PART64 a flying pig


Tuesday, March 30, 2010. I only had classes
in the morning today. In the last class which was primary grade one, my
assistant teacher who usually just sits at the back texting and looking angry
really lost it today. I think the noise was getting to her. She started throwing
books at the students and leant over and cuffed many a student around the head.
For the first time ever I felt sorry for the students. Yes the class was loud
but what you expect from 55 kids all cramped into a room? They are so small,
just out of kindergarten. The kids sitting near the teacher looked confused and
scared; they just looked wide eyed as she threw her hand from head to head. We were
having fun singing, miming and in general learning. But I suppose from the
angry teacher’s perspective they where a hoard of unruly badly behaved children.
I can sympathies with both student and teacher. Since I have started teaching I
have thought about my time at school and how badly behaved I really was and how
in general most of my teachers where patient and didn’t really shout or ever raise
a hand to anyone.

 

In the evening Sarah and I got a bus to the
nearby beach. From the bus we both saw that there where many people doing wind
surfing. We got off the bus and walked down to the group of surfers on the sand.
We found out that it’s about 100 Yuan a day to do it. (10pounds) and if you do
it frequently, it’s cheaper. I think I might try it this week end. Sarah and I
walked along the beach and sat down and watched the waves rolling in and moving
out again. The wind was warm and the sky was clear apart from a cloud which looked
like a flying pig. After a contemplative sit , we found a near bye sea side restaurant
but after finding that everything was 3 times as expensive as usual we declined
and went home and Sarah cooked fatty pork with onions and green vegetables. I
have been feeling that a cold has been coming on over the last few days and I
recalled that I have not eaten much fruit this week. I peeled an orange and
sunk my teeth into it. Immediately I felt whatever vitamins and nurturance that
I had been lacking flow threw me and within an hour I didn’t feel like a cold
was coming anymore. Don’t forget your fruit.

 

I am really not looking forward to teaching
tomorrow.

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PART63


Monday, March 29, 2010. I taught at the kindergarten
again today. Nothing special. Got called ugly by some little kids, went from
class to class every 10 minutes and taught a couple of word to the different munchkins.
I also found that I had been teaching the wrong book to one group of kids (oops),
never mind.

 

When I finished my classes, I remembered
that I had a dream last night about having a child with Sarah. It was a little
boy. At first in the dream I thought it was really cool that I had a son and I
played around with him but then very soon I started to freak out “Jesus I have
a son, 20 years or more shackled to the plow”. I also remember when I woke up
to my reality; I gave a sigh of relief to find that my son had disappeared.

 

I was meant to meet Sarah at the gym after
work and I thought that I could walk there. 45 sweaty minutes later I arrived
at the gym. It had taken much longer than I had thought. I worked on my legs
and stomach muscles today as the rest of my body was aching from the other
workouts I had done. I also did another yoga class with Sarah. I felt much more
flexible today compared with yesterday.

 

On the way back I called Catherine and
asked if it was possible to get some money in advance. She brought the money to
our flat along with a big bag of mangoes and some fruit tea. She is very kind.
One of the reasons I think is because I am not picky and I am grateful for what
she does for me. I can imagine other western employees are picky and complain. They
don’t get mangoes and tea. It pays to pick your battles and even if you’re in
the right, you should think if starting a fight or a conflict is worthwhile in
the long run. Even if you win a fight which you deserve to win you’re still left
with someone who has lost and it’s more than likely that the person will not
forget it in a hurry.

 

I also brought a crate of beer from the
supermarket. It was extremely satisfying filling up the fridge with booze. It’s
good to have your own fridge. Opening it and seeing lots of lovely things to
eat and drink is a simple but great thing for me. Also just walking around our
flat and thinking “this is mine”. Primal stuff. You need food, water and a roof
over your head, and a good woman. I have it all.

PART63


Monday, March 29, 2010. I taught at the kindergarten
again today. Nothing special. Got called ugly by some little kids, went from
class to class every 10 minutes and taught a couple of word to the different munchkins.
I also found that I had been teaching the wrong book to one group of kids (oops),
never mind.

