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Mr. Mark Eastman

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Travel Plans [May. 10th, 2006|04:16 pm]
Mr. Mark Eastman
(First, a note to the boys. I have to go down to Manchester on Saturday to pick up my visa, but I should be back in time for pre-drink drinks at Wetherspoons like we arranged. Nothing gets between "The Legend" and his beer!)

Just over a week to go before Leeds is deprived of the Eastman's presence and he graces Chinese soil! I've got SOOO much to do: have my Japanese encephalitis shots (missed one appointment already), a few bank problems, cancelling my mobile phone. I telephoned Orange to try and cancel my phone contract and it was probably one of the most difficult things I've ever tried to do. Thankfully, I don't plan to get a mobile in China so I won't have to deal with the damned things anymore.

I saw Mum last night before she flew off to Portugal with Jeff, it would have been nice for the whole family to see me off at the airport but getting Mum to do anything these days with the family is impossible. What the hell is so special about Portugal? Just because Jeff owns a villa there he thinks he's suddenly some great explorer searching out exotic cultures, when he spends most of his time hanging out with the other British ex-pats at the club. Dad has told me to be careful about falling into this trap and to learn as much as I can whilst I'm a guest abroad. I remember when we used to go on holiday to Tenerife as kids: Dad would check out all these really cool local hideaways whilst Mum just wanted to lounge around by the pool sipping cocktails. Well, I think I know who learnt more!!

I've been getting a bit worried about how little 3000 Renminbi (or yuan or kuai as it is sometimes known) is now that I've worked it out - only 200 quid!! There goes my hopes of sending any money back, but Kim's uncle who works in the Dragon City has been to China and told me 3000 Renminbi is more than enough to be comfortable with... and even enough for some travelling!! This is something I definitely want to do. I'm only teaching 2 and a half days a week so hopefully I'll have time to see all of the major sites in China.

Well, enough for one day, only three more days at the Skipton Fascist Building Society to go!
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First Contact! [May. 9th, 2006|01:52 pm]
Mr. Mark Eastman
It's finally happened! I've finally had my first contact with my new school in China!

I was just getting ready to go to my mindnumbingly boring data processing job at the Skipton Building Society (I hope for the sake of all Chinese people that this kind of thing doesn't catch on over there. I hate all the boring retards who work there and none of them understand anything about the importance of China) when all of a sudden the phone rang... who could it be?

Or rather "Hu" could it be, because it was none other than my new boss-of-sorts: Mr. Hu! Mr. Hu is in charge of foreign affairs at the No. 4 Huaishi Junior Middle School, or a "waiban" as it is called (literally, "outside affairs") and is my first contact for information and contact with the school. We had a good old chat on the phone and I'm even more excited about going to China than ever now (if that's possible!!)!

Well, I'm going to be teaching 2 and a half days a week at the school, which gives me loads of time to study all the things I'm going to learn. My Chinese is pretty OK due to the month-long course I did at Beijing Laguage and Culture University before, and I hope to be completely fluent by the end of the year. On top of that, I also aim to learn as much as I can about Taiji (known as Tai-chi in English), Gong Fu (known as Kung Fu in English), Ma Jiang (known as Mah-johngg in English) and all the other great things about Chinese culture.
I've even made a friend already!!! I wanted to get in touch with the foreign teacher I'll be replacing, but apparently he doesn't have a contact number. Instead, Mr. Hu has promised to introduce me to his son Lincoln who is more or less the same age as me, and suggested that I teach him English in exchange for Chinese. Sounds like a good deal to me!! Mr. Hu has already given Lincoln the phone number of my new apartment in Huaishi so I'll be able to meet him as soon as I arrive.

Everything about the job sounds great. I'll get my own apartment (complete with security guard - wow, the honour!) and a monthly wage of 3000 Renminbi ("People's Currency" the national currency of China - I like the idea that in China money belongs to the people). I'm not sure how much that is in pounds, I'll have to check later, but it sounds a lot. Hopefully, I'll even be able to save a little every month and keep paying off my student loans. What I really like about Mr. Hu and the new job is that there is no need for excessive paperwork and contracts, I'm just gonna arrive in China on a tourist visa and the school will sort everything out. I asked Mr. Hu if I would need to sign a contract beforehand and he said there was no need and that we can trust each other. He even called me a new friend of China!!
I like the Chinese way of doing business so much more than the Western method. Here in the UK we have so little trust for our fellow man that we demand tons of paperwork so we can sue somebody at the drop of a hat. In China, however, there is still that sense of trust and the honour of a person's word which we in the West lost a long time ago.

Well, better get my head down if I'm to survive another dull day at the office tomorrow. Only four more days before they can kiss my arse goodbye forever. Can't wait!
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China Rising (and the Eastman is too)! [May. 7th, 2006|09:40 pm]
Mr. Mark Eastman
Ten days to go and Mark "the legend" Eastman will finally be fulfilling the dream of a lifetime and heading off to the most exciting and fastest developing country in the world right now.... no, not Ireland.... China!

My friends all think I'm crazy for just packing up and deciding to move to the Far East - but they're forgetting they're talking to the man who did three bungee jumps in a row at the Leeds Festival last year! And that was after seventeen pints of "shandy"! Bazza, Dave, Monkey - when you're reading this in six weeks time and hearing about all the crazy adventures I'll be having in China, don't get jealous because you're all stuck in an office job back in Britain. Carpe Diem: Get out there and live life!

But seriously, when I was sat round the dinner table yesterday with my elder brother's middle class (middle of the road) friends, I realised that there is more to life than saving up for a mortgage and buying that new sports car. The things that are happening in China now are amazing: from what I read in my Dorling Kindersley book, the people of China have stood up and are grasping their destiny. I've always felt that Western media has been biased against the older, wiser, Asian civilisations, and I've always felt that there is something lacking in our materialistic Western lifestyles. China gave us Confucius, Buddha, and Mao: three great thinkers who changed the world.

All around me I can see the rise of China, and I want to be a part of that rise and see a fifth of the world's population making their dreams a reality. Most importantly, I hope that this blog will open up people's eyes to the TRUTH about China, and really contribute to friendship between the East and the West. After all, that's what an Eastman should do!!!

So that's my first entry of many. Signing off to next time... or should I say: ZAIJIAN! (That's putonghua (Mandarin Chinese) for goodbye!) Free Chinese lessons already!!!!! You're welcome.
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