Friday, Saturday & Sunday...
26.08.2011 - 28.08.2011 32 °C
So this is my second weekend in Shenzhen, and I’ve seen hardly any of the city apart from the area around school & the area around my apartment. This partly due to the fact that I’ve been busy sorting out stuff for school & my new apartment, & partly because my foot is still slightly swollen & sore. Grrr. I could have gone with Caroline & Cathy yesterday for a foot massage, but I didn’t think that would be a good idea, & as Caroline came back saying it was lovely but slightly painful, I think I made the right decision. We then went out for dinner to a restaurant almost next door to Starbucks, so not too far for me to walk, where they thankfully had a menu in English. It was very nice, & I’m sure I’ll go there again. My plan for today was to sit with my foot up watching DVDs all day (which I’ve been very successful at so far, apart from doing some laundry!). I am, however, going with a few people to watch the rugby this evening (Saturday) in Coco Park – an area not too far from where I live that has lots of bars, restaurants & shops. I’ve been resting my foot all day, & we’re getting a taxi there, so it should be ok. I just hope it’s better by Monday; I can’t really go running around after small children at the moment!
Yesterday (Friday) was spent in school – the morning trying to sort out planning & classrooms, & a policy meeting in the afternoon. I have become quite popular with a few members of staff after sharing some of the resources I brought with me from home, mostly interactive programmes to use on the interactive whiteboards. Four people so far have asked if they can have a copy of the stuff I have! I had another chat with Laura & she was very grateful for the bits & pieces of resources & planning I gave her, as she felt (as I do) quite unprepared & like we haven’t been given enough information. My year group partner, Laird, seems to be very laid back about planning; we’ve done a rough outline for next week, but that’s about it so far. Usually I’d have medium term plans (the learning objectives & lesson outlines for this half term) for every subject I’m teaching in place by now, but as we haven’t sat done & agreed the objectives for anything yet, I haven’t got any medium term plans yet. I have a vague overview of the topics for each subject for the year, but that’s about it. I think I’ll have to spend some time tomorrow going through the little I do have & the plans from last year to try & get myself a bit more organised.
I will write more tomorrow…
Going out for drinks last night was really good (& I made sure I sat down the entire evening!). We watched the rugby (New Zealand v Australia) at a café bar called Rapscallions in Coco Park, which is owned & run by a few of Alex’s rugby mates. It’s a really nice place, although not particularly cheap, as they have a lot of Western food & drink. Some of the prices did seem a little odd, even to the others that have been here a lot longer than me; for example, Jenny had a glass of cranberry juice which cost 35rmb (about £3.50) – this turned out to be the same price as a glass of gin & tonic or vodka & pineapple juice, which Jenny was not very impressed with! Even a can of 7-Up was 20rmb (£2); usually you can buy a 1.5 litre bottle of Sprite in a corner shop for about 5rmb (50p). The food however, was very nice – Jenny, Melissa & I shared some baba ganoush, spicy fries with cheese & a pepperoni pizza, which totalled 210rmb (£21) – if also a tad on the expensive side. Don’t think I’ll be eating there very often!
Jim & Karen were very disappointed that New Zealand lost the rugby being avid NZ supporters as their three children are Kiwis. They’re both from Scotland originally, but have lived abroad in various countries for over 20 years. Myself, Jenny, Melissa & Karen then left the boys to watch football while we moved to a different table away from the big screen so we could hear ourselves talk. It was really nice getting to know some of the people I’m going to be working with. Karen suggested that we meet for a kind of book club once a month, over dinner at someone’s house, once our conversation turned to books. It’s so nice to be among fellow book-addicts! They all have Kindles too, so we’re going to see if we can do a bit of a book swap at some point, which’ll be great. I think I’ve got Jenny interested in the ‘Parasol Protectorate’ series by Gail Carriger which I’m reading at the moment (thanks Bea!), & she’s got the Game of Thrones series, so we’re going to see if we can do a swap. It was also decided later in the evening that we’re going to have a film night once a month too, as we all love watching films & DVDs are really cheap here.