 

When I finished my classes, I remembered
that I had a dream last night about having a child with Sarah. It was a little
boy. At first in the dream I thought it was really cool that I had a son and I
played around with him but then very soon I started to freak out “Jesus I have
a son, 20 years or more shackled to the plow”. I also remember when I woke up
to my reality; I gave a sigh of relief to find that my son had disappeared.

 

I was meant to meet Sarah at the gym after
work and I thought that I could walk there. 45 sweaty minutes later I arrived
at the gym. It had taken much longer than I had thought. I worked on my legs
and stomach muscles today as the rest of my body was aching from the other
workouts I had done. I also did another yoga class with Sarah. I felt much more
flexible today compared with yesterday.

 

On the way back I called Catherine and
asked if it was possible to get some money in advance. She brought the money to
our flat along with a big bag of mangoes and some fruit tea. She is very kind.
One of the reasons I think is because I am not picky and I am grateful for what
she does for me. I can imagine other western employees are picky and complain. They
don’t get mangoes and tea. It pays to pick your battles and even if you’re in
the right, you should think if starting a fight or a conflict is worthwhile in
the long run. Even if you win a fight which you deserve to win you’re still left
with someone who has lost and it’s more than likely that the person will not
forget it in a hurry.

 

I also brought a crate of beer from the
supermarket. It was extremely satisfying filling up the fridge with booze. It’s
good to have your own fridge. Opening it and seeing lots of lovely things to
eat and drink is a simple but great thing for me. Also just walking around our
flat and thinking “this is mine”. Primal stuff. You need food, water and a roof
over your head, and a good woman. I have it all.

part62 running away from a hang over


Sunday, 28th, March, 2010. I lay
in bed for most of the day having a decidedly creepy dream. I had murdered some
spooky gray villagers while on holiday (I think in Cornwall) and now the police
where after me. I was covered in blood and I ran though foggy bogs and along
the gnarled twinning branches of a tall oak tree while my dogged ceaseless pursuers
where always just behind me. I could have easily killed the police but they were
not the same gray spooks from Cornwall, so I didn’t want to kill them. I
climbed very high up one tree and looked down through the branches to the far
away ground. I felt sick with fear and forced myself to wake up. My relief for
not being miles high on a scary tree anymore was short lived as I found that I
had a hangover. I decided to dig in and wait for it to disappear so I closed my
eyes again and got back to running away from the police.

 

When I finally got up at 2:00 my hang over
was still there. I drank some water and sat on the sofa watching shit TV for a
couple of hours then Sarah and I went to a yoga class in our new gym. It was
very relaxing and got rid of my head ache.

 

The rest of the day passed without anything
special happening.

part61


Saturday, 27, March 27, 2010. I had a good
lie in then went to the gym for the first time. Sarah has found a cheap gym to
join. The muscular young Chinese man took me around the machines showing off
his muscles and showing me how to do the exercises. I had a short work out and
at the end I was trembling with exhaustion (or was it the shock from actually
doing some exercise for the first time in ages?). Sarah was on a weight machine
and a tall muscular older man was chatting her up. I tried to make myself jealous
but I also remembered when ever any girl has ever talked to me in China Sarah
has always taken a back seat and not become a jealous wife who shoos away potential
threats. Jealously is not attractive and deep down I know Sarah is not the type
to do anything like that. I walked up and interrupted the conversation. The
first question the tanned muscular (wearing multi colored trousers) man asked
me was “how tall are you?”, second “how much do you weigh?” third. “How old are
you?” I thought that for this gym man these where the most important things for
him. Other people ask what job you have, how long you have been doing or
studying this or that. I remember the wrestlers in Xin zhuo asking how much I weighed
or just feeling my arms to see how strong I was.

 

I asked where he was from “I am from Xin
Jiang”, he said “but I am not a muslim, I am Han Chinese”, he hastily added as
if to explain things.

