I got a job in China

This is where I will be living.
This is where I will be living and working. WEIRD.

Finally, after much (unnecessary, maybe) internal drama, I got a job teaching English. I’ll be an instructor at Chongqing University. I don’t know when I’ll be leaving, but the school term starts September 1, so late August sometime.

Allow me to anticipate some of your questions:

“But I thought you were going to Korea?” “But you said something about Taiwan?” You weren’t wrong. It was hard to keep everyone in the loop all of the time, so I’m sorry if you got left out. And frankly, I tried to keep my cards close to my chest so I wouldn’t have to update everyone all the time, as it can be a little emotionally draining to constantly engage with my anxieties. But yeah, it’s China. It’s confirmed. It’s happening.

“Do you remember any of that Chinese you took in college?” A little. It’s coming back. I’ll have more time to focus once I’ve moved out of my place (which I should be preparing to do instead of writing this, but social media generation, urge to share, etc).

“What’s it like in Chongqing?” Hot as balls, apparently. I’ll miss snow! But I won’t have to bring a winter coat or boots, so more room in my bag. It’s the fourth largest city in China, so there should be a good-sized expat community. Spicy food. I don’t know. I’m learning.

“Bitch, aren’t you almost 40? What are you doing?” Whatever I feel like doing, gosh. Here is something I read the other day: “Your Comfort Zone is designed to keep your life safe. Instead, it keeps your life small.”

“Can I Skype you while you’re gone?” God, yes, I’ll need that. sarahsnider612, because my heart is still in Minneapolis.

Details to follow.

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good news, bad news, no news

Good times on Duolingo.
Good times on Duolingo.

Good news:

  1. China is still in play. Apparently, as long as I get my authenticated background check in by July 31, I’m on track to go. (More on that later.)
  2. I have been applying to other positions as a backup. Some of them seem kind of interesting.
  3. I have a place to stay for a while until I leave.
  4. Getting rid of my stuff is going well. Planning on a huge yard sale in conjunction with my friend Bethany. If you’re in the Twin Cities, prepare to be dazzled by savings.

Bad news:

  1. The state of Minnesota messed up my background check. They mistyped the day and year of my birth on the report (at least they got the month right, I guess?). If I were China, I wouldn’t accept that. How do they know it’s me and not some other person with my fairly common name? Additionally, someone else notarized it, essentially affirming that the information is correct. This is, just to remind you, the background check that is due next Thursday. In any situation like this, I’m very careful to think, “Is there any way this might be a tiny bit my fault?” I don’t see how in this case. She messed up, and now she is my sworn enemy. I FedExed the document back to the person in question (put her name on the envelope). I asked her to please reissue the certificate, this time with the CORRECT information, just for fun. I’m going to call her, too. As long as I can get it by early next week, I can take it in for authentication in person. Which is a giant pain in the ass and not what I need to be focusing on next week. But if that’s how it’s going to be, that’s how it’s going to be.
  2. Chinese is really difficult. A friend told me about Busuu.com, which is pretty good. I like that it’s free and focuses on business English, rather than some of the weird phrases Duolingo uses. But it uses Chinese characters instead of pinyin, and I was kind of hoping to get away with not learning those. The level of detail in the characters makes my eyes feel old. I feel like I can’t see everything I need to see. But the only thing that really let me make a breakthrough in Spanish was practice, practice, practice. I hope that when I get there and can get into a class (or better yet, private lessons), I’ll improve.

No news:

  1. I had an interview yesterday. Actually, that’s not true. I showed up for an interview yesterday, but it’s actually scheduled for next week. This is a case where the fault is 100% mine. But by then I’ll know if my background check will get to me or not, so the timing might be pretty good for that. That’s like, WORST case scenario. Let’s hope my strongly worded letter gets through to the background check lady.
  2. I also applied for a job teaching ESL in Hungary. It seems interesting, although I think I’m going to pass because I will make NO money. It was funny because the program director emailed me and said, “Hey, fellow Badger. I graduated from high school in Fond du Lac and went to Ripon College.” For those new to the Sarah Snider experience, my family (with one notable exception) lives in or near Fond du Lac. Small world. I guess that’s a reassuring thought to end on.

I have no idea what’s going on

We're going to need a lot of kittens.
Please enjoy this kitten (includes bonus kitten).

It’s July 17. I certainly thought I’d know where I was going by now. But I don’t have a job yet. It’s really starting to wear me down.

I got really upset with my placement agency in early July. (I’m going to name them eventually so that other people can use the information, since there’s a lack of good reviews and information out there. Right now, I don’t think it would be wise to do so.) Mainly, the recruiter in Korea wasn’t answering my questions. So I asked to be moved to their China program. China is so eager for teachers, I’ll be much easier to place, right?

Well. I have yet to hear anything. It’s really getting me down, I have to say. I’m going to be 40 a month from today. What do I have to show for it? I’m leaving my job and my home, giving up my sweet kitty, and for what? I thought it was a sure thing, but it feels like a gamble. And like every other gamble in my life, I seem to be betting wrong.

I’m looking for other jobs without the agency. It’s quite apparent that I put too much faith in them. I haven’t gotten any results yet. It sounds like things tend to be very last-minute in Asia generally, but if you factor in the time needed to get a visa, time is getting short.

I’m really trying to stay positive about this and keep going. I still have hope and a lot of skills to offer. But it’s getting really difficult. I hope I can look back at this and say, wow, that was all for nothing. Who knows, though?