June – 8 Short Stories

There were no over-riding themes in June. Just more busyness, activities and a realisation that my time in China was coming to an end.

I had a kimbab making lesson. Kimbab is the Korean equivalent of sushi but with meat and rice substituted for seafood. Excellent for the person with a seafood allergy. Read about a recipe here.

2008_06_29 Kimbab Making 01

The Firm asks me to read the ethics manual again as a condition of my third revised contract. I’m still grateful that they allowed me to defer my start for 2 years. But the time is coming where I must wear a suit + bad shirt instead of jeans + bad shirt.

A party was organised for the British expats in Tianjin. There would be the usual fare of tea, cake, singing the national anthem and discussing the weather. However, I got caught up in the China vs. Qatar World Cup qualifier game. I had to walk the last half mile. I made the most of the situation by buying a red souvenir T-shirt which read: "China Wins!" China lost the game 1-0.

I needed to buy a water bottle desperately and one for 18 RMB. I bargained down to 16RMB but the seller refused to go any lower. So I walked away. I spend the next week in persistent need of a water bottle. I return to the same shop and buy it for the original price of 18 RMB. My students tell me that I got a terrible deal. The other teachers tell me that the Korean characters written on the bottle are nonsense. I still use the water bottle.

I scratch the site of a van while riding my bike. I end up handing over 100RMB to placate the driver. I can’t afford to buy any more water bottles for the rest of the year.

fuse The flat continues to have electrical problems as the fuse can only support 2 out of the following devices out at any one time:

  1. Washing machine
  2. Air-conditioning
  3. Water heater for the shower
  4. Microwave

The fuse wire blows and I fix it using a pair of chopsticks. My health insurance is invalidated.

I make another trip to "Computer Street" to buy 5 hard drives. Computer Street is a geeks dream. There are hundreds of shops selling any kind of gadget and computer equipment. The shops range from clean glass displays to dark slime pits. I wonder how these places make any profit – it turns out that they are more solvent than the average Western bank.

There is a wedding in the park. Beautiful and touching.

2008_06_14 Beth and Jeremiah's Wedding_015

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