PART60


Friday, 26th, march, 2010.  My grade four students at Jin Pan school where
unusually naughty today. One student who walked past my desk picked up my ruler
and threw it on the floor. I shouted at him to pick it up and after grabbing
him by the arm and forcing him back to where he threw it, he picked it up, gave
me a filthy look and bent it out of shape. I really wanted to hit him. The shit
excuse for a class teacher lamely told him “that’s my ruler why did you do
that?” I taught this class and in general after scaring the living daylights
out of them they started to be better behaved. My teenage middle school student
where a pleasure to teach today. We ran over the poems which are in the text
nook. The book which at first I thought was abysmal has actually been great. It’s
a blessing in disguise because it’s got no structure so I just pick out a line
in a poem or a short essay in the book and work on that for the whole lesson. It’s
more organic and fun than the structured classes at Shuang Dao School.

 

I had a sleep for an hour back home and
when I woke up I caught myself in mid sentence shouting at Sarah “where’s the bed
sheet!?” The bed sheet was in the bed with me. I seem to remember from my dream
it was imperative I got the magic sheet, or something like that. I must have
been sleep talking. Ah I remember now I needed the magic sheet to hang over the
hole in the door way, so that the demons could not get though. Sarah was
laughing at me from the other room. She has been subjected to many of my little
sleep talking episodes.

 

Later I went to the Shuang Dao School and taught
the two middle school classes. It was abysmal. They were all so despondent and
shitty. It was Friday afternoon so they probably just wanted to get out. I made
fun of one of the students when he was being silly and I immediately regretted
it. I could not stop myself. He was flopping around on his chair and shouting
so I told him to be quiet and he said “yeah man”, in his ridiculous Chinese accent,
I mimicked him in front of the class and everyone laughed at him. I could not
help myself. I know you shouldn’t mock your students but I had no control over
my body, ah well it’s not a big thing but I will try not to do it again. I
really hate the students sometimes, they just seem so stupid, boring and rude
and simple. I don’t have the feeling that I really care if they learn or not. I
really do not care. I just want them to be quiet and not cause trouble and
distract the ones who actually want to work.

 

In the evening I had another lesson at the
new window school with Mr Lin. Today we talked about religion in China. Mr.Lin
told me that although a lot of people go through the motions of traditional, Buddhist
or confusion or Taoist ceremonies, very few people these day actually believe
in anything or know anything about them. People just go thought the ceremonies
without the respect or knowledge of where the ceremony comes from. It must be
to do with the Communists, China has a long history and many traditions but
when Mao set out on his cultural revolution and the spiritual pollution campaigns,
many of Chinas ceremonies were banned and fell out of practice. Now that
control has loosened many ceremonies are being practiced again but it’s not the
same, there was a hiccup in history and respect and tradition has for a large
part been replaced by greed and ignorance about Chinese peoples own culture. I
have seen so many people just go through the motions of ceremonies but without
the heart behind it.

 

I was happy when the lesson was over, Mr
Lins wife who is from Mongolia drove me back home and I fell asleep very fast
when I got back.

PART59


Thursday, 25th, March, 2010. Yet
another day which is hard to put now on paper. I am sure I got up and if I
could be bothered to look at my schedule of this week, things would come to
mind, but frankly I cannot be bothered to look at anything. All I really
remember, all that was left with me from Thursday is that I thought “only one
day till the week end”, is it always like this? Is the majority of your life
just a in between until when you can rest or do what you want? Its plane to see
when others are doing unnecessary things, which they do not have to do, is it
the same for me? Am I doing thing which are not important? Can I live an easier
happier life? Surly the answer is yes. Yet again I feel like a drama queen
asking such a question when my life is blessed compared to so many others

 At
least I get some rest. Some people do not. Empathy can be a bit of a burden for
me. Just to make me feel bad. I feel bad about people starving but I don’t do
anything about it. Don’t I care enough?. How much do you have to feel before
you do something about it? That’s not a real question. I am sure many people
want to do things but for various reasons they do not. It’s another of those
questions which my mind let alone my cumbersome slow typing fingers cannot
express before my passion has out burnt its inspiration. Maybe on a better day
I will be bothered to deal with my many questions.