Two pretty mundane weeks…

I like to think I’ve been entertaining you over the past nine months, and that there haven’t been many of these posts to endure… Sadly, however, there’s not much to report on in the last two weeks!

My mood has been up and down, as a consequence of events mentioned in my last post. It’s been a bit of a trend: a few good days, where I’m feeling content, then something happens which sets me back (for example, having a minor accidental collision with another pedestrian, who then threw a bottle of orange juice at the back of my head and pushed me over on a staircase via a rugby-style hand-off to the face… And yes, that did actually happen!).

To follow that, I think I’ve had a dose of food poisoning in the last few days, which hasn’t been great. I’ve been pretty much bed-ridden since Friday afternoon, but am feeling more like it now.

Class change

Probably the most noteworthy news was that I changed class. I started out in D-ban, which was just the level up from last semester, but it just took me one day to decide that it wasn’t right for me. Firstly, I found the teaching of the comprehensive class too slow (as well as the fact that I already had come across 75% of the vocab in the first few lessons of the book); secondly, I felt it made quite a lot of sense not to have to see Sunghee in every single teaching hour of every single day. It’s still very difficult to avoid – we live in the same dorm, and the classrooms aren’t far away at all – but it’s something.

So how is E-ban in comparison then? It’s definitely a big jump! I’m learning lots of new vocab, especially chengyu (the Chinese classical idioms), and a couple of the classes are actually more like lectures taught in Chinese than interactive classes. The reading class is a massive leap up, mainly in terms of reading speed required, but again, I am here for 103 more days, so it doesn’t make sense to coast. I might as well make a big effort to improve!

The only class I feel as though I’m missing out on is the colloquialisms class in D-ban. The teacher of that class is great, and you learn some useful, everyday language. So I decided to buy that textbook anyway and study it myself; in E-ban, we have Thursday’s second period free, so I’m setting that aside each week to sit in Coffee World and do the week’s colloquialisms. In conversation with Will, I’ve not fallen behind it seems. I’m sure I miss out on some useful information in the classes, but the book has English and Chinese explanations, as well as plenty of usage examples, so I’m sure I won’t be too disadvantaged.

Other activities?

They’re very few and far between as it stands! I’m doing some more singing and lyric-writing and I’m keeping up with the gym regime… The only few things on the horizon are potential plans made with Brent. There’s a possibility of a Riyue Bay trip this coming weekend to try out surfing and either camp or stay in a hostel. I’ve also enquired at an international golf course nearby and a turtle sanctuary on the south-east coast of Hainan about volunteering (the former, with the intention of angling at a free round in return!) for a weekend. I’m still awaiting responses on both, though…

Oh, and I’ve been round to Dave’s a few times for proper home-cooked food. I’ve since bought my own equipment; it’s amazing how cheap and easy it is to produce filling, very healthy food here. Eating out isn’t expensive, but a big tofu, chicken and veg soup with rice came to about £1.10 each, for three of us.

Otherwise it’s just the usual routine I guess! Hopefully a few things will come up for the next month or two to keep me ticking along. But one way or another, these 15 weeks will slip by, and then I’ve got my internship as the next challenge! Can’t wait! Speak soon (hopefully with some more fascinating anecdotes and news…)


Back in the nest…

After a good 30 hours of travelling, I’ve made it back to the dorm and had a decent night’s sleep! The journey wasn’t without one or two hiccups though…

The first leg, from Newcastle to Heathrow, should have been the easiest, and with three hours to change at Heathrow, I could have afforded a delay. But for some unknown reason, I decided to download the British Airways app at about 9:30am, half an hour before leaving, so that I could have my boarding pass on my phone. Lucky I did really, because when I logged in and went to obtain my QR code pass, I read that the flight had been cancelled. Not ideal.

