But every afternoon, for hours on end, some mediocre but fanatically dedicated piano students practice their scales, and there is a flying school nearby and small planes fly overhead frequently. But I'd call it an improvement over the soundscape downtown.
The weather has cooled off and in fact is very pleasant -- great for our bicycle rides. Ross finds that even long bike rides don't bother his knee, whereas walking quickly becomes painful.
I am teaching the same students that I taught last year I teach listening and oral English and I'm also giving classes on speaking and presentations. I can't speak for other institutions, but at my school, I am free to add to the curriculum, stray off the textbook and generally do as I please in my class. They just ask that I don't become one of those lazy ESL teachers that plays movies and episodes of "Friends" in every class.
An interesting quirk of the Chinese calendar is that we had a four day holiday about a week after school started, because that's when the Mid-Autumn Festival occurred. The full moon symbolizes harmony and family togetherness. People give each other gifts of moon cake, a sweet pastry that can be filled with a wide variety of fillings, including nuts and fruits. And after just three weeks of teaching, we get the first week of October off -- October 1st marks the anniversary of the Communist Party's triumph over the Nationalists. While North Americans have statutory holidays but make their own arrangements for their private holiday time with their employers -- the government intervenes only to mandate that employees receive paid holidays every year. In China, the government decrees that everyone (but surely not everyone in the service and transportation industries?) takes a time off in October and February. This, predictably, creates chaos at all tourist attractions, airports, train and bus stations. We have been advised to just stay home and not try to travel. Why the government feels they must decide when people take their holiday is a mystery to me, but in China we're just fifty years away from the notion that everybody had to dress the same.
So we'll soon enjoy a week of exploring the local area, reading, puttering and catching up with the blog. Add to all that the fact that my classes are all scheduled for the morning and I am free, or at least unscheduled, every afternoon. It's not such a tough life!