Crazy Changes in the Land of Tanya

Hi everyone!

If you’re not planning to read this, you might want to skip to the last paragraph for some biggish news. (If you’re new to my odd little updates, what with having moved half way across the world to a city so transient that half my friends leave every year, I find it hard to keep track of everyone. And since I LOVE keeping in touch with people, I send these email every now and then with some stories and photos and all that jazz. I’m not offended when people don’t read them, and I’m not offended when people decide they want to stop getting them. And I LOVE hearing what you’re all up to all over the world too!)

So I’ve been singing three nights a week this month. It took me a while but I’ve found a rhythm and it’s pretty easy work. It’s me and an Armenian guy who plays keys and sings. I do a song then he does a song and so on until we’ve filled 45 minutes. Then we xiu xi for half an hour and do it again. I eat dinner there, usually after we finish at 9pm, but sometimes before if I can make it there early. It’s a long trip down, especially in peak hour! But all told I’ve been enjoying it. I’m basically getting paid to practise performing. It’s meant that Sunday is my only night off all week, but I’ve got a few free mornings so that helps keep the sanity :)

Random things from the singing job:

  • finding caviar in my egg salad on occasion (I found it bizarre for some reason)
  • enjoying the wonder of second hand smoke while struggling with a nasty cold
  • chatting with a waitress about my long hair while two others came up from behind to touch it
  • a couple of guests sending a series of staff people to ask for my number… (they didn’t get it)
  • two kids jumping up on the little dais and making Jean crazy

I’m teaching a few singing lessons, which is fun, and I’m doing a little relief teaching at the moment too! I’m teaching four days at the Christian International school a bunch of my friends teach at. I had my first day yesterday, and I’ll do three more in the week after the holiday. I’m not very experienced at classroom teaching so it was a little weird, but the kids are GREAT and it’s a real privilege, so it’s pretty cool.

Time for a random China moment story: Last week I took a cab to my singing job cos I was sick (too tired for the bus!) and a few hundred metres from my house, the driver basically asked me if I minded if we stopped by the side of the road quickly so he could take a leak. I didn’t totally understand what he was saying he wanted to stop for cos I was reading and had my headphones on so I asked how long it would take (oops!!) but anyway we pulled off the highway by a short wall and were soon on our way again. I think that’s enough said.

Back to me! Now you all know that the main thing I’m doing here in Beijing is youth work with expat teens. That’s always fun and exciting! We’re gearing up for Fall Camp (7 weeks to go!!) and we’ve also split the regular weekly group into middle school (year 6-8) and high school (year 9-12) which is great, but there’s a few not-so-great scheduling issues we’re trying to fix as soon as possible.

Oh! I have another random story! This one isn’t mine, cos I wasn’t there – but my friend was. There was a huge traffic jam on the airport expressway. Now, traffic in Beijing is horrific at time, but the airport expressway doesn’t just come to a standstill. Anyway, when they got to the source of the traffic mess, they saw there had been a head-on collision. That’s bad enough. But if you know Beijing, you know that the airport expressway is a dual carriageway, and there is no way to cross over the divide, so the road is one-way. Apparently a taxi driver missed an exit, so turned around (on the ONE WAY ROAD) and drove down the shoulder toward the exit he missed. At the same time a minivan decided to overtake a line of cars by driving down, of course, the shoulder. The funny thing is that I find this driving behaviour just about normal…

And now for the biggest crazy change that’s happening in my life… we’ve just started the week-long National Day holiday here in China, and when it’s over, I’ll be working full time at BICF again. (BICF’s the international church here that I go to/do youth work at). Being back on a full salary means I’ll be able to pay back my debts and start saving again, which is nice. And as for what I’ll be doing… well… I’ll be taking on the leadership of the youth ministry temporarily. I’m not sure how long it’s going to be for, but several months at least. It’s going to mean some changes, and it’s a very different role for me… but since I’m already spending over 20 hours a week with the kids or doing other youth related stuff, I guess it’s not a huge leap. I feel very strongly that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. Running something this big is a bit intimidating, but it’s going to be a great season in my life, I’m sure :)

Anyway, now you know what’s going on in my world. Let me know what you’re up to!

love Tanya

A recent pretty sunset - Beijing style

A recent pretty sunset – Beijing style


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