Anyhow, it made for an exciting half an hour or so in the car; both Sophie and I were frantically trying to check Newcastle Airport’s website, ring BA customer services, and figure out what to do. It appeared that there were two later BA flights to Heathrow which would have got me there on time, so off we headed to the airport’s customer services desk. As it turned out, one of those flights had also been cancelled, and the other was full. Bummer. It thus required some persuasion and blagging to get myself transferred to KLM (via Amsterdam) – the only other option that would have got me to Chengdu on time for my internal connection here.

So that was really my first experience of this sort of drama. But fear not, dear reader, a strongly-worded letter of complaint has been sent to British Airways by the “Director of JD Editorial”… Without doubt, the most disappointing thing was that they couldn’t find another way to get me to Heathrow within a seven-hour window. I’ll keep you posted on the compensation claim!

Moving swiftly on, I reached Amsterdam and had a five-hour wait there, most of which was spent proofreading – I had (wisely, as it turned out) left myself a decent-sized job from last week to do whilst travelling, as I had originally anticipated a ten-hour gap in Chengdu. Next up was the long Amsterdam to Chengdu flight, on which I managed to blag an extra-legroom seat due to the “inconvenience caused” – another bonus really! This worked out nicely, as I was able to sleep for a good five or six hours of the flight, which is unusual for me…

Baggage collected, I headed to Terminal 2, and en route met a nice Dutch guy who’d been on the same flight as me. He also had a similar wait for his connection, so we found a Starbucks together, sat and passed some time working, chatting, drinking coffee and latterly wandering about the duty-free. Eventually I boarded my final flight, which was also on time and due to arrive at 10:40pm in Haikou. It duly did. I picked up my case again and made for the exit, where Sunghee was very kindly waiting (I think the airport’s Burger King may have eased the burden somewhat)! A quick taxi back to the dorm and I got my first fitness test of the semester – lugging my baggage all back up to the sixth floor – before unpacking, catching up with Will, and finally calling it a night at about 2am! Welcome back 🙂

My psychic skills don’t extend to reading the mind of Chinese event organisers…

(Apologies for the long title. I ran out of inspiration…)

Major discovery of the week: Chinese guys and girls can dance!

I was given a ticket to a dance competition last Saturday evening. My friend, who works at Yes Coffee Bar, was taking part with her group, X-Crew. I didn’t really know what to expect, but she has helped me with my speaking competition, and has joined the bandwagon of my 杰克粉丝团 (Jack Fan Club, so named by Miss Xu, our reading teacher). I went along to support with Steffi, Karolina and Renata, and we were properly entertained for a good two hours. (Well, apart from one act, which was frankly not so entertaining.)

X Crew! 5th place in the Hainan University dance competition

X Crew! 5th place in the Hainan University dance competition

A not-so-good experience

On Tuesday, a nice Russian girl sent me a message asking if I could help out a friend of hers. She’d been at the competition round one, so knew of my ukulele and singing. She has a friend who was running a charity gig at a school yesterday (Thursday) and they were looking for someone to sing two songs, for 500 Yuan. I thought, why not?! So I gave the guy a call and he asked me to send over some mp3s or videos of myself. I duly did so, and waited for his reply. And waited. And waited…

It got to Wednesday evening and I’d not heard back, so I messaged my friend. She then called him and told him to confirm whether or not I was needed straight away, as it was by then already 11pm. If I didn’t hear from him, I was to assume that it was off. I stayed up a while, and of course, nothing was doing. So I rested easy, made alternative plans for the Thursday (namely walking to Baishamen with Vicky for a chill-out and a catch-up on her travels).

Class came and went, we got ready and at 2:30pm off we went, yoga mats in tow. We were just at the East Gate, when a guy pulls over and winds the window down. “Are you Jack?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“I’m Leon, organising the charity do at the school. You should come with me now to test the microphones, and then the event is at 7:30pm tonight.” (I had thought the gig was afternoon. In any case, I had a competition rehearsal at 7pm…)

“Oh, okay… Well, to be honest, Lisa said you’d ring me last night to confirm whether I was needed or not. Because I didn’t hear, I have had to make other plans, and I’m busy now. Really sorry.”

