I think I’ve reached a bit of a plateau in excitement about our year in China. I was warned about this in my TEFL class, and I remember when my brother hit this point when he was teaching in Peru. When you first arrive everything is novel and exciting. The months before you leave you feel nostalgic about your experience and want to hold onto everything. But there are a few months in the middle where you’re used to everything and working just feels like a job and day in and day out it feels like regular life.. except you are on the other side of the world from the comforts of home and the people you love. Not to complain, I really like China. But sometimes in between waking up and going to sleep early I wish I could call up a friend or have lunch with a family member, or eat a cheeseburger without traveling an hour on the bus. Or have some adventure. I’d think less about being away from home if I was actually traveling. But alas, that can’t always be the case. At some point we have to make some money to fund that travel, and honestly we have found a good situation for that. It’s just been dragging a bit lately..
In other news, Kevin is going to Hong Kong on Monday. We were worried about the details of this trip because his work is not prepared to get him the work visa he was promised. So, he is going to get a new tourist visa. Tourist visas only last 3 months (5 months with the 2 extensions you can get in Chengdu) so we were worried we would be paying for more trips to Hong Kong than we had bargained for (or were contractually obligated to pay for — it ain’t cheap!). Luckily, after leaving it to the very last minute, his work has come through and said they will pay for the trip since they kind of dropped the ball on getting him the Z visa. They booked him a flight and a hotel and are reimbursing him for the visa, and he just has to cover the costs of food. I’m so happy about this because he really likes his job and we didn’t want things to get ugly, or for him to lose it! Also, he gets to spend 2 days in Hong Kong for free! He definitely won’t have all the extra free time that I did, but he’ll get a little taste now (if nothing else he’ll get to eat some food that isn’t Sichuan!), and a little taste when he goes back again in a few months for either the Z visa or a final tourist visa to finish out the year. Thank god everything got sorted out! For all the horror stories we’ve heard about employers in China, we both have had really good experiences and work with honest and helpful people.
I promised to post pictures from our “Spring Days,” where we went to a ritzy gated community and played games and had lunch with the students. The first one was pretty fun, although my class wasn’t there so I just sat around in the sun and ate little cakes. The second weekend was a little less fun because it was my class’s day to come, but only 2 families showed up. So, I had to struggle through hours of awkward conversation with a significant language barrier. Being an awkward person when talking to people I don’t know well in general, this was a bit nightmarish. It didn’t help that one of the students who came is the newest addition to the class, whose mother is constantly asking me how he’s doing and I have to mumble out something other than, “Your kid cries the entire time and when he’s not crying he’s glaring at me and refusing to participate in any activities.” The clubhouse was also blasting the same 3 songs for the whole 3-4 hours. 3 songs. Over and over and over again. And one of them was from High School Musical. Rawr. But, a day outside is a day outside. And these kids are so cuuuuute, so it wasn’t all bad