I want to preface this post by saying this story starts bad, but ends well – at least as well as a story can in China. Okay, continue.
We had been told that we might be able to leave today for Shenyang, but when I called Richard this morning he said that our paper work wouldn’t be done until next Tuesday. I sighed at that, but continued to listen. Not two seconds later, he decided to reach into is big bag of that he carries over his shoulder and hand out another dose of bad news. Richard is like an evil version of Santa, but instead of just working one night of the year, he puts in a full 365 days.
After talking with the Xiamen school, Richard found out that the school has enough teachers for the amount of students enrolled and wouldn’t be needing us like he thought. On top of this information, he wanted us to go get our stuff in Shenyang and come back to Beijing where he would somehow find work for us. He said he would call us later because he was in a business meeting.
I lost it. I’ve tried really hard to stay positive these last 70 some odd days, but I couldn’t keep it up any longer. I laid back down in bed, covered up my head and cried. Beijing is the last place in all of China that we would want to work/live. This city has become our center of hatred, for everything bad that has happened has stemmed from this city and the WECL school. Maybe if our transfer to Shenyang had gone smoothly, we wouldn’t feel this way. Some people love this city. It just isn’t our cup of tea.
When the phone rang a few minutes later, I made Phil answer it. I was still crying and didn’t want to deal with Richard anymore. It was a short conversation. Phil told Richard he wanted to meet with him and discuss this madness. He agreed to a 2 o’clock meeting in the WECL office. I spent the time provided to calm down. The last thing I wanted to do was meet with Richard and start bawling my eyes out like a two year or go ballistic on his ass. If he had told this news to our faces I might have done just that.
At two o’clock, Richard strolled into the office and we sat down for a chat. Richard continued to explain the problem. There were too many teachers in Xiamen and not enough students. Like Shenyang, Xiamen’s WECL school is new and they haven’t had time to get a full load of students. Richard said that there were other places in Beijing, another University, where we could teach until they got more students in Xiamen, but all that meant was that there would never be enough students in Xiamen and we would be stuck in Beijijng for the rest of our contract. He said that our work load would be small, and that it would be easy to get to the University by subway or bus, but that didn’t make us any happier. He tried very hard to paint the ratty, 2 quai picture he pulled out of the dumpster into something it could never be to convince us Beijing was the way to go, but we didn’t budge. I think at this point he realized he’d lost. Maybe some where in his soul he understood our frustration and knew that he couldn’t push us much further without making us completely insane, so he looked at us and said, “What do you want?”
This question was a shock to me. I don’t think anyone in charge of me has asked me what I’ve wanted since I’ve come to China. I’ve always had to follow what other people have told me to do even if it sucked hardcore. So, given the chance to give our opinion, Phil and I took it like it was a piece of candy and ran with it.
I looked at him and said, “Richard, I’m stressed out, frustrated and sick and tired of bouncing all over China. I want to go anywhere, anywhere in China, except for Beijing, and live in a place that I can call home. I want a roof over my head, a job and a paycheck.”
A lot more was said of course, a lot more, but in the end, we won – if you can even call it a victory. Even though they don’t really need us in Xiamen, that is where we will be going. We may have only a few hours of work, if any, but we’ll have a home, a roof over our head, a job, and a paycheck no matter if we teach or not.
So, what began as a sucky day that made me cry like the little girl that I secretly am – everything seems to be okay for now. But nothing is permanent, and I am not about to get my hopes up because tomorrow is another day and anything and everything changes on a whim.
Maybe things are finally starting to look up. I can hope I guess. Hoping never hurt anyone.