Another Life in the Day

5.30am. Yes, it’s the alarm. After my usual slow-motion ablutions, dressing and breakfast, I walk through the park. It takes me about twenty-five minutes. Sometimes I am feeling lazy or else I am in a hurry, so I hire an orange and silver Mobike. You scan the bike’s code into your smartphone and the five-minute cycle ride costs 1RMB. Actually, I have to type the number of the bike, as the scanning does not work on my stupidphone.

After a few skyscrapers glanced through the palm trees, I arrive at my school. Green Oasis School, aka GOS. My school does not seem to be too interested in the Chinese government’s plans to abolish Christmas. (As students of English History will know well, scrapping the festive season has been tried before, of course, after King Charles lost his head, the UK had a Republican government and Christmas was abolished by Act of Parliament.)
Not the Yellow Brick Road

Sign in
Each morning, “signing in” takes the form of standing in front of a video camera that eventually recognizes me and says my name. Up the stairs, open the classroom door, switch on the computer, read e-mails and messages. Yes, auto pilot is switched on at this stage, but eventually I wake up when Miss Yanee arrives and I have to start thinking about my lessons for the day.

Christmas in the Middle Kingdom
The students in my class, 5G, start to arrive at about 8.10. There are 23 of them and they are adorable. Chinese children are sweet, polite and hard-working – most of the time. Well, they are not angels and it just before the Christmas holiday, so yes, they do get a bit excited and silly. Fortunately, today is Friday, so that means assembly for the first lesson, followed by Mandarin and then break-time. After break, there are no serious lessons, as we break up for the holiday this afternoon, so we watch the classic Christmassy BBC series, The Box of Delights. But after school I have something less delightful - a trip to the bank, to pay the rent for our apartment. It only takes an hour, for once, but hey, the holidays have started!

Where's my copy of "War and Peace"?


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