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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Bad news

About an hour after I posted last I received an email from my brother telling me my granddad had passed away. He didn't wake up after his stroke that Friday, and I'm told it was pain free. Mum is making arrangements now, having tentatively bookmarked the 26th/27th for the funeral, assuming the necessary paperwork comes through. There is no real way I can back to the UK for it, which has left me feeling guilty. I wish I could be there for both her and him.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Catching up

I went to pay my bills today for the first time today, first time because here you pay your bills in 3 month increments. My water bill for 3 months was 22 yuan (£2.20/$3.45)! My electricity was 96 yuan (£6.96/$10.83)! The realtor I worked with to find the apartment (who spoke really good English) has left the company, so I wasn't sure how getting all the info on the bills I needed to pay was going to go, but the guy dealing with my friend and I had a little English, so we got by. He told us we were his first foreign customers and asked us if we could take a photo with him on his phone to commemorate the occasion.

I was dog-sitting for the adorable Penny a few days ago, the pug of a pair of married friends I have who have gone to visit home for a few weeks. I took her for a few days until the regular dog-sitter could come back from their own trip and take her. How can you resist this face?



Owing to my long absence I never posted pictures of my work, so here a few pics of my classroom. Our centre is in a kind of creepy abandoned kids mall, it opened about 8 months ago (at which point we moved in, because what better place to put kid's English school than a children themed mall?), but then it went bankrupt, so now the only thing open in it is our centre (though they are doing work upstairs on it now so they may be putting a restaurant upstairs?). We have a special side entrance that is unlocked for us during working hours so we can operate. My classroom is Coral Reef, so it's on a Nemo theme.



This is the interactive white board/projector wall combination and stage area ('magic theatre') we use to teach the kids with, every room has one. The fish down the side of the board are my rules for the class (always listen, be patient, be safe, be kind, be clean, speak English). Every room has a variation of these rules presented in a way themed to the room, Snow White's Castle has them printed on apples, Mulan's Garden on flowers etc.





Things at work are a little crazy right now as it is unit 2 assessment week and next week are end of term presentations, where the parents get to come in and watch us perform for them. I foresee my EOTPs going badly.

Today it got up to 39C (102.2F!) and my God could you feel it. My friend and I had to pay the aforementioned rent, so we went to lunch after and had a look around the market. Here is a really cool looking... ad? movie prop? random transformer? that I saw in the mall as we were walking out after lunch:



On the way out we also passed a drink place that was offering some pretty hefty healthy benefits with their refreshments:



On a more serious note, I got an email from my sister on Friday saying that my granddad had a stroke/seizure early that morning and is unconscious in hospital and they didn't expect to live out the day. They were wrong and he is still there comfortable and apparently going strong, but he hasn't woken up and right now they don't think he will. It's really hard being here knowing there is nothing I can do. I try to remember that when they say he won't wake up, they also said he wouldn't live past Friday and it's not Wednesday, so who knows? but the truth is things are looking pretty bleak right now. I've been promised updates if the situation changes, but with mum being in the hospital looking out for him I can't call her myself.

Okay, that's a lot of information, I'll leave you with these umbrellas hanging from the roof of the covered walkway in the Confucius Temple market.