoyingly, our weekly hours have risen accordingly. But it's still a nice enough place to work.
My University hosted a pleasant leaving party today for the half dozen teachers who will not be continuing next term. Amongst them is Nancy [talking to me in photo above] who is transferring to Kunming College. JD loves to play with her kids and we have become good friends over the last couple of years. Hopefully we'll stay in touch.
The event included a number of interesting performances such as a Tea Ceremony, Laos and Dai dancing and a kung fu demonstration.
I also found out that one of foreign teachers I work with has just decided to leave, and a new teacher who had been lined up has quit already! That means I'll be in a team of just two teachers next term where we formerly had 4-5. Could be interesting.
My University colleagues and I had a meeting yesterday about the new term. We were also told that our canteen cards would lose their credit by the end of the week. I was a bit annoyed as I'd put 200RMB (£20) on mine at the start of term but never used it. But, on the advice of our department leader and with the help of a Chinese English teacher I know, I was able to top up the card to the maximum (adding an extra £80) in order to claim the maximum University subsidy (they add 10RMB for every 4RMB you use, as meals cost 14RMB - £1.40) and then spend the lot on cigarettes (the canteen can't reimburse cash, but you can buy goods to use the card up) and then sell the fags to the next door supermarket. All apparently legit, if time-consuming. I made 1200RMB (£120) profit for an hour of paperwork and queuing! Gotta love China.
With JD back at school (despite a lingering cough), I've been trying to find time for a bit of exercise. I went for a short run yesterday and have made a couple of visits to my University's 50m-long swimming pool. I've never been a fan of swimming, but with various aching joints, it seems that a less impacting activity might be worth getting into. Plus, exercise which leaves me clean and fresh makes more sense than one which sees me going into class smelly and sweaty. Frustratingly, the swimming pool shuts during the crazy 3½ hour lunch break, which would be an ideal time to use it. So my main options are half an hour before my morning class starts or half an hour after my afternoon class ends. However, 30 minutes of swimming lengths is actually plenty for me, for now. I'm not a strong swimmer and I'm concentrating on trying to improve my (breaststroke) technique as I continue.
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