Giri Giri

Nicholas Quirke was having to prepare himself for his next day monthly visit to the Exit/Entry Bureau on 10 December 2020 which if it was successful would mean that he would be spending christmas in Beijing. He was expecting a relatively quiet day as other than his teaching in the evening there was nothing other than checking flights that he needed to do. In domestic mode again he made a curry in the morning for lunch and as he was cooking decided it would be a good idea to go back to Ikea and get a Santa and another gnome. The train terminated at the stop before Livat Mall and he had to get off and wait and though another two trains pulled in they both terminated too. He was starting to get a little frustrated by the time wasting as nearly 20 minutes had elapsed and began think something was wrong. He could not work out why the other passengers had disappeared off the platform till the realisation dawned on him that the opposite platform was for trains, at least 3 had been through, that were going onto the end of the line and his destination and not returning the way he had come. He felt foolish which he turned into bitterness towards the guard who had seen him get up and try to get onto the terminating trains yet said nothing. He walked round the entire Ikea store before finding the 2 items he was there to buy and followed instructions from Peng to but more bread. This took a while to find and by the time he was in the bakery he was getting messages to say he needed to be on the train to the school as it would take nearly an hour to get there. He was now really ‘cutting it close’ or as the Japanese said ’giri giri’ and rushed to the station, got on a train which took him all the way back to where he started and then onto another train to the school. He arrived at Chaoyangmen station with 15 minutes to spare but typically his card had run out of money and he couldn’t exit the station. This meant more time wasting finding an official who could help him to top up the card. once out of the station he kept on a bike and rode ‘Ni shing’ the whole way to the school. Breathless he entered the classroom with 2 minutes before the lesson started. Giri Giri indeed. Somehow the quiet day he had anticipated turned had become quite stressful and he launched himself into the class he was substitute teacher for unprepared and unfocused. Children being shrewd and observant as they are in these situations knew this and it made for a rowdy unsettled lesson. His travel continued to cause frustration when his bike app would not open the bike for use and he had to walk to the station. he tried several bikes along the way, but none of them would unlock and he suspected that the app had run out of money too. This meant that he would have to walk back to the the apartment from Changchunjie in what was now a minus 6 degrees temperature. Along the route he spotted a bike, tried it and of course it opened. Somehow the fates were toying with him. He was looking forward to relaxing and watching a film but even though they stuck with it to the end, ‘The Nest’ proved to be an unsatisfying and gloomy, nerves experience which, strangely echoed the tenor of his day and it was a relief to shut his eyes for the night.


  1. I love those festive gnomes, I will be making a trip to IKEA at Christmas, hopefully things will be back to normal by then 😂x

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