This morning I went to school so that one of the school staff could help me exchange some travelers checks in USD for RMB. Our head teacher told them that they would have to take me to the main branch of the Bank of China downtown for it. So, did they? Nooooo, we had to go to another branch first, where we filled out paperwork, waited in line, and then were told we must go to the main branch. The admin guy wanted to take the bus, which would have been about 40 minutes each way. At this point, thinking of all the lesson plans I still needed to work on for the weekend, I overruled him and hailed a cab. Cabs are quite inexpensive here, so I was happy to pay for the cab ride both ways.
We arrive at the main branch of the bank, fill out the same paperwork, which he didn't keep, then went to a window to have it processed, including photocopying my passport. We were then given some kind of form and had to go to another part of the bank, take a number and wait. Upon getting to that teller, we were told we must go to another teller. Another number, another wait. Lucky me, we get a teller who is new and seems to have no clue what a traveler's check is. She takes my passport and the traveler's checks back into the first room and is gone for about five minutes. Probably watching the training video on American traveler's checks. She comes back, tells me to sign them. Then she and several other tellers spend several minutes comparing my signatures; apparently because they don't use English cursive in China they cannot tell if it's really my signature. At this point I am ready to cry. Finally they decide that the signatures are acceptable and she proceeds to give me the money. Mission accomplished.
But wait, there's more. When I arrived at school, the head teacher told me that I "might" get an additional class THIS AFTERNOON. I wonder when they would have told me this, if I hadn't just happened to go to school today... sigh.
By the time we returned to school from the bank it was decided that I would be taking over the Friday afternoon level 2 class (age 5-6 or so). Thank heaven, it was a lesson I had already prepared for this weekend! Finally got home around noon, and worked on lessons until 3:00 when it was time to turn around and go back to school.
I got home from school about an hour ago at 5:30, have eaten my dinner, taken out the trash, made some hot lemon-honey-ginger drink to try to soothe my cough which has returned with a vengeance, and taken the time to write this because I needed to vent. Now it's time to settle down and work on lesson plans for the weekend, I hope that I can work at lightning speed so that I can get to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour.