Monthly Archives: January 2016

Chinese puzzle:

  1. A game where you have to solve the problem of fitting many different pieces together especially boxes inside other boxes.
  2. A situation that is complicated and difficult to understand.

3..An intricate or ingenious puzzle.

So what happens when everyday life becomes a Chinese puzzle? Do you throw up your hands and concede the match? Some do. Do you fight and try to solve it? Some do. Do you ignore and present an override? That might be the answer.

Such is life in China, a series of Chinese puzzles.

I haven’t written in a long time. November 21 to be exact. Some of the few of you who read what I write might have thought I was dead. Perhaps you were right. I was facing a dilemma and choosing not to face it. The school business was nowhere near what I expected. I expected a variety of students who would flock to learn with a foreign teacher. I was wrong. Mr. Foreigner wants to be paid more than Mr. Chinglish and a lot of these pathetic Chinese parents don’t want the best for their kids, they want the cheapest. Why should I charge the same as someone with poor pronunciation and a weak ability to put together sentences?

It wasn’t going well. Chinese people appear to want something for nothing. Guess what? I’m not giving something for nothing so I’ve been job hunting. I was told that 60 was the cutoff age but it’s China and every province has their own rules. It might help if they enforced National Rules, but I guess that would require some work.

Sometimes Shujie would say it’s not working and other times she’d say, “give it time”. I just heard the 2 minute warning and it said, “get out of town”. Boading has some advantages for Shujie such as being close to her mom and close friend. Although I often tease her about taking off to see them, I know it’s good.

I on the other hibernate in our apartment and read books. It’s kind of cold outside and this is a boring place. I like that Shujie has family and friends to visit but she tells me it’s no big deal. We’re different and there are some things beyond my understanding and I accept that.

I wasn’t depressed, just bored.  I was under the impression it was almost impossible to be hired once you hit 60.

I had to travel to Changsha to do a demo for a man who thinks he’s brilliant but I don’t trust. He has a “system” to teach English and I don’t have much faith in systems. While we were there he watched my demo for 3 minutes and declared me fine. He told Shujie that he really wanted hire her (to help run things) and I was the excess baggage he would take. Am I hurt? I think you have to respect someone for their words to hurt you. I don’t trust him.

I gave him a deadline to have a contract with me, and he missed it. I don’t care. So now we’ll see how much Mr. Bigshot wants Shujie. He can hire her without me. She can work in his office in Beijing or from home. I don’t think anything will come of it and I hope I’m wrong. However, if I’m right, I don’t think Shujie will be crushed because she really doesn’t trust him either.

There was another school that was interviewing. It was an IB school (International Baccalaureate) whatever that is but it sounds good. They teach many courses in English and they pay more than any job I’ve had in China I would be teaching History (my version) and it’s a 5 day a week job. Living in Beijing means the occasional decent restaurant and the occasional decent Bloody Mary. It’s like a suburb of ½ million people about 35 km. from downtown Beijing. We are not too far from the Subway so if we want to hit the big city, it should be no big deal.

Shujie says now that she wouldn’t mind tutoring younger kids in English. I think she would do a great job. I think she should call this jerk about this phantom job (my opinion) and as usual, make out for herself. I feel bad but I make much more money so in a way you have to go where the money is.

I accepted the job to begin when we return from the U.S. We leave for Austin on Feb. 4 and return Feb. 25. We are psyched. We’ll see Leah and my granddaughter Harper in Austin, and then we’ll go to West Palm Beach in Florida to see my mother and her boyfriend. My mom has her moments and she can be grouchy but she’s a good mother and if I can’t deal with the occasional grouchiness then I’m a worse son than I thought I was.

I have all these food cravings that I know will disappear once my plane touches down. I’ve lost weight because I usually eat one meal a day and don’t snack. I find I have the same low energy level I’ve always had but I do seem to come alive in the classroom.

I’ll be teaching grade 7 and 8’s and I would have thought that wouldn’t work for me, but when I did my demo in Shenyang to Grade 7’s, it was fun. I’m good in some ways and can relate to students at their level. I never talk down to them or treat them like idiots. Now that I’m in an expensive private school some spoiled brats may suffer my subtle wraith.

I work 5 days a week, Monday to Friday, which is okay. We get a free apartment on campus. We get health coverage. The apartment is too small but maybe I can get Shujie to stop telling me how expensive everything is and to actually look online and see what things cost. She is the expert (maven) of all and it’s hard to tell her she isn’t.

Will this work out? Who knows? The contract is until July 1 of 2017, which is good. I thought the hiring age in China was 60 max. but yesterday I heard it’s 62. I don’t think anyone knows. I need a special Z visa but the school is willing to wait until I return from Canada in the summer for it and we’ll just keep quiet for it for now. It might work out and it might be fun teaching history.

Shujie may come up with something. This whole new adventure starts the end of February when we return fro the U.S. I’m looking forward to it and I hope Shujie finds something good that respects her ability and doesn’t penalize her for being over women’s retirement age in China (50).

Every day is something new. We look forward to leaving for Austin in 8 days and all the things Leah has been planning for us. If she gives up photography she can be a party planner,

I look forward to the salary and I look forward to being in front of a class entertaining them. I look forward to teaching a subject other than English. It should be interesting.

And yes, they teach piano and horseback riding.  (

Check it out.  Maybe you want to send someone there.  I think it’s about $35,000US a year.  I’m sure it’s a bargain at any price.  (See, no change, still the same attitude.)