First of all, I want to say that my photos, such as they are, have been updated at: community.webshots.com/user/michab3. If you are interested, take a look.
The last week has been remarkably uneventful. At the beginning of the week, we had a meeting to tell us a few "important" things. The first was that there were a lot of students not coming to class and leaving Lhasa without telling the office. In the beginning class, there is now only a single student, and will be until the end of July--poor girl. My own class has had the best attendance, with 75% (3 out of 4) almost every single day. A couple of days there have only been two of us, but that is rare. The intermediate class has the worst attendance. Most of the students are still here (which is not the case with the beginners) but they choose not to come. They are, in fact, missing a teacher, which the office has refused to replace, so they are paying for a class they aren't taking because there is no instructor. An example of the Chinese system. I learned last night that my class, and the other pre-intermediate class will be losing a teacher before the end of the semester, because she is taking a summer English course at the University of Oslo in Norway. My guess is that we won't receive a replacement either.
The second topic, people leaving and not telling the office, was of particular importance. We each have a small blue book which we must give to the office whenever we leave Lhasa so they can record where we go and when we leave and return. However, for weekend trips, none of us have ever bothered about it. This time, though, a couple of students went to Xining, a city far from Lhasa---wait, everything is far from Lhasa... Anyway, they went and didn't tell the office, and were gone for over a week. They got their panties in a twist because if "anything happens, we don't know and can't help." Also, if a student does something inappropriate, the university is responsible and someone would undoubtedly get in trouble. Of course, they also report where we go to the PSB, Public Security Bureau. That way, the government can also keep track of where we go. Nice, huh?
The third topic had to do with a thief in the building. Two people had things stolen from their rooms, without damage to the door. This meant one of two things. Either, someone had the key, meaning the reception staff, or someone went in through a kitchen window, meaning a child or very small person. Apparently, the office ruled out the possibility of someone from the staff. That is "impossible". After all, they have worked here so long, and are trusted. (Personally, I don't trust them that much. They are sneaky, lazy, and sometimes one has been completely insane.) It never occurred to them that it might be the child of the maintenance man and his little friend. They were stealing things from people all winter because they were running around here completely unsupervised. Instead, it had to be someone's friend or language partner doing the stealing. It seems a bit farfetched to me that it wouldn't be someone with a key.
That was the gist of the meeting.
What else? There was something I was going to write about... I'll think of it eventually.
So, the official last day of class is July 20th. Looking forward to that. I have to say though, that life is pretty easy here. The last couple of weeks, friends and I have spent almost every afternoon drinking tea and hanging out. There are a lot of really attractive guys out and about now. The eye candy is nice.
All right. I'm just kinda babbling now. I'll write again soon.