“But I was really tired last night. And I’ve already printed 1,500 brochures with the programme of events (which, by the way, he called the game list). And it’s for a charity which helps poor children. You need to do me a favour here!” I was pretty shocked by this point, but I have principles: he hadn’t rung me to confirm, so how was I to know the time, place, or, in fact, whether I was needed at all?! He started to get quite aggressive from in his car, and I turned to Vicky, discussing in German. He got out of the car, and we decided I had to stick to my guns really. The money was good, and it was a charity do; but the money wasn’t important, I had more important plans already on in the evening, and aside from that, he had just come to tell me I was needed at the time of picking me up. So that was no good!

Anyhow, we went to Baishamen and had an awesome afternoon. It was great to get caught up, having missed my Vicky for a whole week! Photos can be seen below.

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Next up: we’re off to Wuzhishan to climb the mountain for a three-day trip on Sunday. That should be relaxing. We return on Wednesday, in time for two days of class, then on Friday afternoon we’re off to Riyuewan for Brent’s big 30. A fairly small group are going to chill, surf and celebrate over the weekend.

Competition preparation, and the three cutest teachers in the whole of the People’s Republic of China

Preparation is complete. I know my speeches and songs and poems. It’s just going to be a case of nerves; last time I wasn’t so nervous, and I’m sure my fan group will help keep me composed tomorrow! So, on to my introduction of the three cutest teachers:

  • Mr Wang – as Renata will testify, this man only ever refers to himself in the third person. Example: “Jack, of course that is no problem. First, ask your guidance teacher, but if you need to borrow a suit for the competition, you just need to give Wang Laoshi a ring, and Wang Laoshi will happily lend you a suit.” He also referred to me as a 大帅哥 (very handsome chap, literally “big handsome brother”). I pointed out that 小帅哥 might be more apt (“small handsome brother”)…
  • Miss Deng – our speaking teacher. Technically, she is another competitor’s guidance teacher, but she’s been helping me on the sly, and encouraging the whole of our class to come along and support. She also asked me to do the poem performance in class today, which was great practice for me!
  • Miss Xu – as I’ve already mentioned, she has named my fan club! She found it very funny that I’d been contacted by lots of random students after the first round. After seeing her today, she said we are just always so happy! I think Vicky and Karolina probably persuaded her to come and join the cheerleading group too…

Umbrella danger

The above picture is a representation of a new Chengyu, made by my own very brain. Chengyu are, as I’ve explained in an earlier post, traditional Chinese phrases usually made up of four characters, which have a history and a story often dating back thousands of years. This one, however, is straight out of 2013, and has absolutely no history whatsoever. It’s literal meaning is “umbrella danger”, and its extended meaning is – well – also “umbrella danger”. It’s a bit of a rubbish Chengyu I guess, but it gets across my anger at the regular attempts to stab me in the eyes/face with umbrella spokes. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S NOT EVEN RAINING.

Chinese t-shirt slogans

I’ve seen some very funny Chinese t-shirts in the past few weeks. Some are hilarious literal translations of what was once a meaningful Chinese phrase, now rendered laughable by its lack of coherence in English (“Have hope and proceed. It will be opened certainly tomorrow”). Others are actually quite witty and clever (the old faithful “Life’s a beach”). The third category is just the absolutely absurd. Take, for example, an NFL-style jersey (more on that later) with the number 12 written beneath (in bold, red capitals) PERVERT. Erm…

On a mildly related note, we studied a new grammar point in class this week: 宁可. Its meaning is “would rather”, which isn’t the funny part, in case you were wondering. It is in fact pronounced “ning ke” which, when the appropriate tones are applied, makes it sound like you are beginning to call someone a nincompoop. Well, it tickled Will and me anyhow… Also, as an indirect result, I have rediscovered the word “ponce”.

