Spring festival came to an end and was promptly followed by the busiest week of lessons we have taught so far, causing a great deal of first-day-back-at-work grumbling.
Up at 7 every morning to plan and teach a 2 hour winter course class, with hit and miss attendance, wildly different levels of students, and a sleepy teacher. Find some lunch or kill two hours in a coffee shop, then back to school and teach till 8.30 at night. The lifestyle here is generally pretty cushy, so we cant complain, but it was a bit of a shock to the system after 10 days off.
I (Callum) had been on-and-off ill for a few weeks after some particularly suspect chicken nuggets, and this manic week was pretty much the nail in the coffin for me. I came down with a fever, got far more acquainted with our toilet than I ever want to be again, and as I was getting over that, managed to pick up a lung infection. I ended up taking a few days off work at the boss’s advice, and rested up. Fortunately the medical options here are actually pretty good, and the office admin lady promptly turned up at the flat with an assortment of pills and potions in a paper bag. You can buy very potent antibiotics over the counter like sweets here, and while its not particularly responsible to dish them out for every sniffle and cold, they certainly do the job. After 3 days of taking 22 pills a day, I was well on the mend, and back to work.
One plus side of spending a long weekend at home being ill and bored is that we managed to buy some plants to brighten up the apartment a bit, and sort out some of the furniture so it now feels a lot more like home. We’ve also bought a barbecue, prompting a week of damp and rain, but it’ll soon be warm here, and it will be nice to be able to cook something not in a wok. hold on, I’ll take some pics…
We are also no longer the new guys. Staff turnover is high, with most people only staying for a year. With a 15 person office, this means that new teachers are constantly coming and going, and the three months since we arrived has been a long period of stability. Two new teachers and one old teacher returning after a year at home means 3 welcome parties and 3 nights out, and a good excuse to take someone new around all the sights of the city.
We revisited the old town area and discovered some new parks and pagodas we’d not seen before, along with a man playing a snake-charming flute, and went out for a meal in one of the fancier restaurants with the two new teachers. They obviously had a ton of questions, and it felt pretty good to be able to confidently answer them. It also prompted a lot of reflection, and “surely we were never like that”-ing, which made us realise how much we’ve learnt in our 3 months here.
So not a very exciting few weeks I’m afraid, but still loving life here and making progress. Sam’s just declared that we are going to Taiwan after reading about a village of cats, ( I knew she was being too quiet over there) so perhaps next time I write I will have more to report……