June 7th, 2007

I don’t know why. Something to do with the heat and humidity, I think. Makes me wonder how I survived the summer in Changsha…. by fleeing to Norway at the first opportunity, of course, but still.

Somehow I was just really run down by the time I got out of class at six yesterday evening. Still not feeling particularly energetic.

I felt fine at lunch time yesterday, but as per usual, my very annoying circadian rhythm kicked me up the arse by the time I had to go to class. Should I also point out that the class in question, which is the only class I’ll be teaching here for the rest of the month (I believe I still have my Monday trip to Yizhuang, though), is a lot of work. I mean, as soon as I walked into the classroom for the very first lesson I could see this class was going to be difficult. There’s just something about looking around a room and seeing nothing but closed down, shut off expressions that screams out “Hard, hard work!”

So I spent the entire lesson correcting their misapprehensions: The ever shrinking attendance has nothing to do with the quality of my teaching and everything to do with the students’ attitudes. You don’t come to my class and spend two hours staring at your desk refusing to engage with anything or anybody beyond your nose and then blame me when you realise your learning nothing.

The result? Exhaustion piled on top of wariness. And I forgot that lxw and zyf were coming over for dinner.

lzh met them after work and they came back together. I only had one beer left to offer lxw, so I had to run back down to A Bao for more and discovered that something had broken down and he wasn’t doing such a good job of keeping the beers cold. Room temperature beer is ok when the beer in question is being stored outside in the middle of winter, but it’s not good in 35+ degree heat and south China levels of humidity. Oh well, we have a fridge of our own.

Anyway, we waited for the sun to disappear and the worst of the heat to pass then went round to one of the local restaurants, only to discover all their outside tables were taken. By this time the conditions were perfect for sitting outside, so there was no way we were going inside. So we went back to the little place next to A Bao’s. Hey, the food may be shite, but they’ve got space outside and the owner’s friendly enough. And A Bao supplies the drinks.

Just that last night something broke and on top of my exhaustion, I found myself trying to stomach chuan’rrrrrrr washed down with warm Snows. No, hot Snows. Hot snow should be an oxymoron. The whole experience left me feeling, well, somewhat less than 100%.

Well, escaping back to the apartment, nicely air conditioned, and drinking some cold water, then going to bed helped sort things out.

But still, I had a test to give at eight this morning and I was feeling rested, but still in need of sleep. Fortunately the students got it out of the way far quicker than any other class I’ve ever taught here. Just over one hour. The instructions were simple: Give a short speech. Here are two suggested topics: “Environmental protection is more important than economic development” or “My hometown”, but you can speak about anything you like, so long as you speak English. Time limit? Well, there’s seventeen of you and we need to finish within three hours, so you do the maths. Anyway, that left me with two minutes of paperwork and a quick trip downstairs to hand in the scores and attendance, then freedom. But I just could not get back to sleep, so I’ve spent the rest of the day right here, in front of the computer, wondering why I just can’t wake up. Or get to sleep. Either one of those two, sleep or wakefulness, would be most appreciated, but for some reason I’ve  been stuck in between for nigh on twenty four hours now.

And now I’m stuck with six hours per week with that difficult class and Monday evenings in Yizhuang until the end of my contract.

But I do have the farewell lunch with the students I tested this morning to look forward to tomorrow. And for the first time, the farewell lunch is on a day when I have the afternoon free, so I will be able to let my hair down. Or at least, I’ll be able to let what’s left of my hair down. Summer heat=shaved head.

And on that note, I might just take a nap… or try to….

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