Ciao Entry

Well, I’ve been a bit shit at posting, and I hate that I’m now a blogger that is posting that statement. I mean, like it’s your problem I’ve been verbally constipated. Hell, I should be thanking you for even making this part of your day.

Thank you.

I guess it’s not so much a lack of words, just a lack of new. And that is changing rather quickly, but it seems pre-emptive to go on and on about things that have yet to happen. So, things that HAVE happened: 1) I’ve finally had opportunity to repay my debt to GlobalFreeLoaders.com and I’ve got a really cool Italian guy 意大利人 staying with me waiting for his motorbike to clear customs. Gionata, or John, originally requested a place to stay just before I left for Haerbin, so I manage to hook him up with some friends (thanks Victoria and Adria) in town for a week before bringing him up to my neck of Dalian.

We get along really well, and it’s not been a burden at all to have him around. Quite the contrary, it’s like having any guest, I get to revisit all the stuff about China that has become commonplace in my day-to-day, but is really pretty cool (mostly food).

He’s on this amazing multi-year trek around the globe on his bike. You can check out more about him at his site. He’s having a hell of a time getting his bike through customs after arriving here from Korea, but hopefully it all works out quickly (and inexpensively) for him, not because I don’t want him around, but because I imagine Dalian will lose its charm, here in the depths of winter, in short time.

The other thing that’s been keeping me away from posting is that I’ve picked up my love for photography again and have been trying to dust off my knowledge about the subject. I’m gradually accepting the limits of my new camera – it might be new, but it’s still not an SLR – and am beginning to see what I can do with it and what I can do in Photoshop. I should have galleries up on the flip-side of this weekend.

Other than that, I’ve been sorting out The Great Next Step (I was going to call it The Great Leap Forward, but turns out someone had used that previously). This past week I finally met up with Danni, the woman I’m contracted through for my new job. I signed my contract with her and then went on a bit of a mad scavenger hunt for the things I needed to get to her so she could go to Shenyang and sort out my new – much more legit – visa.

I’m learning more and more just how “dangerous” it’s been working on an F Visa (for the authorities reading this, please regard all this as a joke). Future School makes it all seem rather common, and simple. Even make it seem like it’s your idea to come here on it. But well. See, an ‘F’ visa is a Business Visa, designed for those foreigners looking to come to China to work out some business deals, to (for some strange reason) intern at a Chinese company, or to lecture. You are very much NOT supposed to teach with one. That said, near everyone I’ve met who works at Future School has an ‘F’ visa, for the simple reason that they’re much easier to get (no health check, and half the processing time). Thanks to what I must assume is a fair amount of Guanxi and a system more corrupt than a food critic, the whole process works smoothly. I’ve never been hassleed by customs agents, PSB officials, nor police officiers. Though I wouldn’t want to put it to the test.

Anyway, as of a couple weeks, it’ll be all copasetic and I’ll have my ‘Z’ visa and officially be a Foreign Expert. Nice title eh? It took me finally breaking down and having blood tests here for the health check. It’s not that I was really scared of giving blood in China, but well.. I’ve seen the standards of everything else… and I like being blood-disease free.

I’ve signed my 1-year contract with Danni, and Maggie’s spending her free-time apartment shopping. Oh, she’s got a lot more free time since she quit her job (they kept dicking her around about pay and it wasn’t enough pay to be dicked around about.. so…).

To recount my new job. What I’ll be doing is working at a local primary school teaching 35 minute lessons to classes of 30-40 kids. I work Monday to Friday for a total of about 16.5 hours a week, and get paid double what I’m making now at Future School for 15 hours a week. However, I do have to pay for my own apartment, but that’s a blessing as it allows Maggie and I to get our own place.

I can’t believe that I’ve only three more weeks at Future School. I will be sad to leave it behind, as for all my gripes and whatnot, they’ve treated me right and I don’t have a problem recommending them to other foreigners that are considering coming to China for the ESL experience.

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