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Published: December 27th 2011
October was a colourful month, it clung to the warmth of autumn with a ferocity that turned the leaves on the trees a golden brown before secretly relenting to the ever growing piles stowed away by the silent street sweepers.
Halloween and Guy Fawkes night brought me longing for the smoky smell of burning wood, the metallic tang of sulfurous sparklers and sticky sweetness of toffee apples and I began to mis home terribly. Luckliy the festive week brought an element of fun to my classroom as I lit Jack-o-lanterns and filled the lightless classroom with tales of terror. My students shrieked and laughed in equal amounts, and wrote their own ghost stories. One follows;
It was a dark, dark night. A man walk on a dark street, there is no light, no stars. He hear something, crying maybe. He look everywhere but see nobody. He walks far, He sees a girl, she is sit, her head behind her arms. She crying. He touch girl she look at him. She has no face!
I love this story I think it's haunting, and the student who wrote it is extremely creative. I was very impressed! Sometimes when teaching here in China, you hear the students repeat words by rote, learn long passages of the same script and you forget the individual they become one large mass of chocolate brown eyes and jet black hair. You forget that they too have their unique qualities, their gifts for creativity (something I think Western culture too often represents as suppressed
by a controlling state). Then you catch a mischevious grin, a knowing smile and a glint in the eye and you remember these are teenagers, and they are the same all over the world.
November began with unseasonable warmth, perhaps some real world pathetic fallacy, the skies clear and blue the sun shining. Until perhaps halfway through the month when it began to grow cold and as winter sank its gnarly teeth into the city, something sank its gnarly teeth into me. My back in excrutiating pain, I was taken to the hospital. Barely able to walk, stand up or sit down we spent 40 minutes at the hospital where they efficiently did many tests and prescribed a course of anti-biotics for an infection.
Luckily this has been my only experience of hospitals in China and I can happily report that, depite the smoking anywhere and everywhere (including the doctors office). It was clean, quick and cheaper than a prescription back home. I was off school for a week and bed bound for the most of it. I could barely move for pain and when visitors brought fruit, donuts and plenty of food it took all my energy
to open the door and put a grateful smile on my face.
After a week of antibiotics and bed rest I was back on my (perhaps unsteady) feet and raring to go.
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