'Looking busy' in the office.
A lot has happened in our working lives the last few days. After several years of negotiating with the College to have a Teaching Development Centre, we have finally been given an office on the ground floor - in the heart of College affairs. This morning alone saw at least four new visitors step over the threshold - technicians, teachers, administrators, leaders. It's becoming a hub of activity. Yesterday I spotted our Director of Foreign Affairs, Chen Yong, approaching the office. "Look busy!" I said to Tina, although we were in fact beavering away. Tina laughed, reminding me that people rarely look busy. When I arrived in the Education Bureau in Jingdong Mr He was usually checking his stocks and shares while the others smoked and chatted. The feeling that we 'should' be busy, whether we are or aren't, alone represents a particular work ethic.

As well as being invited to stock up with whatever resources we need, technicians arrived this morning to set us up with internet access [above photo]. The thickness of the walls prevented them from drilling through an extension from the neighbouring office. Instead, we have a cable coming in through the window, which now only just closes. Luckily the barred window will prevent an intruder getting in.

There is also good news on the creative front. I have been offered VSO funding to produce the book I have written about our month in Jingdong. We are currently in the process of proof-reading and formatting. We have employed a Grade 2 art student to design the cover and improve the lay-out. Although I'm nervous about making my ideas and experiences public, it is a good opportunity to let people know more about this work and life in China.

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