Monday, August 20, 2007

Goodbye "Friedman". Hello Big Sister

In the interests of modesty, Friedman, Demo Crazy, Sins Or Ship, etc will be my words of choice to avoid embarassment.

News: Heza are no longer slated to work in dntn BJ, blocks away from the Forbidden City and Tiannamen Square. We have been switched to a school in South BJ. A sort of suburb. A sort of gated community. Of 50,000 or so, we've been told. It's surreal. Our apartment isn't quite ready, so until Sept, we're staying in a hotel-style room for visiting teachers. I'll post more on this, after i've had more time to process.

The school has been super helpful in helping us take care of the dirty work (such as our health tests and visas which problematically stated that we were permitted to stay for ZERO days!)
A couple lovely young women have been designated to help us with whatever needs we have, helping us get from A to B, to translating when needed, etc. That is wonderful. One of them stays in the room next door to us. She helped us set up our air con, cellphones, internet, etc, all of which would be a major pain in the arse w/ the language barrier. That is great.

But hold on just a sec. The other morning i went for a walk outside of the gates, and told Heza i'd be bk at 9:45am, as we'd arranged w/ Big Sis to get cellphones at 10. Upon my arrival, i learned that Big Sis was getting gray hairs due to the stress of me going missing! Big Sis pretty stressy when it comes to taking care of our business. This, just after i'd gotten over my initial cell phone retaliation, since i've never wanted one in the first place, and having to carry one so someone can keep tabs on me is a little frustrating. Now that we have cells, we get periodic check-ins. Yes mom, we're still out. Yes mom, we're coming home at 7. Yes mom, we're at home now.
Not that it's Big Sister's fault or anything. She seems like a very hard working young woman, surely under strict orders to keep us foreign devils safe, happy, accounted for, and out of trouble. I can only assume that this is a school responsibility passed down from the Glover Mint.
What this has meant so far is that plans and schedules are sometimes made for us, some necessary, some not. Also, it seems they like us teachers to hang out w/ the other teachers, which is great and all, except that it may be just because we're easier to keep track of that way.
Sigh... I should just mention that none of this is any huge surprise. The school's principal had told me that “they” tracked his phone calls, and always knew where he was. Sheesh, the things i get myself into.

1 comment:

Molly said...

I am thinking that they are keeping big tabs on you for now due to the fact that some people decide not to stay after they get there. These types of things are called "midnight runs" and consist of the teacher taking off and flying back home in the middle of the night. It is very common and, as you are an investment, they want to keep you safe and accounted for.

Count yourself lucky. Upon my arrival in Korea, I was shown to my temporary apartment and told goodbye. I didn't know how to get anywhere, get food, use money, speak language...nothin! I also was not shown how to turn the hot water on. I don't know about China but you have to heat the stuff up in Korea with a little dial on the wall. My first shower in Korea was pretty cold.

Certainly you will experience gong shows everywhere you go. Like the rollercoaster, you either enjoy the ride or you don't.

Now I am back to reading more them!