We've gone into our winter 'intensive period' with a vengeance. My hours went from about 17 hours a week to 27 or so. On top of the holiday 3-hour courses I have (1 this week, another starting Tuesday this coming week) I have some of Nick's classes: a high-flyer 1A and high-flyer 1B which have filled my weekends. Busy busy.
The folks at work did a bday thing for me last evening. Cake in China really sucks. The icing is liked whipped cream and Chinese cake/bread is odd at the best of times. It was nice, though. Some little girl with hair jewelry/tiara that Angie would have killed her for gave me the above-photographed yogurt drink. ... for some reason. The teachers are taking me out on Sunday given I'll be planning my Sunday lessons on Saturday night (wooo! 13 hour days). I think they're getting me a Takeshi Kitano boxed-set: 13 of his movies. I'll be quite happy with that given that it has Hana-bi (Fireworks) and another one I'd been looking for, but doesn't have "Takeshis" (a movie about a look-alike meeting Takeshi, which is kind of surreal) which I bought separately the other day. Joy! So that'll be a cool gift and a nice addition to my Asian movies collection.
Last Sunday, my TB 3As inquired as to whether I might "treat" them for supper for Spring Festival. It was very cute. There were only 4 of them, and they'd obviously planned to ask me in advance. I said sure, so long as three conditions were met: 1) Andrew the DoS approved, 2) it was on an evening when they could all make it, and 3) they had to have parent permission and 1 parent chaperone. (If more than 1 parent goes, the parents will insist - violently - on paying, which would be against what the kids would like, which is me taking them out.) They were all excited during the break - they were telling Betty - who was my TA for that class - about it and were all a-giggle in the hall. Great kids.
Nick and Katy are heading out quite soon - on Monday, I believe. Nick's last day was Thursday. We all went out for KTV, which was fun. I sang (ha!) "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" and it sucked (read: I sucked). The machine's prompts were totally wonky with English songs. Found out that most of the girls have awesome singing voices, especially Lily, Betty and Amy. It was a fun night, and always good to get everyone out together, something we hadn't done since bowling back in December. Cost 400 yuan for 2 hours, though... karaoke is not cheap.
No teacher replacement for Nick as of yet. Hope one shows up soon as things aren't about to get any more calm around here. Two more weeks of "oh god please shoot me in the face", then 7 days off for our Spring Festival holidays, then the last insane week of the winter period. Then back to normal and 3 weeks of classes for me, and then... I'm off into the wild blue yonder. Likely as of the 21st of March. Hu'rah. I've decided I'm going to hit Xi'an and Chengdu first, and then move southeast and come up from Song Shan/Wutang Shan at the end. Ironically the last thing I'll see will be the Great Wall. Ironic because it's probably the closest prominent Chinese attraction and there are lots of spots I could see portions of it nearby. Just haven't done so. I missed walking to a near-abandoned portion near Datong because I forgot.
Oh, I almost forgot. I had a cool VIP this week: Barry, a 79-year-old Olympics volunteer hopeful. He's going for the interview/try-out in a few months. He's such a nice old guy, and in awesome shape. The guy plays what I can only call "foot badminton" (they use a hacky-sack surrogate shuttlecock, with a net), dances, sings, etc etc. A very nice man, and quite enthusiastic while still coming across as humble. Good sense of humour and quite focused as a student. Just amazes me that he wants to be an Olympics volunteer at his age. Pretty amazing stuff. We got interviewed by the local paper. They caught wind of what he was doing and showed up at the end of our class. They taped a portion of us doing classwork, and then interviewed him for 20 minutes. Purdy neat.
That's it for now. Me must sleep.