After the football match, we stayed to watch the England v Ireland rugby match (yay England!!), which people were much more excited about, & by that time the bar was quite busy & quite a few more people (almost all of whom work at the school) had joined our group. A couple of members of staff got quite drunk, & one in particular was really funny! I found out some interesting information & points of view of some people about school & other members of staff, which I’m not going to repeat here because it’s too public. Let’s just say that I had some intriguing insights into what the school & staff are like. After the rugby, I chatted to a couple more people, then shared a taxi home with Paul (a secondary PE teacher at the school) about 11.30pm, because he lives in the same apartment complex as me. I think a few people were going to go out clubbing, but I thought it probably best not to join them as I’d just have made my foot worse again. Maybe next time!
I had a bit of a lie-in this morning, although, as I woke up at around 6.30am, then again at 9am (at which time I ate a bun thing, took my last antibiotic tablet & read for a bit before going back to sleep), it didn’t really feel like much of one. I spent another exciting day sitting with my foot up on a pillow on the coffee table with an ice pack on it, watching episodes of Alias. I’m halfway through season 2 already! I think I’ll have a break at the end of this season & watch a few films instead, especially as the teacher who was in my classroom previously left behind a few books & DVDs which I’ve taken ownership of as he’s not coming back! (Laird said it was ok…)
I came to Starbucks at 4pm to meet Laura & Caroline for coffee (I say coffee, but of course none of us actually had any coffee!), & I brought some of Caroline’s things that she’s been storing at my flat. She moved into her new apartment this morning (even though it still doesn’t have a kitchen), & I felt really guilty that I couldn’t help her move after she helped me, because of my (stupid, annoying) swollen foot. Luckily, one of the people she used to work with in Ethiopia who now works here helped her instead, which made me feel slightly better. The three of us had an interesting chat about various things, all coming to the agreement that none of us are sure what’s going on with regards to school & planning, & we’ll probably have to make it up write it ourselves using the learning objectives from the British National Curriculum… Anyway, it was nice to see them & compare experiences & opinions. We’re meeting at 7.15 tomorrow morning to get a taxi into school together. I’m not looking forward to getting up that early! Caroline left after one drink because she wanted to get back to her new place & get it all sorted out. Laura stayed a bit longer & borrowed my headphones so she could make a couple of Skype calls from her iPad. I had a nice chat with Antony on Skype too, which was fab (apart from the fact he didn’t have any gossip for me!!), & after Laura left (about 7pm) I stayed to Skype my Mum & sister (& write this!), which was also great. It’s now 9pm, so once I’ve posted this, I’m going to head home, have a bite to eat, watch some more Alias, check my planning for tomorrow & go to bed.
Some information about food here…
The buns that I thought tasted chocolatey, aren’t chocolate at all – they’re red bean bread buns, which is apparently a popular filling/topping for various cakes & other bread products. They’re really good as a quick & easy breakfast. I tried some of the weird crisp flavours – lime (quite nice, very lime-y), fried shrimp (not as nice as prawn cocktail at home, but ok), Italian red meat (tastes a bit like T-bone steak crisps, but more tomato-sauce-y) & lobster cheese flavour (surprisingly edible, tastes like that cheese dip you get with nachos at the cinema, with a vague hint of something else you can’t quite put your finger on). I also had some Pringles, BBQ steak flavour (as that was the most ‘normal’ flavour I could find) – the tube & crisps are much smaller than at home, but they were just like Pringles anywhere apart from that.
There's also a weird concoction most supermarkets have instead of our usual black tea - tea which has milk already added. It's really weird.
It’s possible to get some imported foodstuffs in most supermarkets, but it’s usually quite expensive. Everything else is generally much cheaper than in the UK. For example, I bought two giant white peaches which would probably be at least £1 each at home, but here the cost was 5.6rmb (56p) for two.
There is some recognisable chocolate here too – Galaxy (although it’s called Dove here), Ferrero Roche, Kinder & Snickers all seem fairly common. They also have Wrigley chewing gum by the bucket load, in little pots as if it’s medicine as well as the usual packets.
As well as food, there are some quite funny names of other products when they've been translated into English... Here's one example:
Anything else you want to know, just ask!!