Vlad found me, whilst on his surfing trip a few weeks back, hiding in a Coke advert...

Vlad found me, whilst on his surfing trip a few weeks back, hiding in a Coke advert…


I’m really appreciating the value of friends here. If you know me at all, you will know I’m relatively quiet and thoughtful, and I enjoy the company of a small number of people whom I value and care about. Here, it’s a very interesting mixture.

At first, everyone did everything together, as we were all foreigners, lumped into a bizarre new world together. Now, people are finding those to trust, those to have fun with, and those to spend hours drinking iced coffee with! If you’re reading this from Hainan, you probably care enough to be one of these friends – thank you 🙂 I’m very grateful!

Mid-term exams

Coming up this week, my mid-terms continue. The listening one appeared to be fine, especially given that we could prepare 75% of the test from our textbook’s listening extracts… I expect the comprehensive one (Thursday) to be more difficult, as that involves all of the grammar, vocab, written pieces and reading texts so far. The other two are somewhat interesting.

Speaking (Wednesday) is a dialogue which we can prepare in small groups; I’m talking about my hometown with Vicky. Basically, we are going to try and re-enact our first ever meeting, where Will had set us up as a mutual friend. We found that we had quite a lot in common, and was amazed to learn that she lives in Hannover, where I had been merely two months earlier!

Reading (Friday) is, in fact, not reading at all. It’s another speaking presentation, essentially. We have to learn about one Chengyu, and explain to our classmates (with a PowerPoint presentation) the story behind it. I’m not too worried about that one, but still quite bamboozled as to why they call it a reading exam.

I've been joining the Calligraphy Society. It's harder than it looks, but very relaxing * * for "relaxing", instead read "frustrating"

I’ve been joining the Calligraphy Society. It’s harder than it looks, but very relaxing *
* for “relaxing”, instead read “frustrating”

Continued fascination with NFL

After another win for the Chargers and another outstanding running effort from my new top man, the untouchable Danny Woodhead (5’8″ and 15st, with dancing feet), I’ve only gone and purchased myself an American football. Apart from aspiring to actually be the aforementioned Woodhead, we are going to get a little game of “flag football” going – wearing a t-shirt in the back of the shorts rather than taking full-on neckbreakers… I’m not relishing the prospect of coming up against Big Hungarian Daniel though, who is effectively a foot taller than me and built like a brick wall.

Big derby match

Slightly more nerve-wracking still is the thought of watching Sunderland host Newcastle tomorrow night… Sad to say, I just don’t have a good feeling about it. However, I guess we have to win at some point soon. Never a better time to start!

This experience is one long anecdote…

I’VE GOT A COOL NEW FEATURE, EVERYONE! If you click the “Map” tab at the top of this page, it should take you to my Google Map of this year. I’ve placed markers on some of the places I’ve been and where I spend most of my time – just thought it might be nice for you to be able to picture the locations of these places! Let me know what you think.

The China Shuffle & inconsiderate umbrella-users

Gemma, my friend and classmate from Newcastle, will testify that I kind of went crazy at the end of Spring Term last year. I think it was tiredness, but I found myself getting really annoyed when walking through Chinatown by the shuffling noise of feet on the pavement. Back then, six months ago, I termed it the “China Shuffle”. I didn’t expect it to be quite such an epidemic disease… If we were made to walk like that, we would have evolved to have wheels on our feet, so why can’t you just pick one foot up and place it down in front of the other?!

Whilst on a bit of a rant, I’ll continue into inconsiderate usage of umbrellas. I understand that everyone needs an umbrella here, but when you’re walking directly towards someone, it would seem natural to me to tilt/lift the umbrella, or to move slightly to one side. This basically avoids poking that person’s eye out with one of your spokes. Again, no – this is not part of the Chinese philosophy. I resorted to actively pushing an umbrella aside this morning, for the sake of my left retina!

