My life has gotten into a relatively nice routine. I haven’t done too much exploring of the city yet, but plan to once it’s warm enough to really enjoy being outside in the parks. I went to Elephant Trunk Park with a few of my students, but since I hadn’t learned the process for getting the teacher discount (which involves going to a different park near the uni with my teacher ID to get a discounted park pass), I paid 40 yuan while they each paid 1. Talk about tourist prices! There was a peak we could climb to see the whole city of Guilin, which was rather stunning.
Other than that I’ve just been doing classes. I’ve been enjoying showing them clips from the film “Life in a Day” because of their reactions to everyday lives of people around the world. It often shows cultural differences I wouldn’t have anticipated. For example, when one section of the film showed a man who had had a major heart operation talking about how the nurses had cared for him, several papers showed students wondering why the family wasn’t taking care of him. Perhaps actual stays in hospitals, being cared for by medical professionals, isn’t a common thing here.
In my time off I’ve been looking for ways to amuse and improve myself. The weather’s finally good enough that I can go running on the track, and every day it’s dry I do about 45 minutes on it. One of my students pointed out the weight room, but it looks just like bar weights for certain gym classes, more intimidating than the place at Ken’s uni! I’ve also been doing a tad of Chinese study, but I admit that as I look to heading back to the US in less than 4 months, I’m trying to regain my programming skills that have grown rusty over here. Being a teacher over here is something I can do and seemingly do well, but in the end I think I need a focus where I’m really building/designing something.
Oh, and I thought that while I’m writing on this blog (a rare occurrence it seems) I should mention an upcoming show that I’ll have to recommend. It’s a cartoon called “The Legend of Korra.” A few years back there was a Nickelodeon action cartoon called “Avatar: The Last Airbender” that was really stunning, great animation, strong characters, an ongoing storyline with relatively complex characters (stuff that’s sadly rare in a lot of our cartoons). What’s neat in particular is that it was all based heavily off of Chinese culture; all the writing in the show, for example, was done in authentic classical Chinese. It’s actually one of the things that first interested me in China, as geeky as it is to admit that. But now there’s going to be a spinoff, with a higher animation budget, a slightly higher target demographic, and a more modern setting (it’s supposed to feel like 1920′s Shanghai, with all the music being “if the Chinese invented jazz”). I saw the first episode and I’m really excited. So I thought I’d just mention that too.