I have finished teaching here officially now, no classes since last Friday as the grade 2 students have exams all this week (the poor darlings!) and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it to be entirely honest, which is more distressing than feeling downright depressed I will say as much!!
Last lesson was on American and English humor, culminating in the viewing of The Big Bang Theory and Little Britain. Needless to say that when the students were faced with the choice of American or English 10/12 classes opted for The Big Bang Theory. I think I can safely say that I'm all Sheldon and Lenard-ed out! Please!!! No more tales of the Whore of Omaha!! *pauses for dramatic effect* Oh, still reading? OK then. Good.
It was really quite depressing come last lesson with class 3, 11, 4, 7. Heck it was oober depressing at the end of all of them!! When I told them some classes had a general air of "awww no more bludge lessons.... *tear*" and some seemed genuinely sad that four months had disappeared so quickly! Class 3 were a bunch of babes, gotta love 'em and 7 were their usual amusingly wicked selves which was a refreshing note to finish up on.
Thursday night Natalie and I took Lucy, Mr. Huang, Gemini, Mr. Ding (headmaster) and Mrs. Ding out for dinner to say thank-you in some small way for all their guidance and patience over the last four months. They seemed pretty chuffed at the prospect, somehow I get the feeling it is not a common occurrence among past volunteers, as much I hope is not true and that my spidey-senses are out of wack again. It was quite a nice evening, lots of food, chatter. Pretty cool. Lucy said to us that Nat and I were the best volunteers so far in terms of pairing and being able to work together to engage the students (although I have to attribute the engaging aspect to Nat, they seem to love her amazingly bubbly and talkative personality over my quite-listen-to-you-practice-your-English one, but oh well, I won't hold it against her).
So, the weekend passed rather uneventfully, chilled watched some absolutely torrential rain come within 4cm of flooding the house!! Tragically the SS. Sink Me lived woefully up to her name and was all but ripped apart as she made her way through the mini river that was our front yard/car park, (note to self; tell future engineers to invest in some more sturdy materials, paper and sticky tape simply won't do!)
Yes, the rain was torrential!
Sunday... hmm to be honest I don't really remember what happened on Sunday... turning into a goldfish with my old age I think! Oh yeh! That's right! Went to a wedding for our neighbor on Sunday, physics teacher who I had previously assumed married as there is a woman who appears to be of similar age living with him, turns out she is either his sister or mother. oops. But it was pretty cool. We went with Lucy and her husband, later picking up their son who played a role in the extension of my visa I believe (gotta love family members in good places). Lucy and Mr. Huang took us to see their new flat in Yuxi first. It was really nice!! A mix of traditional Chinese in terms of colours and some moldings and Western architecture. Open space, 2 level apartment with a nice balcony and high ceilings. Really nice place, sitting over papaya on the couch with Lucy out of the room, Mr. Huang reclined rather self-satisfactorily and told us the price of the flat (which shan't be disclosed here, but it was a lot!) On to the wedding and food, fireworks (indoors mind you) and as the usual gist of a Chinese wedding goes left within onne hour and thirty minutes. No fuss here at all.
Lucy, Me and Mr. Huang on the balcony of their new flat.
Monday and I managed to spend the entirety of this months wages in the span of a day. ouch! but oh well, it's only money. :P Got the bus to Yuxi, upon which a man and lady sat next to me and started talking about the foreigner and how different she was (me). Then all of a sudden the bloke behind me pipes up and tells them essentially my whole life story which was kinda weird....
"her name is Meixian, she is an English teacher at Minzhong from Melbourne, Australia. She is 18, has one sister who is taller than her and is leaving the school on Monday to travel around China, starting in Hai'nan."
Cause that's not weird at all...... Turned around and looked at him, asking how he knew all that. Apparently E'shan is a small place..... yeh, cause I didn't already know that. :P Anyway, got to Yuxi with my bag of goodies to send home rocked up to what is the "Postal Banking Service of China" (also postal service as the name suggests) however when I asked the security guard where the post desk was he simply giggled (yes, the crooked eyed security guard in the bullet proof vest and hard hat) telling me that the post office I was looking for was down the road.
So got to the right post office, bundled up my goodies homeward bound and had the bejesus scared out of me by Lewis' sudden appearance at my side, followed shortly by the cost of sending just shy of 2kg home (379yuan). Fresh juice in the newly opened juice shop in Yuxi with Lew as we chatted about odds and ends, apparently he is in the same boat as me when it came to exams. ouch! then down to the train ticket office to get my Kunming- Beihai (via Nanning) tickets. Not to mention that I managed to buy one of the most expensive tickets, stupid mistake I wont make again but oh well, will know how the other half live for all of 32hrs. That was cool, got tickets with a little help from a student who luckily happened to be there (bloody ticket woman spoke faster every time I asked her to slow down). So pain number two. (240yuan) followed up by a memory card for my camera (as I will not be travelling with my laptop around China, so 16GB it is, 160yuan).
And yet again the massive thunderheads meandered across the humid sky bellowing their throaty roars telling us all to run for cover before the heavens opened and drowned us. Literally drowned us. My second occasion to be thankful for the ankle high, water-proof hiking boots, only things dry were my feet, passport and train tickets. Everything else, soggy and wet. Not cool.
Following day, went out relatively early and will admit was in a horrendous mood from lack of sleep in Lew's spare bed. Hot, hard and sweaty. Not cool. Nat and I went out, did a few things, spent more money. Bought Lucy a nice little bracelet, quite chuffed by that. Then went back to the shop I'd walked past the night before and purchased... wait for it. A mountain bike, red and white and generally pretty cool. :P Got my mad as wheels for going around China now, pretty much set.
Tuesday we got home and Fang being the absolute love that he is had orginised a mini party with a few of his friends. Fruit and stuff. Really nice of him, he made Natalie and I little bracelets/charms that are typical of Yi Minority people. They are intended to bring luck, safety and hope to those who carry them and can only be made on Dragon Boat festival. (and they don't seem like something you can whip up in 10mins). Going to miss that guy.
Yi knot, sorry for the bad quality pic, left my camera at Lew's so had to use my mobile
Tuesday night was our farewell dinner with the English staff. May I say that their endeavor to get Nat and I hammered was rekindled with vengeance. Dinner and Baijiu. Good combo if you ask me. However after some time the conversation suddenly changed to "discharging". I will let you use your imaginations there m'dears.... not cool. Followed by most people meandering back to our flat for beer and snacks. Photos and conversations until the bell went for bed. Was pretty cool.
Going to miss everyone here. Not feeling much at the moment, kinda like a hollow shell more than anything at the moment. I suspect however that come Monday it will be sad to walk away officially, (even if it is with the knowledge that I will be returning mid-July to pick up my big back pack then again in early September to meet the new grade one students, I get the feeling that the September leaving may be slightly sadder, but shhhhh don't tell anyone that OK?)
Until next we meet m'dears, the adventure will go on and the search will continue, It will not be satisfied and it will not be repressed.