Getting The Job
I knew that I wanted to teach abroad so I looked into programs through my college. I got a big pile-a-no-programs. President of Education Connections, I made nice with a few professors and the Dean of the School of Education, so I was considered when the first opportunity for a student to teach abroad arose. They forwarded me an e-mail of a school in Nanjing seeking English teachers. They wanted teachers with minimum 2-years experience, and a TESOL certificate. I thought I was shit out of luck, but I had the same feeling when I applied for a job once and got it, so I applied anyway.
After four long hours of revising my resume to meet the standards and needs of this school (I'm a perfectionist of therésumé), I sent it. I didn't hear back. Sad. Glad I didn't tell my family. Wait, **** was on vacation and did not receive my e-mail. Holy Jesus Mary Moses Joseph, they LOVED my resume and I had the job in no time. Telling my family and my boyfriend I was leaving for China in less than two months was NOT easy. The parents didn't see it coming. What the heck is in Nanjing, China? I don't know, I just go. I sort of lied to my parents to put their mind at ease. Truth is, I didn't know where I was living, what grade I was teaching, which school I was working in....I did not want them having a heart attack. Nobody tell them that until I come home.
"You're going to China?"
"Have you ever seen Taken?"
"What the hell do you want to go to China for?"
"You better be careful and trust no one."
People often ask me why I am doing this and why so fast. WHY WOULDN'T I WANT TO DO THIS? By the time I do all the research I am supposed to do, time will fly and time will be gone. You think China is my only destination in life? I'm doing it now. I hope that answers the question. Doubt it.
I am going on my fourth day now in China. It is completely opposite of how we live in America. Some if it is GREAT, and some not so great. Once again I am starving because my body is taking forever (it feels) to adjust to the smells, sanitation, and new taste of food. Even the "western" food tastes funky. All I had today were two bites of some nauseating grilled ham sandwich which I didn't want in the first place, a few mushy french fries that I was desperate for, and a plate of noodles (now they were yummy) a few hours ago. I've been on my feet all day long, sweating and avoiding puddles since I wore sandals (that's how bad the water is here: wear sneakers). I only wore sandals because the last two days left both my feet with the most colossal, hardest blisters I've ever had; bruised toenails; and torn red skin on the back of my ankles which have now turned reddish/black thanks to the dirt it has collected. I'm laying on a really stiff, iron bed with two white sheets and a thin, dense pillow. The Chinese actually PREFER this mattress. I just had to check to make sure it was even a mattress. It is. They put me in a hostel. It's alright. Had to pay my way last night or they were going to kick me out. JESIE, the company I work for, better reimburse me my yuan! I finally see my apartment tomorrow and find out the big news: roommate or no roommate. I just hope they aren't "weird." People who do this type of stuff are often WEIRD. I know what you're thinking. You're probably right. Keep it on the DL. I train bright and early tomorrow morning, but the affliction of today and excitement of tomorrow keep me up to do nothing but learn more Pinyin or write this blog. BLOG!
Backtrack to Distress
Can I just say that all of the excitement of getting here took a firm halt about three days before I left? Three reasons: 1) I was a nervous wreck over the unknown with no cell phone. I had many questions left unanswered and time was dwindling. 2)I had to leave my boyfriend. Ladies, would you like to leave your man for a year? Broke my heart and broke it even more to see him so upset. 3) It was time to sign the title of my Eclipse convertible to mi madre. Yes folks, she bought it. I felt like I was giving up my child. A wittle pretty chubby cheek cherub bundle of freakin' joy. CHINA BETTER NOTHING LESS THAN AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I DON'T LIKE AIRPORTS.
Thank you Jackie and Ashley for driving so early to say goodbye to me at the airport. That meant a lot to me. I am sorry if I was talking in circles. By the time you arrived, my knees were shaking and I had already cried twice. That is SO not like me. Reality was finally sinking in and I was scared.
I barely said bye to my dad because I did not want him to see me cry and I was just a straightup mess leaving Brandon. I finally walked away dragging the Volume l "scrapbook of love" he made me because my luggage was too heavy for it.
Now I'm alone. PROJECT CHINA INITIATES! I was still in emotional mode so after I sat in a chair for a while staring into space I hear LAST CALL! for my flight. WHAT!? Quick crying b***! Ran, got yelled at by several people, and totally smacked someone trying to get my luggage in the carrier compartment. THEY WERE FULL, geez.
Now it wouldn't be a true Alexa Adventure if I didn't screw something up, now would it?
I sat through an unmerciful 14 hour flight in a broken chair that did not slide back and a ton of turbulence. They fed us rice, chicken, vegetables, and a burrito. I barely caught my next flight to Shanghai because I had diarrhea so bad. Just made it. If you ever consider taking China Airlines, just know that their planes are about as modern as I Love Lucy. Don't even squint at the food. Talk about a pounding heart for four hours.
The best part was Shanghai Airport. I have no desire to re-live that experience, but I will for you. After waiting at the wrong luggage claim for twenty minutes, surrounded by Chinese people, I finally claimed my two LARGE suitcases. So picture this: I am rolling around two massive neon orange suitcases (smartest thing I did this trip was pick out that color), a full and weighted messanger bag, and a HUGE clear plastic bag full of a few things I had to take out because my luggage was too heavy. Nobody was standing with a sign that had my name on it and my phone didn't work because I was in China! Sweating, completely exhausted, and embarrassed, I moved forward with all my CRAP (that's all it was at that point) and kept looking. Eventually I found two guys with my sign and my China adventure began. I do not have a single picture to upload for you right now. I also said earlier in this post that I had an "afflicting" day. Worst day. Terrible day. My parents would be upset with me. Wish I spoke Mandarin other than hello, thank you, and how much does that cost. I don't know how foreigners who cannot speak english in our country do it. That story will come later. I'm alive, not kidnapped & I haven't had to use a squat toilet yet; that's all that matters. Ugh.
The good news is that tomorrow morning I train to work at the top International Language Program Center in all of Nanjing, and one of the highest rated in all of China. I didn't even find that out until yesterday! They are legit and these parents have money.