I'm off to Beijing tomorrow with Alistair and Duncan, and I think Michelle. I need to send a whack of cashola back to Canada, and need to check for a Chinese-English book and buy a few things for xmas to send back. I have a few things already. Ever had that "Oh my god... this item is PERFECT for so-and-so!" moment? I had one today. I'll grab it for my dad for sure. I'm not sure he'd use it that much, but I know he'd love having it. Now to find something that really cries out to me for my Mom.
This week has been a little rocky, like watching that scene in "Pi" where what's-his-name has his migraines and the camera goes nuts. It's been like watching the world around me shake and quiver with no ability for me to do squat about it. (Speaking of shaking... we had a minute earthquake here this morning at 12:35am... lasted six seconds, but was easily felt!)
First, things have not been going well for very very close friends of mine, and I fucking hate that I can't do something, even if it's only give them a hug and treat them to a beer overwhich I could listen and be vented at. I loathe the feeling of utter helplessness, but that's where I'm at. I can only hope my emails can contain enough of "me" to be of some worth.
The other thing revolves around poor Betty, the new teaching assistant. Lovely girl - shy, friendly and above the usual juvenile female Chinese gossip-mongering and silliness. Well, on Thursday she was accused of stealing 100 yuan from Katy... $17. Everyone stacked on her. I didn't see it, but Alistair (not knowing at the time what had happened) said he saw her in the teachers' room crying that night whilst the rest of the TAs were on the other side of the room maliciously ignoring her.
Heard about it all from Nick on Friday at lunch. I was some pissed. I guess I've always sided with the underdogs. Since I know Katy well I talked to her first, telling her about Camilla's issue with a workman being in her room moving things. Workmen have been all over the school engaged in huge overhauls that our over-zealous DoS felt were necessary. Very likely one of them nabbed the money from the cabinet, but Betty, being new, got the shaft. I told Katy what I thought of the entire affair, the end result being Katy ending up a bit chagrined. Somewhat pissed and upset at things happening beyond my sphere of control in other areas, I took a stance with this. I spoke with Betty after that, supporting her and talking to her about things. Poor girl was on the verge of tears seeing someone on her side. I just wanted to hug her, but talk about tossing napalm into a fire...
She seems to be doing better now, as I spoke with her again today to see how she was feeling. If she gets any more shit, I'm going to stand up and declare that I stole the money. When Katy or another TA says "What?! Really?" I'll say "No, it was Lucinda" and get them all over fucked up over it, then lay into them as they deserve. Childish prats. My 12-year-old kidlets wouldn't sink this low and cruel. Leave it to a close-knit bunch of 23-26 year old Chinese women, however...
Anyhoo... I've done my good deed. Just hope it's helped. At the very least, Betty now feels she can talk to myself and Michelle if something like this happens again. Sad but true... one teacher can win an argument or grievance vs 7 assistants combined. We're simply worth more than they are, in the Chinese mind, so if it comes to an administrative look at the situation, I win. I plan to use that to my full advantage when/if needs be. This shitty behaviour and attitude affects everyone. We have a very symbiotic and fragile little bubble-world going here, and one thing can set everything off pretty fast.
Not much happening in my own life, to be honest. Had a really good Chinese lesson on Saturday night. My classes are good, but one of my TB classes has been cancelled permanently. I find I really rely on my kids to pick me up if I'm feeling tai bu hao or kun le ("not too good" and "tired" respectively), and boy can they deliver. Nothing like walking into a room to a bunch of little faces that suddenly light up, turn your way and cry out "Hello, Teacher!" or "Good morning, Teacher!". It can't help but make me smile.
Oh, I found out Chow Yun Fat's Chinese name (and no, that's not it strangely enough). It's Zhou Run fa (Joe Roon faah). Well... I now own "Hard-Boiled" (got it for $1). I also got a copy of "District B-13" with English subtitles. Weee!! Now if I could only find "The Last Starfighter"...
That is all. Pictures of Beijing antics will be incoming. Also, I'll take a few more shots of my classes. I have a TB class closing up soon and I want to get a class picture of them before that.