I know, I know, it’s been a while. Sometimes I think I’ll do it and then the feeling disappears. However, as you can see, I am making a post. We leave Nanchang in 4 days for Toronto and I can’t wait to get out of here. Shujie told me I always say, “this is the worst year ever”, but I don’t agree. However, THIS IS THE WORST YEAR EVER!
How bad was it? I took early retirement. Not really but I finished at the school the end of April. They are such idiots. There are 3 grades, which are 10, 11, and 12. The grade 10’s went to the U.S. the end of April for 6 weeks to go to a school there and learn English. They were supposed to go to California (cool!), but of course that changed. Where did the lucky ducks go? Mansfield, Ohio. I have nothing against Mansfield and in fact I don’t think I’ve ever been there, but I think they could have done better. So that’s 1/3 of the students missing. They knew this when they hired all their teachers but naturally, being China, they had no plan for it.
The Grade 12’s finished the end of April. So now 2/3 of the students are gone. You have all these teachers you are paying and not enough classes for them to teach. However, it’s not my problem and not my money. I didn’t like the Grade 11’s enough to stick around. Shujie was sick of most of the students. So we offered to leave the end of April and take May’s salary (which meant only giving up June’s salary) and our plane fare money.
Doesn’t anyone here plan in advance? The answer is very few people. If I ask Shujie to book something a few days in advance, she tells me it’s too early. You should book one or two days in advance, or just show up. I still haven’t adjusted to that.
I didn’t really like most of the students. There were a few I really liked but not enough for me to have warm feelings about this place. I decided to graduate from High School so I’m off to University the 22nd of August. It is (according to rankings somewhere), the 87th best University in China. That is good as there are over 10,000 Universities and Colleges in China. It is hard to get exact numbers. There are over 20 million students in these schools. It has a world ranking somewhere but it depends on who ranks it. What it comes down to is it sounds like a serious place.
Every high school student in China takes a standard test before finishing high school. Depending on your score, you know where you can apply. Don’t apply to Beijing University unless you aced the test. So in theory, no dummies allowed.
Of course my experience tells me to expect nothing. Maybe I’ll get a nice surprise. I will be teaching some form of English (to be decided later). Never teach American History in a Chinese High School. I won’t make that mistake again. It sounds promising but that means nothing. Wait and see.
Shujie is developing an English course. She will start by trying to get students to tutor. I am not involved. Will she succeed? Don’t ask me because what do I know?
The name of the University is North China Electric Power University. It has 2 campuses. One is in Beijing and the other is in Shujie’s hometown of Baoding. We are going back to Baoding where Shujie has family and friends. It will be nice for her. We will be living on campus, which we don’t mind because you can sometimes hang out with some nice kids. The big negative with all this (and isn’t there always a big negative), is that Universities pay terrible. They figure because they have no office hours and not a lot of teaching hours (but a lot of high schools are the same as that), they don’t have to pay much. I will be earning about $1,000 US dollars a month. The lower the grade, the higher the pay. This is a weird place but I’m sure I mentioned that before. If I were in North America teaching at a University I’d be doing okay. However, my peace of mind matters to me, so it’s off to University I go.
We hope to visit New York City and my eldest daughter this summer as well as Philadelphia where I have a cousin who has kindly offered to put us up. We will be returning to China on July 26 and school starts August 22. The positive is they reimburse you for your plane fare here after one month at the school, and they buy your ticket home at the end of the year. Some schools are getting terrible with airfare reimbursements. As the cost of a flight gets higher, what you get here gets smaller.
We will be able to go to my Aunt’s 80th birthday party and I’m really excited about that. She was my first babysitter. We will go and see our nephew Steven (Chinese nephew) graduate from McMaster University. Shujie’s brother and sister-in-law will be here for that. It will be nice for Steven having family watching.
So where are my political comments? I hate to disappoint those who choose to be offended. I am not an American but I recognize and respect the United States place in the world. Every day I have a minute or two of fear worrying about what that moron will do or say. He’s an idiot and that’s fine. But what’s with all these people who follow him? I think the follower’s are worse than the big idiot. And please, don’t talk about impeachment. Pence would be quieter, but no brighter. I’ve heard about Americans who still say, “I know he’s lying but I don’t care”. It’s beyond my comprehension how you can be satisfied with an inferior product. If you bought a can of soup and it was bad, you’d complain and return it. You get a bad President and some people can just ignore that. It is beyond my area of comprehension. And that’s all I can say because all the moaning in the world won’t change anything and there is no one to replace Bozo with.
So that’s it. I will return sometime and I hope if you are reading this, you’re well and fine and all that. YEAH, ESCAPING CHINA.