Woman talks about leaving China…
Life here in the Middle Kingdom has gotten… well… a little on the hassled side.
Or should I say, the men at my school who just do not like women who stand up and question them have gotten a little on the boring side and unfortunately I signed a contract in May for another school year otherwise I would have left end of June.
In June, I handed over my passport and certificates telling the school I needed them all back for the end of June so I could travel to America to spend some time with Sarah and Rob as I had such a fun time with them and mom last year or; my plan B was to go back to Dandong (Liaoning Province in 2005 I spent the winter there) and do some work, returning to Baotou rejuvenated to start work.
However; my school has decided to take their sweet arse time and only last week had just one of the certificates done, and I still needed my visa. Which would take another week or so. So eight weeks they’ve had my paperwork when whenever I have done my paperwork in total it only ever took me two weeks to do. But what strikes me as funny, is the men at the school have told me that it is illegal for a foreigner to do the paperwork (try showing them the documentation that it is not they actually put the paper in the rubbish bin and pretend it was never there. I wish I lived in the same dimension as them. Can you imagine how easy it would be to clean up a mess??? WOW! Talk about efficient!)
So I think it was last week I made up my mind that I was not going to go Stateside, and when I went to the police station to begin work on my visa? I got a message from the school in Dandong telling me that with all the complications, and the hassle with my visa I cannot go there to work as the parents had taken their kids out of the summer program and were very upset.
I don’t blame them. Not one bit.
So as I said, you can kind of see where I was saying my school which is run by Party members want girls and women to be quiet and nice and obedient.
I didn’t check “dog” when I signed a contract. I checked “woman”.
Sucks to be them.
So anyways, my summer is… basically me under house arrest (oh how I fondly remember I think it was October of 2008 or was it 2009? With the swine flu being trapped in my apartment under house arrest for my own safety), where I have cleaned and polished, packed and unpacked everything in my home and basically I have washed my floors at least three times every day. And a couple times with old tooth brushes to pass the time.
And all this because I do not have my passport.
At the moment, Beijing is cracking down on illegal foreigners in the country where if you do not have your passport and a current visa in your passport,you will be fined, and deported. And me being me, I have asked for the receipt of my visa to carry around with me so I could at least move more freely around the city. Their answer?
So I’ve been stuck at home for the whole month, waiting and waiting for my new certificates and visa. Thinking the worst… and I don’t know if most of you know this… but I am one of the biggest worry warts known to the human race. The thoughts that were running through my head. “I’m going to be deported. Well at least if you are deported, you get to go to family BBQ’s this summer!” were just one of the thoughts in my head. And I was sleeping alright, I mean I can sleep no matter what is going on in my life, but it wasn’t the sleep I am used too. I had been sick with worry.
And because of the house arrest style life I had been living I had to laugh the other day. I was walking down the street to the grocery store listening to Barry White and walking in slow-mo and singing, “you’re my first… my last! My everything!” quite loudly too. Because simply, I am allowed to go out for necessary purposes, but the gym and swimming is not necessary. But groceries are!!! So I walked the just over 1km in slow mo trying to catch some sun and some fresh air.
I laughed the whole way to the store.
And I got a tan. So that was nice!
Well this email has so far been depressing and somewhat boring.
So let me tell you the good news that has come out of this whole situation. Because after all… if I am not permitted to go out, I bring the world to me.
It was about two weeks ago while I was stuck at home I received an email from a school in Africa telling me some long winded way that they got my name from an Ambassadors personal assistant secretary’s secretary assistant third cousin once removed the Mushu’s great uncle of Hu’s third’s wife etc… you get the idea… but turns out one of my former students works for the Chinese Ambassador.
How cool is that???
When you have taught over 15,000 kids in the past ten years, you never know where they are going to end up in the world.
So anyways, I guess as the story goes, the Chinese Ambassador Party was looking at some of the schools in Addis Ababa (capitol city of Ethiopia) and they were talking about how they need more teachers especially strict and the good kind of demanding teachers, and my former student mentioned me. So I ended up being dropped an email from a school in Ethiopia asking if I have ever thought about living and working in Africa.
I mean… who hasn’t thought about living and working in Africa????? Seriously. Who hasn’t???
To be honest with you all, and to be honest with myself, I don’t think I would have even entertained the possibility of leaving China just yet if these events did not happen with my school this summer. If everything happened the way it should have and the paper work was handed in when it should have and not last minute… I probably would have just deleted the email with a laugh.
But the idea grew in my head.
And now? I think maybe (please see maybe) this might be my last year in China.
I think next summer might find me on a new continent in a new country, learning about a new culture.
And that continent might just be Africa.
I’ve started researching about countries in Africa and to be honest, Ethiopia kind of has gotten into my head as my potential future home.
And I am kind of excited about it!!!!
In my head I have already packed what I plan to take with me, and I’ve been doing me research and studying my geography and learning about what I can about the history and geography.
Then I got the idea in my head, why stick with the one school when I can look at them all????????
So while I’ve been stuck at home I’ve been searching for information about various schools in the capitol city of Ethiopia. There are so many neat things about the country that I so want to see first hand. There are so many cultural differences that I want to explore and see if they are just like I read about, and measure how different and how much the same they are.
It’s just so exciting!!!
So ladies and gentlemen….this might just be my last year for me in China. Next month marks the start of my eleventh year in China. Eleven years living and working here in rural China. Not living in the big cities where you can go months without speaking any Chinese. But living in the small towns and cities, at the end of next year my approx count for the number of students I will have taught will be about 16,000 students. I’ve touched and influenced a heck of a lot of people since I’ve been here. I’ve helped students grow into people, and helped people find their voice and learn how to speak up for themselves.
I cannot hardly beleive that it just might be coming to an end.
I do know that as much as I clash heads with the school officials, I will miss my students terribly. For some reason these kids I am teaching now at the college have worked their way under my skin and taken up residence there. They make me beam with pride when I see them stand up in their other classes and questions about what they are being taught. They make me grin like an idiot when I hear them say what they want to say. I love how I get to see them stand tall speaking their opinions on their country the good and the bad and still loving their country.
I will miss them. And I get teary eyed just thinking about it.
And unfortunately, I will not be able to tell them about my future plans till next June.
So ladies and gents, if you have thought of visiting me in China, this might be your last time to do it!!
I truly hope your summer is going better than mine!!
PS: Well I wrote the above yesterday, and today, I had my interview with the Dean of the school I want to work at (the unofficial number one school). They are really keen to have me come to them to work, and because I have two months off in January and February, I’ve asked if I can come over for my holiday and check out the country and the school and the culture and do some traveling… cause I mean… I’ve learnt a long time ago, they will want to impress me so will hopefully take me on lots and lots of tours to see fun stuff!!! Imagine!!! I’ll see elephants and crocodiles and zeebras and lions (maybe) but OH! I’ll finally see a baboon!!! And African Asses!!! Oh how neat is this going to be!!!!
So, this time next year, I should be in Africa teaching already. If everything goes my way!!!
Now shhhh!! I am not telling anyone here till June that I am leaving.
Now, who is coming to visit???
Wish me luck that this next year goes exactly how I want it as I have my heart set on going to Africa!!!!