Anyhow - I was supposed to get out of there at basically 3:00 when I got back from visiting old boss to try and sort out some paperwork. And... that didn’t happen
That night I was supposed to (and did... and it ended up being wonderful by the way) go make pizza with the friend. I’m more or less the one who is responsible for the crust. I have magical kneading digits - what can I say.
At 1:00 I was briefed on how to teach some IELTS (International English Test) speaking classes that I am responsible for for the next three weeks. Starting the next day. Cant say that particularly brightened my mood - though having work to do finally does make me feel a bit more useful than the cute little lame duck of a foreigner sitting in an office.
Slightly before 1:00, arriving at 12:00 was the grand lady herself - newboss. We got to talking for a while over tea (as always). As a precursor, before I go and explain the subject matter of our conversation, I want to say that this kind of conversation does not fuel my ambition like I used to think it would. Right now, I dont even know what I want... which makes the situation worrisome and frustrating for everyone, because I cannot be bought and secured, and the longevity of my “corporate loyalty” can be very questionable. The only thing to be done as far as “buying me” at this stage of my life, is to keep me feeling like i’m learning something that I deem worth learning. Pretty subjective - Im aware - Im not trying to justify it, only state that this is in fact the case.
Water on the tea-leaves, we get to talking. Once again she is talking about stock, and being shareholder and how she wants to make me a significant part of her company. She is pretty set on trying to convince me to stay for at least 5 years. She turns to the long-term benefits that the job would have for me, including a fuller understanding of China, not to mention the quality of my Chinese by that time. I would be a shareholder in a company that she is bent on getting onto the NASDAQ. For the kind of time she is asking, she essentially offered to give me the apartment I now live in (assuming I understood that conversation correctly), basically a $57,000 value in a really convenient spot. Things along those lines.
It all sounds nice - not gonna lie. However... I dont know if its what I really want. Those things certainly are not my direct motive. So I assured her that I was open to the idea, but completely unable to promise that much time. Her response? Take it easy, and then you can decide.
Thats absolutely right.
After I finally got out of there, I zoomed to a wine import store and picked up a Chilean phenomenon called “Stony River.” Its only called “Rio de Piedras” on the back... but im not too worried cause its got a seriously bodied flavor profile.. From there I flew to my apartment, dodging humans and automobiles alike on my lightning steed. Its like traffic volumes correlate to my desire to not be in it, but instead with friends.
I made it to my friends house mentally playing an incredibly vain and and self-centered version of “Eye of the Tiger.” Upon arriving, I was wearing my awesome surgeon’s mask and holding the bottle of wine. I asked them all sweaty like “AM I BEAUTIFUL!?!I” took the sponge (basically a dough starter for you non-bakers) that I had my friend make, and boosted it up to full on dough status. We then chatted it up while we waited for my Oklahoman friend’s new Argentinian friend to arrive.
Honestly - the rest of the evening wasn’t all that consequential. I just really enjoyed it. I like having friends to be around and enjoy, and be enjoyed by. These days im my own best friend. I go shopping with me, and admire my own sense of fashion and make snide remarks about horrendous shops that should be renamed such things as “The ill-dressed Homosexual” (Urban Renewal... FOUL) I’m not into bringing sexual orientation into judgements - left that behind when I was about 14.... but this store gave off a rank and ill-suited vibe.
I heartily laugh at my own jokes in the middle of a store when they don’t even make it out of my mouth. I think i’ve definitely crossed over the line into an unstable sense of “sanity” - that means i’ve got some serious creative potential right?!
Right now is a moment where I feel I am on the edge of a knife to pull out a Tolkien term. I’ve made some really cool friends at the “small languages” VIP center. They like me, I like them - mutual interest in people that live relatively near by?! no way. Not possible. The only problem is that I’m worried that certain headhunters might try and allocate me to the IELTS center instead because I can actually do an immediately monetarily measurable job (teaching... thats what the students come for right? pshaw). Im worried that pragmatism will outweigh the ideas that were discussed when I was originally brought in, and I won’t be in the environment I was looking for.
If I get shuffled off to be the groups advertising/ “the popular teacher”...who doesn’t necessarily do anything much better than the other teachers... but is really well liked - I can just about guarantee that I would get distant and go into self-preservation mode for the year and then move on.
I really hope that this doesn’t turn into that. I don’t think it will, because Boss Lady has far too much of a vested interest in my happiness to let Headhunter just put me where “it works.” The possibilities do still exist though, and they are a cause for concern within me.
OK Saturday - Day 5 Out
With severely limited prep time (due to being alerted on rather short notice and my own choice to go spend time with friends *acknowledged*), I taught 3 Speaking classes today. Out of the corner of my eye when I was making photo copies, I noticed one of the boys from the level 3 GAC class. Yea... thats right, THE fashionable pain in the ass from the level 3 class studies IELTS at the school I moved to.... on the other side of the city. Freaking ridiculous twist of fate. He recognized me “before” I he, and greeted me. I’m still not sure if he was being snide or if that is just me being snarky on the inside and not wanting to like him because he was such a pain at the other school.
I got a call five minutes before closed the class, and naturally ignored it. Getting in touch with the blighter after class - it was the kids school, telling me that the demo class was moved up a half hour. My generous buttock it is! not a chance. “Its going to be at the same time I was told, I’ve got preparing to do still, not to mention getting there.”
Schools in China (Zhengzhou at the very least) have no concept of forward scheduling. They think its fair to change things / plan them the day of, and that you will bend over and accept it because they planned it, and their normal workers accept it. Thats not fly. I’m all for cultural sensitivity, but I learn culture to operate within it and meet those who belong to it on a level they will understand, not be bound by it.
I can roll with those punches. Thats not a problem. The problem comes to a head when I ask myself “why.” If it is to create a situation wherein I am just enabling someone else's business success, then I feel like I’ve betrayed myself. If its a mutually beneficial relationship then fine and dandy. I love to serve and benefit others, but I don’t want to be someones stepping stone - some sort of pavement that is only regarded for its ability to hold up overhead traffic.
I decided that tonight was most definitely a massage night. In the process of my hour long knee-toe massage I decided that I could totally live out a year improving my Chinese, throw everything else to the wind, go learn how to give the most incredible foot massages ever (the girl said she trained in about 2-4 months), and then move on to Taiwan for another step in my learning curve... Sounds exciting to me ^_^.
And today ended once again with me being tired.