You may get the impression that these rants mean I’m not having a good time here – in fact, I am simply pandering to the needs of you, my dear readers. I think a blog would be a bit boring if I just said “all is well” every week. That’s what my emails to the parents are for(!)… Love you guys 🙂


My name’s Jack, and I am enjoying following NFL. Two months ago, I would never have imagined it, but thanks to Brent, I’m a true-blue Chargers fan. SAN DIEGO! It’s now on my bucket list to go and see them play live. At least it gives me something to watch when Sunderland are comfortably adrift at the bottom of the Prem.

Mid-term exams

Mid-term exams are in the next two weeks, beginning with listening next Thursday, 24th. The listening exam does, however, seem a little pointless… 75% of it is based on the listening textbook exercises we’ve already done (and which we also have the answer book for). Only 25% of it is new material. Anyhow, I’m not complaining – it gives me more time to write the outstanding anecdote that will follow next!

One thing I am missing more than cheese at the moment - wholegrain bread! Actually, anything that isn't white - noodles, rice, bread...

One thing I am missing more than cheese at the moment – wholegrain bread! Actually, anything that isn’t white – noodles, rice, bread… UPDATE!!! I’VE FOUND GERMAN-STYLE RYE BREAD IN CARREFOUR, SO WENT COMPLETELY OVERBOARD AND BOUGHT 3 LOAVES 🙂

My run-in with the Chinese police

This was Monday, my day from hell in terms of classes. We had comprehensive class in the afternoon too, so I was soooo tired come 4:30pm. Vicky and I had gone to the gym, and then sat in a little cafe, where I nearly fell fast asleep. She went into the supermarket below, while I went to get my bike and cycle back to the dorm for a shower.

I reached my usual parking spot at the gym, and thought: “OHHHHH NOOOO, MY BIKE HAS BEEN STOLEN.”

In a state of shock, I decided the best bet was not to panic. Breathe, breathe – think back to the Newcastle University insurance briefing (good job we all paid our full attention…). I rang the police straight away (as we’d been told to do, in order to get a report and make an insurance claim). Two guys came up to me, and were very nice, but a little scary. Then two more arrived, saluting as they stepped from their vehicle. We all sat down and I answered some questions. I saw Vicky coming down, and went over to tell her what was going on.

As I neared her, it suddenly hit me…  I realised what had actually happened and burst out laughing. Vicky didn’t know at this point, and was a bit bemused: “Oh no Jack, really what is going on?!” I told her to wait a minute, and went back to the policemen. They wanted to take me back to the station to get a description of the bike and see my passport which, I told them, was still being processed as I had to change visas. I asked whether I could take their number and come on Thursday after collecting passport – smoooooooth!

Then I had to explain everything to Vicky – after calling the police out for half an hour, I’d suddenly realised I had bumped into Renata, a Lithuanian girl, on the way. I had abandoned the cycling idea, parked halfway to the gym and walked the rest of the way with her… I don’t know whether it was complete tiredness, or what, but I then had the embarrassing task of ringing the policeman up and explaining. I was very apologetic; he just laughed (fortunately!!) and said to be more careful next time… Got away with that one, but an excellent story for A Pedant Abroad!


One final story for today. I went for a run on Wednesday to Evergreen Park, actually in Haikou City proper and not on Haidian Island. On my way back, I stopped to ask a man for directions. He assured me that the (1.5-mile long) Century Bridge was this way, and that there was a footpath on the side.

He was right about the direction; wrong about the footpath… But a fun experience nevertheless! In the rain, on a main road bridge, running at 10mph and being overtaken regularly by cars, lorries, etc.

Definitely no footpath here.

Actually quite a good exercise/motivation for speed training. I wouldn’t recommend it though.

