So, some things are finally changing around my site. As you may have noticed, I’ve worked out a different colour scheme. Now before I get loads of e-mails crying, “But Ryan! I like green…”, I’ve done this because I want a bit more coherency between my blog and my actual site.

The site itself is a long way from being finished, as I’ve started the somewhat time consuming task of transfering all my LiveJournal entries from my 2003/2004 trip over to the current format, which I think we can all agree is much prettier – and resides on my server, so is much more protected from being wiped out.

What I’d love for any readers of this site to do is send me an e-mail (or post a comment) and tell me any ideas you might have to making this a more interesting site. I guess in principle a blog is pretty self-serving, but I would like to attempt to make it useful in some way and a little perspective from outside sources is exactly what I need to make that happen.

Something else I think I’ve yet to do on here is post my mailing address – so… should anyone wish to send me anything via post – here ya go:
Ryan McLaughlin
Future English School
14-42-11 Yong Zheng St.
Jinzhou District, Dalian
Liaoning, China

Yesterday I took part in one of the most un-Chinese things I’ve done since I got here. I went bowling. I got a call the day before from Vanessa asking if I wanted to accompany them to a bowling lane they had previously visited on the bottom floor of the Victory Shopping Centre. So, Alan, Vanessa, their location manager David, and myself played two games. I was a bit rusty, but it really did feel like we had stepped outside of China for two hours – something I’m discovering you really need to do every once and a while.

Well, Sarah’s confirmed that she is in fact safely back on the maple syrup-enriched soil of our Motherland, and as such has sent me scans of her photos, which reminded me that I, in fact, have some as well. So here they are:

[1] Myself and my Chinese Teacher, Matthew Hao @ lunch Sarah’s first day. [2] Sarah and I at a local hotpot restaurant – I swear, I’m not stoned. It’s just what Sichuan cooking does to me.

[1] Sarah catching me in mid-sentence during my C2 class. [2] My C10 class explaining the movie they’ve created, sort of Home Alone meets Greek tragedy.

Sarah, Serena’s classmate, myself and Serena during our visit to Liaoning Normal University.

Two shots of Sarah in the Jinzhou Man-Made Lake Park – catchy name eh?

[1] Sarah on the coast in Kaifaqu. [2] The camel at the Jinzhou “zoo” just before he sat down and tried to spit at us.

About a week ago I noticed someone had put a plant in one of the windows in the stairwell of my apartment building. The plant is just like the one that Annie brought for me when I first came to China. Sadly the less-than-tropical temperature of my apartment for the past few months has done nothing good for its health. I’ve slowly nursed it to an almost living state, but I was happy to note yesterday that the one in the stairwell that was flurishing last week is now nearly dead. I mean, sad for the plant… but it means my thumb is not as un-green as I was beginning to suspect.

A great thing about my apartment is previous roommates have loaded it up with plants, so I get to practice taking care of things. I’m trying my best to get this little try to do something, as it currently looks like a potted stick.

Oh, on a final note. I started my new adult class at Shide last night. Shide is a huge company here in Dalian, and I’m being intrusted with the English language skills of its top brass. I was nervous to say the least.

After a brief introduction in a board room by the company’s VP, we split the group into two, Emma taking one and myself taking the other. I’ve got the higher language level class, which suits me fine as they’re always good fun. It’s a bit weird teaching in a board room, but I’m certainly not complaing about use of a white board – I’ve begun to loath chalk.

The other surprise was that Emma was civil. I’m still not certain of the status of the keys she has to my apartment, and so I’m a bit on edge about that as I get really creeped out about the idea of someone being in my apartment when I’m not there – especially someone who’s been a bit liberal in the property rights department.

Oh, Sarah, thanks for bringing that Thai soup – cooked it up last night and remembered what non-Chinese food tastes like. Also remembered that selling all my worldly possessions, and finding a beach hut on a Thai island is still on my list of things to accomplish.

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