"Paul Greville's Homepage" Paulgreville's Profile
In 2002 my wife Jane and I decided we wanted to spend the next 5 years or so travelling or working abroad, so I gave up my work as a lecturer in English Literature and teacher of the Alexander Technique, and started to make plans and get fit. My first trip was to Australia; this was without Jane, because, when arrangements were made, the last of our five cats, Alastor, was still alive. She died just before I set off, so we took our next trip together, this time to New Zealand.
While making our way slowly down North Island, we used internet cafes to negotiate a job in Nanjing, a city in East-Central China.
I loved both Australia and New Zealand, but at the moment, sorry, no photos, so here's one of me in our UK hometown of Exeter.
We chose Nanjing by flipping through Lonely Planet China in search of a town that seemed not too cosmopolitan, not too isolated, and with plenty of history. Nanjing was our first choice and luckily a job soon came up at the University of Finance and Economics there. We started in February 2003, and I felt at home in China from the moment I first walked through the crowded, noisy, haphazard little streets around our university. We made some good friends in Nanjing, enjoyed the teaching (most of the time) and managed to visit some of the main 'tourist route' sites in Eastern China.
The picture is of me as Father Christmas at a 'foreign experts' party.
After 3 semesters in Nanjing, we decided we'd take some time off and then try a different part of China.
During this extended vacation, I taught a few literary courses, but most of the time we travelled round the UK.
We started in the Lake District, an old favourite, and crossed to the Yorkshire coast. I loved Whitby; the way the ruined Abbey and the mediaeval church dominate the skyline gives the place a pleasingly 'uncanny' feel.
Later in the summer I finally made it to Little Gidding and Eastwood, places associated with two of my favourite twentieth century writers, T. S. Eliot and D.H Lawrence respectively. And it was good to get back to parts of the country that we'd missed since being abroad - Oxford, Cambridge, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight.
The first trip we made out of the UK in Summer 2004 was to Turkey. We'd been to Istanbul about 5 years earlier, so this time we chose the south west coast, staying first in Dalyan and then Turunc. The first is famous for its nearby beach, where a rare species of turtle can breed in safety - unfortunately we could see the beach, but not the turtles as it was the wrong season. There are also Lycian tombs dug into the cliff above town and the river that leads down to 'turtle beach' contains a heavily reeded stretch where 'The African Queen' was filmed.
Turunc was pleasant enough, but too small for my taste. But I enjoyed walking over the hill to a town in the next bay, which had a restaurant on the edge of the sea.
The second trip abroad was to Tunisia. We spent one week on a ' cultural and historical highlights' coach tour, the second at the seaside town of Hammamet.
Tunisia's got some interesting Roman remains, and the Colosseum at El Jem's probably the most spectacular. Otherwise, the thing I enjoyed most was a trip to a couple of villages in the Atlas Mountains. And walking a few hundred yards into the Sahara - I've always loved deserts.
Hammamet's not too lively out of season, but it was cheaper to live in the hotel there than back in the UK.
In February 2005 we came to work at the Inner Mongolia Medical College in Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia.
People here are very conscious that this part of China is relatively 'undeveloped' , but that's changing fast - my Hohhot page, which illustrates this, is under construction.
Our block of flats doesn't look much from the outside, but the College redecorated our apartment to the kind of standard that would usually be reserved for a professor. This kind of special treatment is typical of the way foreign teachers are treated in China.
Finally, a few random things about me.
You will have already realised that I like reading, walking and, of course, seeing new places.
I also enjoy Hollywood films, surfing the web and listening to rock/folk music.
I practise yoga, meditation or Tai Chi every day.
I've been vegetarian for over 15 years but I now take fish oil tablets because I've been convinced by the arguments for their health benefits.
Heroes (in no particular order): Mandela, Van Gogh, Darwin, James Randi, Blake, Jesse Owens, R. D. Laing, Lu Xun, Rosa Parks....
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