I’ve been slacking off. I admit it. So… here’s a bit of what’s been going on:
This past week was a week long holiday. “National Day” (October 1st) is China’s version of the 4th of July. They go a bit farther than we do, however. First of all, the country shuts down for a week (okay… not literally, but most large companies and government offices do ).
The school was supposed to be closed for 7 days (Saturday through Friday), but things changed at the last minute (almost literally!) and management decided that the school would be open and all the teachers had to come in. We had been told for several weeks that we would have 7 days off. Then the day before vacation, they say “Nope! You only get 3 days.” Jason went in and negotiated. It ended up that the US teachers only had to come in for 1 day each, and the Chinese teachers had 1 or 2 each (I can’t remember). My day was Tuesday. I had 5 classes scheduled. I had 1 student in the first one, 2 in the 2nd, 3 in the 3rd, and none for the last 2. 2 of the students were there because their own schools were closed for the week (they’re still in high school), and the other 3 (adults) were only there because they were told that it counted as a paid week, and they had to use it or lose it. So… we (adults) all sat around and just shot the shit. They got to practice their conversational English, so it’s all good. I have no idea how the other days went for the rest of the teachers.
Going back to National Week… I had plans for the week. Unlike most people, I did not book train tickets to some far-off part of China. My plan, instead, was to take each day and venture off in a random direction with my camera, my adventurous spirit, and enough cash for a cab ride home when I (inevitably and uncaringly) got very very lost. I even got an extra day, since Fridays are normally a day off for me and the holiday started on Saturday.
So… Friday I did some grocery shopping, cleaned the house, did laundry, did some work for various online projects I have going, and just treated it like a normal day off. After all, I had 7 (well, 6–see below) days lined up to go out and explore.
Saturday, Sunday, Monday: sudden temperature drops, rain, radical barometric changes. … Yep. Arthritis kicked into high gear and knocked me on my ass. It took me several hours to get out of bed, and there was no way in Hell I was going to be walking much farther than the other side of the apartment.
Tuesday: Work (see above)
Wednesday: Party! Patrick and I both wanted to have people over during the holiday week, so we set aside Wednesday evening for a “Western Food” party. I made alfredo sauce and (store-bought) marinara. Another teacher, Jeffery, brought homemade gumbo. Good food, good people, good times.
Thursday: I finally got out for a walk. It wasn’t a very long one, but it was a walk. I walked all the side streets in the area. I know it doesn’t sound very interesting, but it actually was. I walk the same 3 streets north and south, and I never venture off of them. So I spent about an hour doing exactly that. There are more (and more and more and more) clothing stores for women (none for men), and restaurants. A few bike supply stores, a couple toy stores, a couple bars. Oh! An art supply store! I didn’t go inside, but I know where it is and I definitely want to check it out. A hot young woman was quite intent on getting my attention at a non-descript storefront. It may have been a brothel. Or possibly a tailor (my jeans are way too long). I didn’t stick around long enough to find out.
Friday: Shopping, chores, random boredness. And… dealing with the after-effects of severe cramping in my legs. I think I need to buy some potatoes or bananas and build up my potassium levels. I’ve been getting some really nasty cramps. I spent about an hour laying in bed letting cramps start and then slowly stretching them out.
Saturday: Back to work.