Busy as a Bee:

It seems to be a recurring theme in my life to be overly busy. This last week was no different and actually took things to a new level.

It started out with the renegotiation of my contract at work, which went well enough. Then I got the phone call about Jiangsu Provincial TV, which simply blew my mind. Just as I was finishing off the negotiations with them, a friend who was going out of town called to ask if I would be willing to cover some of his classes. It was just one student, preparing for a college entrance interview, how much time would it really take? So, I agreed.

Well after meeting the student and his mother for his first two hours lesson I was immediately asked if I would be able to teach a three hour lesson the next day. In fact, would I be willing to do three hours every day for the next week (which would take him right up to his interview date)? Now, I don’t want to sound like I am complaining. Classes like this demand a lot of attention to detail but over all they are conversational and pay exceptionally well. I also knew what I was getting myself into so there really is nothing for me to be upset about. That being said, I would now be juggling my own classes at university, rehearsal and recording time with the TV station and class time with Denis (not to mention time with my family).

So for the next 7 days Denis and I discusses current events and world news from as many different news agencies as we could dig up. We talk about everything from the Ukrainian uprising to the protests and riots in Thailand. We had in depth talks about the finical crisis and its effect of the EU, how and why Detroit went bankrupt, the fight for women’s rights in India and Sino-American relations. The goal was for Denis to be able to talk about pretty much any current world event and how it related to other countries or would affect society as a whole. For his part Denis poured over news articles, reading the Economist, BBC News, CNN, and local Chinese news agencies. He was driven to say the least. I began to respond to all my emails via iPad on the metro (because it was the only time I could), stayed up late to finish off homework and ate meals at very odd times.

On Saturday last week (while I was pulling over time in the office), he stood before the admissions interview committee and was asked to discuss one news article (chosen at random). He drew from the pile an article about Sino-US relations, was give thirty minutes to read over it and prepare and then went into his interview. I did not go with him to Beijing but had asked him to send me a message as soon as he could to let me know how he did.

At 4:58 pm Beijing time I got a message that read, “an article about a speech given by the former US ambassador to China. I talk about US-China relations, human rights, ethics and religious problems and well… everything I know. Not bad I think.”

He not only fulfilled to full 10 minutes given for the speech but also was able to discuss and answer questions for a further 10 minutes. Of course we will have to wait to hear back from the admissions board but I am really proud of him. I have never seen a student so driven and determined to reach a goal. If he is accepted he will be going to France in the summer to settle into his new campus and begin a 5 year joint bachelor-master’s program in English and French, studying international relation and economic development. Congratulations and good luck!

Let’s hope this week is a little less stressful for both of us!



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