It’s been awhile. Again. I was too depressed to post as I didn’t want this blog turning into a rerun of the Korean blog, minus the evil Saeyoon. I’ve been down, I’ve been depressed. I’ve hated my job except when I’m with my Grade 10’s. I never would have thought that I would fall in love with my Grade 10’s, but I have. The Grade 12’s can drop dead, my teaching colleagues can get a pox, but the Grade 10’s are my job. They are enthusiastic for the most part, they try for the most part, and many of them are noticeably improving. That’s why I do this. I like to make a difference and to have an effect.
But life isn’t all Grade 10’s. There is all that other crap that turns my stomach, ruins my day, and keeps me in misery. I can’t get fired and I can’t get another job in China since my visa marries me to this job. Besides, I don’t want to work in China anymore. I’ve been there and done that. There are some wonderful people here, but not enough. There are some wonderful students here but that will be beat out of them with 14-hour school days. I can’t change anything and I come home and complain because it gets it out of my system for the day, but at the end I’m reminded by either Shujie or myself that I can’t change China. They should hire me to be Minister of Education. Kids that don’t play? Impossible, Absurd.
Les Miz was fabulous. It was the 2nd best version I’ve seen. Colm Wilkinson was first but this cast was fabulous. It was great to go with my nieces because they both wanted to see it, and they both enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to the next time I go (whenever that may be).
So I came back to China and started scheming to get out of here. I can’t get a Chinese job but there is the rest of the world. Shujie will move to another country to have an adventure. So I looked and I applied and I looked and I applied. I did get a job and I accepted it. Amen to that. And O man, it’s in Oman.
What do I know about Oman? Nothing really. It’s an Arab country and I’m Jewish. I believe in reality that one day (probably not in my lifetime) the Arabs and the Jews will make peace. I’m just a little ahead of the curve here. It’s not Saudi Arabia where woman must dress all wrapped up and can’t drive. Woman can dress “modestly” and they’re fine. It’s a University but I am trapped from 8 until 4:30. We’ll see how that plays out. I will be teaching young men because classes are segregated and we’ll be living in Rustaq, a city of about 80,000 people about 1 hour and 45 mintues from the capital of Muscat.
It looks like desert life (which is good). Shujie and I will have equal standing as we will both know nothing so she can’t be the big Chinese expert (which is annoying at times) and I can’t be the big Canadian expert (which she might have found annoying). We’ll both be learning.
So I got this job but how do I get out of here? Shujie’s main concern is that this job wants me now (as in less than a week) and payday isn’t until November 8th for my October salary. I devised a lie (I’ll leave out the details but it involves perhaps a death bed) and we figured they would pay. I would leave and Shujie remains here so it looks like I’m coming back. Shujie can’t come to Oman until I get my visa. What they do is get me an “emergency visa”. Then they can change that to a work visa in about 1 to 4 weeks. Once I have that, Shujie can join me.
The money is okay (and tax-free) and it comes with an apartment. I’m sure gas is cheap so a car may be a possibility. The cost of living should be fairly cheap living in a small city in the desert. And who wouldn’t want to teach a bunch of Arab young men? I must admit that doesn’t thrill me but on the plus side, it isn’t China, it is the desert, and it’s something new and a new culture.
The big lie we were prepared to deliver is not needed. Today I was informed that they needed two documents from my previous school and I should get them. They asked for this more than a month ago and we tried and I thought the school tried. So I told them Shujie would ask again and then I told them that they told Shujie to leave them alone and that they had no interest in helping. Of course no one phoned and without these 2 documents I can’t get my residence permit and must leave the country by November 8th.
I told them that meant they were firing me and I wanted to leave today. That started a fight with the liars at the head office who told me that if I left today then they didn’t have to pay me for October. I told them that they were liars as the contract says if I quit then I have to pay them $500.
Shujie spoke to them and Susan (my boss) spoke to them and it was resolved that I am getting paid what I am owed and I will work on Monday (my last day). That’s good since I probably have to fly out of here on Tuesday. So there is no lie needed and their own idiocy and incompetence becomes the reason I must leave. Bless their idiotic little hearts.
So we will try life in the Gulf Region. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the food more than I do here. It will be different. I did apply for a job in Yakutsk (coldest city in the world) but they hired someone before they had a chance to interview me. That would have been different.
We are excited to be blowing this pop stand and to be trying a new culture. It’s funny how this worked out. All my planning and it’s a good thing I did it since I was toast by November 8th. So if you’re ever in Rustaq in the country of Oman, stop on by. We will be glad to see you.
By the way I got my semi-annual haircut. Shujie was driving me crazy so it was easier to cut the damn hair than to listen to her. While there I decided to shave the beard but it’s coming back next week. Let’s just call it my Halloween costume.
The school is having a Halloween party on Sunday night. I will attend since I have nothing against the kids and many of them have asked me if I’m going. I’m going to wear my new suit that I got in Vietnam but haven’t worn yet. What am I going as? A teacher who dresses professionally. What a novel idea. I don’t know if you can call a shiny gray suit with black piping “professional”, but I’m sure I’ll be a lady-killer of 16 year old ladies.