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Russell Eagling


-----Original Message-----
From: Russell Eagling []
Sent: 06 September 2003 04:24
Subject: Wuhan Calling

Nimen Hao,

My first week of teaching is now over. You will be glad to know that I have had a very good time of it, enjoyed the students a lot and only had one thing go wrong.

I even got a wonderfully fast ADSL connection linked up at the beginning of the week. Unfortunately, the thing that went wrong a few days later was the computer. So I need to get that fixed somehow before I can make use of its supersonic speed. In the mean time I am sat again in one of the many dark, sweaty internet cafes which surround my university surrounded by students playing bizzare asian fantasy role-play games on the computer that seem to involve a lot of violence, pillaging and environmental damage.

I am still sweating like the proverbial 'whore in church.' The main reason was that I was pursuaded to go and play football this morning. I can't remember the last time I played football. Whenever it was it certainly wasn't at 9:00am on a saturday, 30 degrees c with a very high humidity and against a group of lads who were much, much better than me.

Anyway, after half an hour of running up and down the ridiculously large pitch we were saved by the proper football players who turfed us off the grass. Releif was not the word.

Teaching here is quite fun. I've mainly got 3rd year students and their English is very good. I asked them all to write 5 questions to ask me as one of the first tasks. They came up with things like "Would you please tell us something about...." Or "In your opinion what do you think the main differences are between..." Which makes quite a difference from the "What is your favourite colour" questions I got when I was working in the UK.

The students favourite questions of the week were basically "What do I think of China/Wuhan/Chinese people/Chinese girls." My favourites were "Why are you so thin when most of the teachers who come to China are so fat?" "Have any of your students told you that you are very handsome" and "Handsome teacher, Do you like football." "Teacher, you are obviously very humerous, Can you tell us a joke" Also stumped me. Mainly because as soon as the question was asked I could only think of one about 2 women of dubious reputations in a police cell. That one I decided would not be very appropriate!

We are being taken to see Chinese Opera tonight. I remember a line from a TV programme that goes something like "Like most other red-blooded male I go nuts for three hours of shreiking and banging." But I'm sure the cultural significance of the performance will overcome these petty preconceptions. Someone who went last year said that it was visually very stunning, but that I should take a MP3 player in order to survive the ordeal.

I want to start planning my week-off at the beginning of October. I also want to think about what I'm doing in the five weeks I have between the 15th of January and five weeks later than that. It seems that I am going to be having the pleasure of Ed's company for some if not most of that time. If anyone else fancies a trip out let me know - but I can't promise that my Chinese will be as competant as my Spanish was by a similar time (Yup, that bad)

Time to sign off - Congrats to Nick by the way for securing well over 200 votes to one of his opponents '0'. Also best wishes to my sister-in-law who has been laid up at home recently. I'm thinking about you and hoping that Miles is using the headphones on the piano whilst you're feeling delicate.

All the best for now



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Launched on December 25th 2003