I’m not the most practical of people. I try, yes, but sometimes I get frustrated. Being in China, when things don’t work it’s doubly frustrating as (often) instructions – and help – require a level of Chinese I do not yet have. Yet occasionally, when things do go right, you can feel proud and pleased. I did something! As I’ve said in a recent post, the internet is a little bit like my nemesis. It thwarts me at every available opportunity, and I only have a limited arsenal from which to strike back.
I have got my router working – and connecting – to the internet securely, so I can use my laptop around the flat without too much problem, but also, I can connect my phone to it too – doubly useful, as topping up on my phone requires a wifi signal (if I’ve run out of money for data).
What’s more, whilst the mythical place to top up my cafeteria card still eludes me, I have discovered the place for me to do my washing. It’s not ideal, granted. It’s one machine at the end of the corridor in the cleaners’ office, but it’s better than nothing, and I’m guessing, of the six foreign teachers who live here, we won’t all be using it at the same time. The reception staff also do not speak a whole lot of English, so it’s a good opportunity for me to practice my Chinese with them, and using translation apps when I don’t know what to say.
As the weekend approaches, I’ve been thinking about how this week has been. It’s been an odd one, getting settled, exploring the area. I think when I meet the other teachers (one I think is already back but I haven’t seen them yet), it will be a bit easier. But I’m pleased with what I’ve done so far.
On Wednesday, I had a meeting with a tutoring person about doing 1-2-1 tutoring with a kid at Harrow International School. He’s 17, and wants prep for IELTS. They will give me all the stuff, and although I was rather reticent before I went to meet the woman organising it, we had a good chat and we seemed to get on, so I’ll probably take it. It’s not great pay, but it’s for 20-30 hours, which will be like 10-15 weeks, so shouldn’t be too bad. Or taxing! It will be on a Saturday morning, though, so I will need to decide about food after it, before Chinese class in the afternoon. The other tutoring gig I’ve got, I got from a teacher last year. I’ve met them once, and that will be harder work I think, as the kid is shy and less willing to talk. Plus, it’s on a Wednesday afternoon which isn’t great, but we’ll just have to see what happens with that.
Yesterday and today the weather has been good – clean air, warm and a nice breeze. As such, today, rather than staying in, I went to get some dinner from a bakery and went to Yuanmingyuan (Old Summer Palace) to eat it (there’s not many green spaces nearby). It’s only about a pound to get in too, so it wasn’t too bad!