An eclectic mix of holiday anecdotes

Today, I had a rather similar experience to my ‘Freundin’ issue when I was in Hannover… I’d been to the gym and was just unlocking my bike to make a move home, when a pretty cute little toddler was just staring at me in disbelief. (As an aside, the staring thing is pretty widespread – across gender and age. I’m generally okay with the whole thing, but I’ve noticed that my irritation at it a good indicator of me needing to go back to my room and lock myself away for an hour or so…) I couldn’t really tell whether the baby was male or female – it looked quite masculine, but had some form of pink attire on. Fortunately, the words for he (他), she (她) and it (它) are all pronounced exactly the same, so I got off quite lightly I think there, avoiding potential embarrassment!

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To volcano or not to volcano?

Yesterday was a bit of an interesting one. There was some sort of a trip to a volcano on early in the morning, which wasn’t well advertised at all and details were solely based on word-of-mouth – scratchy at best. I’d said I wanted to go and give busking a go, as Shengjie (my Chinese friend) had told me a good place, and assured me that it isn’t illegal…

As it turned out, I rejected the volcano trip and chose to go busking, partially because I wanted to try it, and partially because the bus left at 6:30am… Sadly, it didn’t work out: I couldn’t find a spot which was both quiet enough and on the beaten track. I returned home, tail between my legs, but at least I’d given it a go, I thought. Anyway, when Vicky and Will returned, I got more information. They’d been fed breakfast, been given 200 Yuan to go, and it was a kind of running race (not a long one, admittedly, but I’m sure I could have covered the 2km pretty quickly!). What’s more, the winner of the male and female categories won an iPad mini…

So I was quite annoyed with my decision for a while, to put it mildly. After a bit of rationalising, though, I soon got over it. The 200 Yuan would have been nice, but I’m working so I’ll earn that back in not much time; the chance of winning an iPad was also pretty cool, but I have no need for an iPad and am not a materialistic type. All in all, no big deal – though it’s taken me 24 hours to sort myself out!

A poem written by a friend in one of my cards. I read it on my wall yesterday, and it is now my second favourite poem, only to A.F. Harrold's 'Postcards from the Hedgehog'

A poem written by a friend in one of my cards. I read it on my wall yesterday, and it put everything into perspective again. It is now my second favourite poem, only to A.F. Harrold’s ‘Postcards from the Hedgehog’

Gym & slacklining

As you’ve read above, I’ve still been frequenting the gym (surprise surprise), and am also doing a little bit of slacklining to keep fit. I’ve finally put on some weight (scales said 56.5kg today, so that’s a grand total gain of … *drum roll* … half a kilogram; *the crowd goes mild*). Maybe the trip to Pizza Hut on Friday had something to do with that…

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Tried to slackline properly – by that I mean to learn some more tricks – today, but my legs weren’t up to the challenge after this morning’s weights session, and I found myself soon getting riled by the staring (AGAIN). Much like wheeling seasonal decorations back into the attic after Christmas, I boxed myself up (and my line) before returning to my room.


This is probably the most frustrating thing really. Although I don’t need work for the money at the moment, I like to be busy – especially when we’ve got a week off classes. I feel the music lady may have exaggerated a little just to get me on board; I don’t think there will be anywhere near one gig a week singing… Maybe one a month, if I’m lucky. But still, that’s one more than I would otherwise have been doing!

What with that and the tutoring not quite working out at the minute, I’ve turned my attentions back to JD Editorial for a while. Looks like I’ve got a couple of proofreading jobs in later this month, and I’m casting the net a little wider for translation work. Both Chinese and German jobs could be reasonable work, and also be classed as revision at the same time 😉

Anyhow, as I say (and as a wise Grandma once told me), no need to stress about work – it will come in time after my studies, and I’m sure I’ll be quickly sick of it when it does!

