So since my last hormone infused entry, things have become a little clearer. Basically, the problem was that Heilongjiang (province) wanted a TEFL awarded in the UK rather than in China. China is a moving target in the sense that schedules, plans, rules and regulations can change at a moments notice, and you’re expected to go with it. I guess after 3,000 – 5,000ish years of political history, the Chinese are used to this by now.

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In this way I’m reminded of a secular parable from my youth – where a big grand oak tree, old as time, and a spritely young willow tree, grow side by side in perfect harmony. Harmony, that is, until a big old storm comes along and whips up fury. Rain lashes down and gales streaks through the plane, unrelenting for days. On the fifth day, the sun rises at dawn in the clear blue sky, dries up all the rain and surveys the damage. The grand old oak tree has taken a right battering, its remains strewn all around in piles of trunks, leaves and devastation. Birds nests are crushed, the birds have flown but the eggs add to the debris. Meanwhile, the young sappy willow tree was nice and flexible, bending this way and that throughout the storm, taking everything Mother Nature had to throw at it as a challenge rather than another blow towards death. On the fifth day, it stood proud as punch, waiting to collect its prize of sure and everlasting life from the sun. I think this story was told to demonstrate to us young things the importance of flexibility, rather than as a comment on the destroying of traditional morality, or an attack on the elderly and infirm and an NHS bowing under the pressure of an aging population or anything like that.

Anyway, the willow that I was taught to be, I’ve indulged China and their crazy last-minute rule changes, and I’m now doing a UK accredited TEFL course. I won’t be going to Beijing in 2 weeks, but I don’t mind that so much because 1.) after so much panic, I didn’t feel prepared to go so soon, 2.) I’ve had no interest in my car (even with my protestations that it has ‘CHEAP INSURANCE AND TAX’ – I’m desperate), and 3.) the people going on the Beijing training camp seem a little like the crazy/amateur dramatic/debate team kids I couldn’t quite get on board with in uni. I’ll be going straight to the University I’m teaching at, in September some time. That’s as far as we are at the moment!

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