It’s actually “California here I come”, but California has 4 syllables while Wuxi only has two so I had to say Wuxi twice. Wuxi is pronounced “Woo-She”. So lets open up with a song.
The deed is done. After much stress, aggravation, and just downright incompetence we are evacuating Canada this Thursday, August 15th to return to the land of mistruths, incompetence, and “hurry up ad wait’. So why go back there? I guess I must be a glutton for punishment.
We are settling in Wuxi, which is close to Suzhou (a nice place) and about 90 minutes by bus from Shanghai. Wuxi does have a bar that serves good Bloody Mary’s and cheeseburgers so it can’t be all bad. It’s reasonably clean and one of the better places to live in China.
It’s about 2 hours from Jurong (which was our first Chinese home) so we will get to see Wang Jin once more and we are very happy about that. She is still my favorite non-family member I’ve met in China. Her thoughtfulness and kindness will never be forgotten. If she wasn’t just 33, married, with a child, and I was physically attracted to her, she would be the bee’s knees. As she is, she’s great and having friends is often times more valuable than having lovers and paramours.
I will be working at a high school with an “International Program”. All that means is the students learn a lot in English in hopes they can get into University in the West. These schools are for the rich (I think fees are in the $80K per year range) and they are sprouting like weeds in the new Chinese economy. I don’t think there is much of a middle-class. There are the rich and the poor.
I will be teaching English and Literature. I like variety so that’s good. I think they have also made me head teacher for the English teachers (I run meetings I think). It will look good on a resume.
They told me that training was in Wuxi from August 20 to 22nd. Today they told me it’s in Beijing on those same dates and would I rather just fly to Beijing and do it. No, I said. I want to get settled and adjust to the time change before I have to think. Then she (head of HR) orders me a ticket for August 22nd (so I miss training) because prices are cheaper after the 20th. I looked for myself and they are not cheaper. I got a cheaper flight on the 15th so I booked my own. They should have booked this last Thursday night (our time) because I had my visa but as usual they don’t do anything unless you put a firecracker under their butts. So I booked the tickets and they’ll reimburse me. So I can go to training and we can get out of here and get settled down.
I’ve been so stressed this summer (Shujie too) that I constantly ask myself why am I returning to China. I could have had a job in Iraq or Afghanistan which would have been much more interesting and when I got annoyed, it would be a new annoyance. As far as I can see with my limited knowledge, China is doomed to remain a 3rd world country no matter how much money people embezzle or are bribed with. They just don’t have a work ethic (they work long hours and accomplish little), they are bogged down in paperwork, and they don’t realize it’s not the hours that you work, but the quality of the work. And they also go for the cheapest. There are so many Chinese that need jobs so that if you don’t want Job X for $200 a month, who cares, there are thousands of others who will take that job. It’s actually quite sad and maybe I’ll run for office. Oh wait, I can’t. There are no elections.
So two days to go before blastoff. My mother has been away for 10 days on some European cruise with her live-in, so good for her. I’d like to see her again but on the other hand, I don’t like goodbyes. I love my family but as I’ve often said, seeing them a lot in 2 months isn’t the same as seeing them once a week or 2 weeks.
The big plan for this year is to go to either Australia or New Zealand for our winter holidays since it’s a lot cheaper to fly from China. We could never do this from Canada. We are also toying with the idea of buying a car (Chinese model). If the traffic in Wuxi isn’t insane, we just might do it.
Who knows what the future will hold but we’re keeping our fingers crossed. As long as they leave me alone and the kids make an effort, I’ll be okay. I better be okay because Shujie is sick of moving and I’ve promised to at least finish this year.