A Much-Needed Breather…

I know you’re all going to moan at me when I say we’ve got a week off starting tomorrow (it’s Chinese “National Day” 国庆节, so all workers tend to return to their hometown or go on holiday for a week), but I really do feel that it’s deserved! Due to the odd combination of the Mid-Autumn Festival and three random days on which the whole campus’ power got turned off, we’ve had class on 10 out of the last 11 days. This has certainly made me appreciate how much two days off at the weekend actually do for me!

Some very weird attempt at a pack of Oreos - peach and grape flavour. Tasted like a mixture of midget gems and perfume...

Some very weird attempt at a pack of Oreos – peach and grape flavour. Tasted like a mixture of midget gems and perfume…

All things academic

We’ve been continuing as per usual with classes throughout this latest period, culminating in a monthly exam this morning. In more detail, we have a comprehensive course (grammar, vocab, reading, writing), a reading course, a speaking course and a listening course. I currently am finding the comprehensive course very quick, but doable; the reading course is pitched just about right, as is the speaking; the listening, however, is far faaaaar too slow. Sadly it’s impossible to move up a class just for one of the courses, as they’re at different times for each group. Anyhow, what is going to really make the difference to my Chinese is not in-class work, but socialising and speaking with Chinese people outside of the teaching building.


Outside of the classroom and the gym, most of my activity this week has centred around the ukulele as a result of last weekend’s events. Tuesday night, we got a group together and went to Baishamen Beach. A little bit of swimming and a little bit of a sing-along made for a most enjoyable evening.

Vlad and Vicky prior to the beach trip

Vlad and Vicky prior to the beach trip

The next day, we had a speaking lesson, of which the task was to introduce your hometown. I’d prepared a PowerPoint to give a few photos, a bit of north-eastern music, etc… As you can imagine, technology conspired against me and the music didn’t work, prompting Vicky (who has been a great source of encouragement in actually having the balls to sing in front of people, by the way) to pipe up: “No problem Jack, you can sing it!” A sly attempt to sidle away from the front and back to my desk was in vain, as the whole of the class had latched on to Vicky’s idea. So off I went; I introduced ‘The Old Dun Cow’ to my classmates, and sang away, even getting them all to join in by shouting the requisite response during the chorus. Excellent. Job done!

After a few kind (or, as I thought, sympathetic) comments from my fellow students, we were then requested to do an introduction to a song from our hometown in the next speaking lesson on Sunday. (My musical addition was not a prerequisite of the previous lesson’s PowerPoint…) Rather than sending an MP3 to the teacher, I brought my ukulele along and played one of The Lake Poets’ finest, ‘Shipyards’. You can see the result below (I hope).

Holiday plans

So, moving back to the upcoming holiday… I only have one plan really, and it’s quite a flexible one. I was hoping to cycle to Sanya (at the south of the island), but I feel that needs more planning than 48 hours. In any case, Brent would be very keen to join me on that mission at the start of January, as a bit of an end-of-exam holiday/trip/party. That’s a plan now, and instead, Vicky and I are just going to cycle the 75km to Wenchang for a night or two. We are hoping to try out surfing there, and the number of nights’ stay will depend on two things:

  • What there is to do there;
  • My musical work (see below).

The job could well be making some headway. I asked to meet the agency lady again yesterday, to clarify a few things. It turns out I will be advertised for all sorts of events (evenings in bars/hotels; corporate parties; opening of new businesses; and yes, mum, it does include gigs as a wedding singer…), and she has sent my MP3s round her contacts – she feels, with the next week being a holiday, there should be plenty of gigs available around the city. I hope I can get one or two, but there’s no great rush; I just feel that I have a bit of confidence in myself and momentum at the minute, so I’d like to get started! The price people will pay for a singing Westerner surprised me too: up to £20 per song for a 5- to 10-song gig at a nice hotel!! I said to her, that would be unbelievable, but I’m not picky – even £2 per song for a 10-song gig is better pay than work as a tutor! I’m going to take anything, as it’ll be fun work too, which will involve speaking some Chinese and making some contacts too. Bring it on!