I truly wish at times there was a tablet that you could take instead of having to even think about food.  Having recovered from whatever it was that made me so ill over the weekend, I’ve been very careful about what I eat.  The food in the staff canteen is totally hit or miss – it’s always a massive pile of rice and then three different lots of vegetables – some of which are fantastically good, others of which I can’t eat get one mouthful down.  The girls in the canteen now know that I won’t eat tofu or spicy food and they’re usually pretty good at giving me a random choice of food. 

Having stocked up on fruit locally and having finished my classes by 11.40 today, I decided to venture – again – to the supermarket, another one this time.  I got what I really wanted (tea – truly how difficult can it be to get tea in China – trust me in Jingbian almost impossible!) which was coffee and a measuring jug for my soup (it’s very very difficult to measure out half a pint in a saucepan!) and I did a proper trawl of the meat and fridge and freezer area.  Nothing I could even attempt to eat (and trust me I’m not fussy, remember I ate a pig’s ear!) but nothing that looked remotely like cheese, no yogurts, huge big slabs of meat that I’ve no idea what the hell they were, and in the (very) limited freezer area bags of unidentified dumplings and for some reason lots of ice cream.

So I’ve decided to just stick with my veg and fruit diet for the moment, with any meat that I get in the canteen an added bonus.  However, a find today was a bread shop – yes a bread and cake shop 🙂  It sells what looks like seeded sliced bread, and malted loaf sort of stuff, together with – obviously – cakes.  The cakes look fairly sickly, but I did buy a sort of sponge thing with sultanas in which was really nice, and a pastry thing with pineapples on it.  So, if I work in my fruit and veg together with bread and jam and maybe my meat pitta thing I can buy from a local shop, I should be ok.  What the Chinese call “convenient” noodles are everywhere (basically supernoodles!) but I’ll only eat them as a desperate measure.

It’s always an adventure when I go shopping….taxi there – great, taxi back, there was a guy in the back.  As you do, they start talking, you explain teacher from Scotland, and then the guy in the back asks me if I speak Spanish…..err what???  So I’ve met quite possibly the only Chinese-Spanish speaker in Jingbian – as you do……..

Classes this week are a dream…….and I hate saying that, but I’m teaching the higher level classes and it’s wonderful to be able to work through my lesson plan on food with the students all interacting.  Some things really do get lost in translation – the students had no idea what crisps were (in my break I had to run back to the apartment to check to see what they were called! – potato chips!) and had never heard of Hershey chocolate, despite the fact I bought some in Xi’an.  I’m also no entirely sure that sushi is the same in China as it is in the UK, apparently however according to one student I can buy it at the police station!!

In the randomness that is China, the English-speaking competition was cancelled yesterday (no idea why) and rescheduled until Saturday (no idea what time) and I spent two hours on a fantastic powerpoint presentation on the theme of the movie Around the World in 80 Days (Jackie Chain, 1994!) for English Corner onto to pitch up at 6pm and realise that with the change in the school’s timetable the only people who had remember that the time should be changed was…..the students!  Neither me nor any of the Chinese English teachers had thought of this. 

So the students got a nice extra free period they didn’t expect!