Entering the ‘great unknown’

As I’ve said in previous posts, I try not to discuss politics too much on here. This is partly because I didn’t set up this blog to discuss politics – I set it up partly as a way of keeping friends and family back home appraised of how I’m doing, and also, I suppose, to offer up a light on teaching here. Yet, I find myself, one way or another, drawn into political discussions, whether it is with colleagues or students. Today, I believe, is the day that Brexit actually happens, the day that Britain enters the ‘great unknown’.

Although I haven’t spoken to too many Chinese people about this particular issue, those I have done have usually been either indifferent or even optimistic and positive. They assured me it would all be fine, and told me not to worry. I haven’t heard much negativity about it here. Of course, that is understandable, given it isn’t China that is leaving the EU, it is Britain, and for many people, British politics isn’t anything of interest or concern to them.

Still, as we move forward and enter this unknown period, with many speculating it won’t be Britain’s ‘day in the sun’, but rather it entering a twilight period, watching it all unfold here is interesting. I still remember what was happening and where I was during the referendum vote last June.

All being well – and that is not definite – I will be in China next year at least. Perhaps for two years, if I stay and take a Chinese course. Then I plan to return to Britain. It will mean I return to a Britain outside the EU, and on its own, alone in the world. It will be a very different country I return to.

But, for now, life continues here as normal. We are now a month or so into the semester and things are busy. I’m also currently looking for (and applying for) jobs for next year, so that keeps me going too. We are creating a film for the film festival in June, which is really just a series of interviews with teachers and students about the team, teaching at the school and our classes, and what the students remember about them. On Monday, it was the students’ union’s clubs’ fair. Think freshers’ fair but only for school clubs. That was moderately interesting. We got vouchers we could give the clubs we thought were best, and so they were all vying for our attention. It was nice to see students outside of class talking about things they were interested in, and their clubs. Most of them were for students but it’s always interesting to know what sorts of clubs the students create and join.

Despite the bad weather recently (rain), the volleyball tournament has continued. I haven’t played that much as I’ve been busy with office hours and so forth, but it’s also nice to just go and watch students play in the competition. This week, we have a six day week, working Monday – Saturday. Saturday will follow Monday’s schedule, because next week, we have a holiday Monday and Tuesday (Tuesday is the actual holiday, I think. It is called Qīngmíng 清明, or Tomb Sweeping Day, and is a time when people visit the graves of their relatives or ancestors). In China, often if you have a holiday mid-week, you will often get the preceeding or following days off also as holiday, but sometimes you have to do make up days too. So, because we have a holiday on Monday as well as Tuesday, we are working this Saturday, 1 April, to compensate.

Saturday, of course is April Fools’ Day. There were suggestions that teachers give their students exams in their classes, or other jokes or funny activities. I have two classes on a Monday, and I haven’t decided what I will do with those classes yet, nor with the extra couple of days off work, but I will probably try and practice a bit of volleyball and may also do a bit of writing. I will also keep one eye on the news, and try and stay hopeful in this great period of uncertainty.

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