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Thursday, March 27, 2008

World Cup Football Qualifier

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For months everyone that likes football was eagerly anticipating the upcoming world cup qualifier between China and Australia played here in Kunming. Kunming was probably chosen by the Chinese because of its altitude and they were hoping the Aussies wouldn't be well prepared for these circumstances. Shos and I did not really plan on going, but last Wednesday after class everyone was talking about going to the game... so we decided to go as well and I am glad we did! It was great!!!

The game sucked, but who cares... we were dressed up as fans of "the Socceroos" and on our way to get some tickets on the black market. Getting tickets was very simple because the game wasn't sold out at all. We met up with some other "foreigners" (who all decided to cheer for China...) and had a blast. But I think that the pictures below will tell the story. I have to say that all supporters were awesome, both Chinese and Aussies. No problems at all and of course all Chinese wanted their photo taken with an Aussie and vice versa :-)

And we also got a small preview of what can be expected at the (for China extremely important) Olympics. After the game you could see two things: supporters and military... probably more military than supporters. The cool thing was that they acted like the British guards: they cannot show emotions or react to your provocations. And of course we had to test it! They all passed, except for one that had to "smile" when Marc was pulling strange faces and saying retarded things in Chinese.

And finally a picture that is high in my list of all time favorites: Dressed up as football supporters making fun of the Chinese guards together with this great old Chinese guy all doing the "V-sign"!!!
No more for this week.
De groeten,

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring is in the air!!!

Sun, tea-houses and Cui Hu :-)

Kunming finally decided to honour its name: City of Eternal Spring! The entire week it has been sunny and warm. So no more shivering at home and no more winter jackets. The best thing about this weather is that after class you can go to Green Lake park, find a spot on one of the terraces of the tea-houses and enjoy the sun and an unlimited 8 RMB cup of tea while studying some Chinese. At moments like that life is sooo good!!!
And the Yunda campus looks beautiful now that all the trees and plants begin to blossom!

Besides enjoying the sun, teaching business negotiation and finance, and studying Chinese Shos and I also started going to the gym again on a regular basis. We found a really nice place very close to where we live. Hopefully the results of our efforts will be visible soon ;-) Shos also applied to another school and with a little bit of luck we will know soon whether she gets accepted, but we are very positive about it.
As soon as we know more I'll let you know too!

That's all for now. Talk to you soon!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The future...

Chinese classes, rejections and applications...

Last weekend wasn't one of wonderful news for Shos: both Princeton and Berkeley turned down her application. This kind of puts a cross through our US plans. Both no worries, there still are a couple of schools in the Netherlands she can apply to.

The one "good" thing about it is that it is now almost certain that we'll be coming to Holland in the summer. It also implies that I have to start looking for a job. So at the moment I am surfing the Internet looking especially for Management Traineeships. I think it would be a great way to start my career. A one to three year intensive program in which your skills are further developed with the goal to become part of that company's higher general management. For me the most important question is which companies to apply to...

Since a new semester started at Yunda there are also a whole bunch of new people and I hang out with a couple of them regularly: Eric from Belgium and Miriam from Germany. And since the weather is finally what it is supposed to be (nice and warm) we can enjoy good moments on terraces and on the grass :-)
And besides doing job research and hanging out at terraces I am also busy with studying Chinese. And it is quite fun to do. Writing and reading gets better, but pronouncing the words correctly remains oh so difficult! Even simply putting the right tones on words is still an arduous task for me. But I will persevere and get my brain to recognize the tones and also pronounce them.

Now on with the job hunt and studying Chinese characters!!!
Ruud Batta

Monday, March 03, 2008

Oh China......

Some things are great but others are just so hard to get used to...

Last week we had dinner with Collin in a little Thai restaurant on Wen Hua Xiang (the little alley near the Yunda Binguan). Everything was great until I was halfway through my dish and discovered an ugly, fat maggot in my dish :-( Pointed it out to the waitress and no problem I got a new dish... Not that it never happens in Western restaurants, but judging by the waitress' reaction this seems to happen quite regularly. Bleeegh!!!

I also started working again. My work week is like this: 7x45 minutes on Tuesday and 2x45 minutes on odd week Thursdays. Not too shabby ehh :-) For the first 4 hours on Tuesday I have the same students as last semester which is nice since I know what their strengths and weaknesses are (and they know mine...). But the last three hours I have another, new class to teach: Cases in International Business. I was very much looking forward to doing this course although it is an elective and supposedly I would only have 10 students. But a small group lends itself very well to interactive and intensive working together. But last Tuesday there where exactly three students present in this class... Students can come and leave this class as they please for the first three weeks of the semester and only then have to decide whether to take my class or not. I would love 10 students, but three... But nonetheless I am sure it will once again be a great semester.

Besides teaching I am also going to take Chinese classes starting this Monday. Hopefully I can get myself to sitting in class and listening to a teacher every morning. Never have been very good at that (and thank God Maastricht University existed when I had to pick a university!!!). But I am looking forward to it.

Then something totally different. I never knew that Chinese like self-mockery, but in Shanghai we got a great example of it. I don't know what the guy is trying to prove, but I would NOT put my face/body on a huge billboard in the centre of any city with that text next to me at that particular spot... mistake or self-knowledge?? :-) Since we got back to Kunming Shos and I both have a hard time getting used to the horrible traffic here. i am not talking about traffic jams and impossibilities to get anywhere like in Bangkok, but just the total incapability of Kunming people to drive, bike or walk. You don't wait on the sidewalk to cross a street but stand on the street approx. 1.5m away from the sidewalk. Cars can always turn right (even when the light is red) and that is exactly what they do even when that means (nearly) running over pedestrians or bicycles.

Besides that they love to honk!!! Even when there is no reason at all, they still lean on their horn like their lives depend on it. And this still goes on even now the government put in place a rule that forbids unnecessary use of the horn. It drives us nuts and sometimes almost causes accident instead of preventing them. Imagine cycling on a deserted road in a straight line. All of a sudden a big bus approaches you from behind (no other traffic in sight) and that bus thinks it is necessary to honk right before it passes you. Well i can tell you, it scares the hell out of you. A bus horn is loud, very loud and the only effect on me is that I scare and almost yank my steering wheel to either side causing me to land in the ditch or get run over by the bus... Sooo annoying!!!

But well, besides that I really don't have anything to complain about. We're living a good life over here. At this point we're both a little nervous because we're waiting for the results of Shos' application to grad school. But soon we'll know :-)

Tot snel dan maar weer lieve kijkbuiskinderen!
Meneer De Uil a.k.a Ruudje