Felt like a long day, but really it hasn't been (though it is 12:40am here).
Woke up around 9am, and fumbled about for a while. Watched an episode of Lost (pilot part II), spoke with a bunch of people over MSN til 11, then meddled around and headed into work for 1:20pm. Did some prep and hit class for 2:30, which went well. We finished up the "if you only had 6 months before the world explodes, what 10 things would you do?" exercise, and then did a house-warming mingling party, a debate, and role-playing ordering. I used parts of the menu from the Royal Oak, and it was hilarious how they reacted. Electronic dictionaries flew out of pockets and they were bamboozled by 3/4s of the items. There was an almost unanimous outcry of laughter when they saw "chicken fingers" ("finger of chicken!?!") and Oak Club ("made with the tree?!"), and a few others. Funny the things we take for granted.
Then afterwards, went for a beer with Alistair around 6:45. At 7:30, Duncan joined us. We then met up with Nick at the bowling alley and played a few games. Seven, I think, and we each had another beer or two.
Then I went to (ack) McDonald's with Nick. It was the first time I'd really spoken one-on-one with Nick. It was great. Gave me really good insight into both teaching and the ideas of work vs responsibility. Nick's in a unique position because he's got experience as a teacher (6 months in China plus time spent in Italy) and he's a teacher by training. We had a great 45 minute conversation about teachers as commodities and the idea of what holds each of us into what we do, per se. I discussed my 6-month plan with him, and he spoke about his 1-year plan with me. It was great to have a chance to just talk to him. So far I've had awesome talks with Alistair (many), Duncan and now Nick. I've spoken a bit with Michelle, but she's a tad more closed in some respects.
Sonny handed me my contract today. I'll peruse it tomorrow, and fill it in myself. If they don't like the time-line I'm proposing, well... then they can suck it. I'd rather sign a 6-month contract than fanny about at the 8-month or 10-month marks and not get a reference. The Chinese can be a bit dodgy that way: they tend to take professional matters personally, and hold grudges. Or they can do. Hell, they might not be happy with a 6-month contract. The plan is to go til the end of February, then hit the road for 3 weeks or so and head south and see what I can.
New pictures up on Flickr, including the Chinese Tommy Lee Jones, shots of the gang as well as bowling lane wenches with Kill Bill uniforms, special order for Aaron. Rawr. Oh, and a good shot of me being uncertain of whether to choose Marianne or Veronica (bowling balls). Duncan, of course, always had the Lady Brunswick. The ball favouritism started last time, when it was Nick, Michelle and Duncan vs Alistair, Camilla and myself - Duncan and I had some friendly rivalry going on, and I had gotten 3 strikes in a row with Marianne. However, tonight she didn't treat me well so I switched. All in good, silly fun.
Oh, and it looks like Steve and Nika are coming to the Beijing area to visit for a week or so. I may try to work out some time off so I can hang out with them a bit. Depends on when they arrive, and what days I can swing in order to minimize others covering for me. The most I would be able to do is 4 days, if I use my 2 days off and take 2 days.