Saturday, 30 October 2010

Power mad

This week and next I am doing my final exams for the spoken English classes at SEU, as after next week I get four whole new groups to start from scratch with again. Maybe I am getting a bit carried away with this new-found ability to grade people, but I'm rather enjoying myself. I'm using the grade scale that I've been set via email - give them a mark out of 100. When I tried to ask for more details I was told that it's fine, don't worry, and a pass mark was 60. 

So - I have dreamed up the ultimate scoring system. This involves a mix of how well I remember each person from the last 9 weeks, whether they giggle or not when I talk to them, and how little they read aloud in their presentations. The top scorers therefore are very well known, non-giggling, non-reading aloud people. They are few and far between.

  And if I hear another person say 'every coin has two sides', I will cry.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Winter's here

It's bloody well freezing here today. 

(maybe not THAT freezing yet...) 

I'm both sad and excited about this... it might be cold and miserable, but it means I can get my mac out again (joy) and also, the numbers of hawkers selling scarves, winter jackets, christmassy jumpers, bobble hats and all those other lovely things are multiplying in the subway...

Claire especially, if I can, I'll get you one of these beauts and send it home with my momma and pappa when they come visit. My personal favourite right now is a white knitted number with three pink hearts on and underneath, "Catch my heart".

Photos to follow...

Friday, 22 October 2010

Teaching and Biking

 I will present to you some photographic evidence of my teaching campus  all the way down in Jiangning... 

Nice and sparse as you can see... Above is the library - the big, sprawling structure of it is certainly a sight to behold, no?

I only teach here one day a week, but its a mission and a half to get down here and a mission and a half to walk around the bloody thing. In the morning I teach at the graduate side of campus, and in the afternoons now I give the British culture lecture at the undergraduate side. It literally takes me 20 minutes to walk there from the grad side, and there is really no reason for the campus to be this spread out, or at least not one I can think of...

In other news, our pretty little bikes took us on a wee bike ride the other day, around the lake in our bike garden, XuanWu. We managed to half-catch a sunset (a rare treat here recently in the smoggy weather) before we were turfed out of our bench by some people with big professional cameras. We weren't about to argue with media-looking types so we cycled off back home gladly. We even stopped off half way and had a muffin and a pastry as a treat for all our hard work pedalling (guess which one I had!)



Thursday, 21 October 2010


I've finally decided what I'll be going as this year for Halloween...

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Yesterday was mission: drink.

Oktoberfest at the Regalia Hotel began supposedly at 1pm and ended at 12 midnight... we were the first people there at 2pm and I vaguely remember us leaving around 11.30pm when the drinks had seen people off. So basically we were ultimate lads and saw everyone arrive and most people leave.

The crowd was half expats, half Chinese so it was fairly entertaining once the beer had worked its magic. I had an indepth discussion with one Chinese gentleman for perhaps an hour, no idea what about, but I must have liked his chat. There was arm wrestling, dart competitions, a small child dressed like Frank Sinatra, some western singers with beanie hats and acoustic guitars, and pour-your-own pilsner... so all in all an event to remember.

We made it home in a taxi by some miracle, with Iain drunkenly repeating 'thank you' to the poor guy the whole journey. This morning we were not a pretty sight. But a McDonalds soon cheered us up...

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Bicycle Success!

We are now the proud owners of two 'second-hand' bikes, complete with ding-a-ling bells, baskets (joy joy joy) and two locks apiece. Pray that this bike lasts a bit longer than my unfortunate Papa's bike did in Manchester...

Photo to follow. However, I should let you know now... it's literally a Giant bike:


Just because.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Update schmupdate

I'm not very good at keeping the writing aspect going but I promise I will try my hardest to. I am currently planning for my first ever lecture on British culture, what an intriguing and obviously well-thought out class topic! I have six 90 minute lectures to wow my undergraduate students on the British way of life... any suggestions? My introductory lecture as planned so far includes a fair few video clips, involving Only Fools and Horses, Extras, the Queen listening to the national anthem, Blackadder II with Queenie, and Twist and Pulse from Britain's Got Talent 2009. 

Apart from everyday teaching/planning life we have successfully installed our wireless interwebs, hurrah! And tomorrow is attempt II re. bicycles, so wish us luck. Tonight we are meeting the first ever group of Brits we have discovered in Nanjing so my British culture class is being researched very well. We are going for a very Chinese meal because you know, we're all sino-cised now (!). Actually I am officially legal as of later this afternoon when I will get my passport back from the PSB, complete with my resident permit...


Watering water... what a demand...

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Picture of the Day

To carry on my trend on t'other blog, here is my photo of the day!
Click on it to fully understand this bar's strict rules ...

Back in Black

So I can now get back onto blogspot (hurrah!)
All updates up until this glorious point have been made here:
But now, as this site is prettier and I have some friends yes I do, I'll be posting again right here right now.

This week was a week of joy as it was National Holiday! We all had a week off to celebrate China's founding of the PRC on Oct 1st, 1949. Me and Iain took our chance and got on the only train that had any tickets left, and ended up in Suzhou, only an hour away from our abode, but still... it was a holiday! We stayed 6 days, which is probably a little too long for Suzhou which is mainly feeling the gardens vibe and not much else, but we managed to keep ourselves busy by sleeping late and eating lots.

Highlights of the trip included our day trip to neighbouring town Luzhi which at first sight was more like a model village full of shops rather than an 'ancient water town' but it improved slightly with time, especially after a small child shouted 'hallo!' to us as she stood with her pants down and wiped her behind.
We had our paparazzi days at Tiger Hill (an ancient pagoda just on the outskirts of Suzhou) and at the Humble Administrator's Garden, both major tourist hotspots. We basically had a photo shoot at Tiger Hill, we'd have been rich if we'd charged for every photo that was taken of us that day...

Food wise Suzhou is now my favourite place in China. We fell in love with an all-you-can-eat restaurant called Amazon, which had sushi, chinese food, korean food, and... salad!!!! It even had a chocolate fountain. And it was a mere 6 English Pounds for this delight, with unlimited soft drinks too --- they even had a nescafe coffee machine (ultimate joy!)

Another part of our trip worth a mention was our uber skilled playing of pool. All the hostels and most of the bars had pool tables so we hit that up big style, with me actually improving enough to almost win on occasions, muy impressive. The dorms in the hostels were a bit of an experience, thankfully we only stayed in dorms for 3 of the 6 nights... Chinese tourists are definitely not familiar with dorm etiquette... rustling plastic bags and talking loudly at 6am does not come into my knowledge of hostel practice!

So we are now back in Nanjing sadly, back to work and back to trying to fix our wireless internet. Mission plan for this weekend is also to invest in some bikes, but I had a tantrum yesterday when we tried to barter unsuccessfully in half pidgin Mandarin, half mime, and so we came home with no spoils. Attempt two will begin on Monday... wish us luck.