The school extended the winter holiday without bothering to tell me until I called two days before classes were supposed to begin and I found out that I could have spent another week in the US. I spent a few weeks in March and April tutoring a girl who planned to go to study in Ireland. I am always confused about why students wait till just a month or two the exam/leaving for a foreign country to begin studying and expect dramatic results. (Just in the last month I've had three students want to study for their remaining 10-20 days before leaving for various countries where they will be educated in English!) She didn't pass her English exam so I don't think she made it to Ireland.
Nothing much happened in April. Well there was the Tomb Sweeping Festival but since we don't celebrate it, the only impression I have of it is that it messed up our work schedules for a week. Gotta love the holiday schedules here.
Oh, our house buying saga began when our neighbor (there are three houses on each floor, we are in on the west side, this neighbor is the one in the middle house) decided they would sell their house and offered it to us for 200,000. We wanted it so that we could take out a wall and have a larger house. Their asking price was pretty high considering the house is about ten years old and so many new houses are being built for just a little more than that. We got them down to 190.000 and later the wife said she'd ask her husband if she could accept 180,000. (She was the one in charge of selling the house it seems.) She later came back and told us that her friends told her she should charge 220-230,000 for the house. Santiago told her to forget it.
A few months later they moved out and workers came in to renovate it. My father-in-law met the new owner one day and found out that they'd paid 220,000 for it. So now we have new neighbors. A young couple, not sure if they are married or not, not friendly and they can be quite noisy when their friends come over (and recently they've been fighting, a lot. So much that one night I was up til midnight cause it was that bad!). The other family had a 14 year old and the husband was only home once or twice a year, so it was pretty quiet, except for the girls daily piano practice session.
Santiago and I had five days off due to International Labor Day, the third longest vacation of the year. Tour agencys put together various outings and we considered going on the one to the Beijing Zoo, but but we decided not to since there is little flexibility with a group and if we were to go on our own it would be super crowded because everyone travels.
About a week after the holiday we went up to the zoo for the day. We took the train up with the stroller, only to find that they do rent strollers at the zoo, but upon seeing babies with uncovered bottoms being taken out of them and thier less than sanitary washing process, all the hassle of taking the stroller seemed worth it. Nathaniel was a little more impressed with the zoo than on our previous trip there last November. Even though there were many other foreigners there he got tons of attention. There is a Dairy Queen nearby so we had blizzards too! That was quite possibly my favorite part of the day :)