Hey everyone! This post was so long that I had to split it in two or no one would even make it to the end. This one has been building since I arrived and started working in Chongqing. There are most definitely struggles that come with working in a foreign country, especially one such as China. Jared and I have had our fair share of struggles. Working in China really isn’t that hard. As one might guess, being an English teacher isn’t that hard for someone who is a native speaker. I mean I do actually have to prepare lessons and other office work. Once that is done, I sit around at my desk doing whatever I want from studying Chinese to writing posts for my blog to emailing. The thing that is the hardest is that my office is always in a state of chaos.
People quit all the time. We had 7 different secretaries in 5 weeks. One girl was here for 2 days and quit half way through her second day. We work in a government building so the turnover rate is really high. My boss is also a problem. No one likes her and she is mean to her employees. She’s always been nice to Jared and I but that’s because we’re foreigners and we can’t really talk to her since she doesn’t know English. We call her the dragon lady because the first time we met her she was pissed and yelling in Chinese. I didn’t know anyone could speak a language so fast. Dragon is good in Chinese so if she ever hears it she won’t be offended, but we know it’s because she is one scary lady when she’s pissed. She makes the secretaries work long hours and they don’t get paid that much.
The longest girl we had was Christy. Jared and I named her because she didn’t have an English name and Christy just seemed appropriate. She was here for a little over 2 weeks. Actually now that I’m writing this, Jessica has been here for 3 or 4 weeks now. That’s a record! She speaks almost perfect English. I’m not sure why she’s stayed but she has and she doesn’t seem like she’s going to quit anytime soon. That’s actually really good news. When people are always quitting, nothing gets done. One of the Chinese teachers, Maggie, recently quit because she’s getting married and her fiancé doesn’t live anywhere close to Chongqing.
Our office just hired 3 new secretaries and I even had to give up my desk because they wanted the teachers and the secretaries at separate spaces. The 4 desks closest to our boss are for the secretaries and the 4 closest to the door are for the teachers. So I got Maggie’s desk. I wasn’t happy that after I just organized my desk and cleaned it all out and made it mine that I had to move. Especially since all my files are on that hard drive, but this is China and you have to go with the flow if you want to survive the craziness that is China.
Another reason our office is always “patas arriba” (my madre in Spain taught me this b/c of my room) or a complete disaster is that people frequently don’t come into work when they don’t feel like it. There have been several days Jared and I are the only ones to come in. The first time it happened we asked ourselves if there was a group strike that we just weren’t informed about. No, that wasn’t the case. One lady was trapped in her house… Not sure if she was being held prisoner or if she was just having some sort of issues in her apartment or made up some excuse. The other two teachers were hung over from partying the night before. And our office manager went on his long awaited honeymoon that no one told us about. I have no idea where Dragon lady was.
Jared and I had no idea what to do and the students were like wait what? Where is everyone? So we ended up watching a movie and playing trivia games. It wasn’t a bad day actually. The students had a pretty good day I think. So after that we learned to just go with the flow because you never know what is going to happen. That is the best possible philosophy to have in China. Otherwise, you might as well check into a mental hospital and call it day because you’d drive yourself crazy trying to control things in China. Nothing ever goes as planned.