Jan. 12th, 2010

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First of all, I'll be home in just about 2 weeks, for the first time in a year. This gap is much better than my mid-Turkey gap, where I didn't get home for nearly 4 years, partly due to a lack of time off, partly due to all sorts of things popping up and making life difficult. I will see Lola again.  I'm looking forward to having some good fur around. And my silent basement lair looking out onto a winter garden. And the sea close by. And family. And remaining friends. It has been a seriously difficult year for me and a bit of grounding will do me good.

Second of all, we're halfway done the professional development workshop put on by the Australian uni. They flew up a phenomenally cool woman called Vesna to do the training and she's one of those smoking and swearing and black-clad women with a dry, dry, dark  humour that I always want to follow around like a puppy dog. I'm a bit sad that way. But it's been a good workshop and she axed about half of it when she realized pretty early on that we knew what we were doing. We all went out for noodles and talked about the meat hanging to dry up in the trees. Faaaaack, Oi've missed this facking place, she noted.

Third of all, my boss-boss Philip (as opposed to Kevin, who is just my boss) just came back from the end-of-semester meeting with my university and apparently everyone there, including the inscrutable Miss Wang the program director, likes me very very much and thinks I'm doing a smashing job at teaching the ruffians. Apparently Miss Wang is very hard to please. Many many many before me haven't  gotten her vague twitch of approval and are now away doing other things, contracts not renewed. Kevin suggested that if a coordinator position comes up in Shanghai, he'd like me to do it.  *sigh*

Fourth of all, Shanghai is still stupidly, numbingly cold. Puddles are frozen over. Breath is visible. D. and I are pouring at least one bath each every night to thaw out extremities. Toes are tingling and skin is chilly to the touch. Sitting all morning and part of the afternoon in a theoretically heated classroom on those hard, flat rows of benches with the desk bolted to the back of the seat for the bench behind you  (like a 1930s high school) made my ass go numb and my toes go numb. I bought cans of hot fake coffee from the vending machine downstairs, all of which were pretty appalling but they kept my hands warm for a while. I wore coat, scarf, gloves and fuzzy hat all day, inside and out.

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