Time has been rather uneven over the last month, with the hi(gh)s and byes of my whirlwind trip to the Philippines and then being brought down my a throat infection whose stay has already exceeded ten days.
At its worse, the infection, which started out as a cluster of nasty ulcers, stopped me from speaking altogether, but fortunately my colleagues ably covered for me. Yesterday, after days of thinking it was getting better, I slipped into a fever. I only realised it was a fever for the unexplainable nausea that slowly enveloped me while I was calling home. My third trip to the doctor gave me another experience with a doctor scoffing at the previous medical advice I'd received: "What? They gave you solely Chinese medicine to deal with that?" But that is going to the expected course of the public health over here: I went to one hospital on the second night of it got a diagnosis (tonsilitis) and a pile of medicine (including a powerful antibiotic); got worse and went to a different hospital and got a different diagnosis (ulcers, the previous doctor didn't look far enough) and got a pile of pills, all of Chinese medicine. Almost a week passed with my ability to speak returning and I could go back to work. But yesterday all pretensions of a return to health were blown away. My throat wound had started suppurating (a word I wish not to define in layman's terms, click on the link), obviously infected so badly it triggered a fever. I had a IV drip attached to my hand last night and the fever vanished; I had another drip today for good measure; and still with a disgusting throat I at least am starting to feel a bit more with it, and under the right conditions can talk at ease.
Fortunately, my days haven't all been bad: The Philippines was a wonderful break to get to see my little sisters in all their chubby, chundering (they got me once) and crawling glory. They were worlds apart from the tiny, premature babies I knew before I left. My little brother was still a handful but it was good to play with him again. I also got to know some of my "Philippines whanau". I got to swim: something that is so distant or difficult in China. I regret only that a lack of knowledge about how close the airport was causing me to hastily leave without being able to say goodbye to everyone properly.
The week prior to my departure was also a curious thing. I'd applied for a higher position in early June and heard nothing right up the week before my flight. Then on the Monday I receive an e-mail, which I didn't have to acknowledge the receipt of, saying when the interview was (the Thursday) and then I was to fly the next day. The e-mail interview offer surprised me: if they'd sent that on the Friday saying the interview was on Monday or Tuesday I wouldn't have been any the wiser that I'd completely missed an interview! (I shan't make any comments about my thoughts on any communication issues that my bosses may or may not have.) I was pretty relaxed about the interview. I had the favourable wind of being the National Academic Star the previous month and very positive support from the boss. When the list of the other applicants came out there was more reason to be confident, I was one of only three. The school I was applying to already had a "local" senior teacher (local meaning Chinese), and one of the applicants similarly was "local" (there was reason in managing a large staff to have a balance of local and international). The other applicant is an interesting chap. He is seemingly able but anyone who I mentioned him to told me there was nothing to worry about, scratching more deeply, apparently he had a history of making female staff members feel awkward around him. This being all said, the interview wasn't a walk in the park and I was put over the coals on a theoretical question. I walked away pretty confident and fortunately on the bus to the airport, my boss texted me: "Congratulations daniel on ur position ill be sorry to lose you." Of course, that was the first I heard of it but apparently it was in motion and there was an offer waiting for me in my inbox on my return.
There has been time for theorising and learning too in this time, but I might have to leave it to another time.