Friday, May 27, 2016

Schrodinger's Dog

I wasn't going to write a post about Lucy until I had a resolution to the Lucy Situation. Because, you know. You can only talk about your dog so much until people start rolling their eyes and calling you the Crazy Dog Lady.
But I'm in limbo, and I couldn't resist this post title when I thought of it.
No, seriously. This post exists because I am cracking up at my own joke. I guess it's good that I can laugh. Right now I'm making the arrangements (or rather, asking my dad to make the arrangements) to send Lucy to Bamako. It's a lot less complicated to send her to West Africa than China.
My reservation on China Southern Airlines (and therefore, my "application" to take Lucy) was cancelled. Ironically, it was cancelled because I did not book/pay in time. But I did not pay because I was waiting for confirmation about the dog - something they told me to wait to do until I'd gotten confirmation about the dog. Oh, and I was told after 4 days to "have patience," but I was not told what the time limit on my reservation was. 
It's a bit ridiculous. I also know it's my first brush with the customs and culture I'll be living in for the next two or more years, and so I'm really praying for patience, and also praying that I meet a Mandarin speaker in the next five minutes who can call and talk to them for me.
So right now, Lucy is going to China and Mali. Both. She is currently being booked to travel to two different continents and countries, on two different airlines, going in two totally different directions. She is going to travel farther than most human beings travel in a lifetime.
And meanwhile she sits clueless on the front porch, licking her butt.
This good mood and somewhat peppy post is sponsored by the fact that I had car trouble that was easily resolved (a replaced bolt on my my tailpipe rather than a replaced tailpipe). It's the most expensive bolt that I've ever purchased, but, much less expensive than a tailpipe.
So, in a kind of roundabout way, I think it was God's way of reminding me that He's taking care of me. I could have been in a far worse situation, but I was able to get immediately to the shoulder of the highway, so the tailpipe/muffler only dragged about 10 seconds. My insurance covered the tow truck. I had a lovely conversation about living in West Africa and the importance of visiting overseas with the tow truck man. My dragging tailpipe was fixed in less than five minutes. And, I got the much overdue oil change and tire rotation that I needed.
How does this connect to taking my dog to China? I don't know. I guess it's just a reminder that whatever happens, it's in God's hands. I'm not being flippant or naive about it. I'll be really...upset and disappointed if Lucy has to go to Mali, but at the same time, I know she'll have a truly terrific time - she'll gain a sister and a kitten, and she'll have a million more people to love on her than she does now. Part of me just think I should send her because of that. And, if she goes to China, I think she'll have a terrific time, as well, because I suspect there will be more community around me to love on her, as well. Either way, I think Lucy will be happy. Either way, she won't end up back in the animal shelter, which was my promise to her when I adopted her.
Until then, we'll just call her Schrodinger's Dog, and I'll let her lick her butt and watch the birds on the front step in blissful peace until she has to be packed up to fly, fly away to Africa or Asia.


Update 6/1 - Rather than writing a whole new post, I figured I'd just add on to this one as the crazy continues...

Yesterday, I finally got through to the New York office of the airline, after being on hold for 24 minutes and being hung up on, and then on hold another 24 minutes. I started to explain my situation to the woman, and that I really needed the New York office to approve my request, only to discover that...she was in Guangzhou, in China. I don't know if the New York office was so inundated with calls that they forwarded mine to Guangzhou?

She then proceeded to give me two numbers for the New York office...wait for it...one of the numbers she gave me was the number I had used to call her, and the other number turned out to be the office in Los Angeles.

So I called the other number (and my phone told me it was in LA), and finally, after another 30 minutes or so on hold, go through to LA, only to be told that I really needed to speak to someone in the New York office. And, yes, the woman gave me the number for the New York office that had actually called China.

If you're following this, you're doing a better job than I am.

Oh, and my reservation was cancelled again last night at 9:00 PM, because it had been a week since I called.

This trust thing is a lot harder than it sounds on paper.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Oh, By The Way

By the way, I'm moving to China in about two and half months.

Yeah, China. That really, really populous country over in Asia thataways overthere somewhere.

I looked over my posts since I got my new job at an international school in China three months ago, and I realized that I don't think I've even mentioned it. I'm pretty sure everyone that I know knows, and everyone who reads this blog are people that I know, so I probably don't need to make this announcement. But just in case...

I'm moving to China in less than three months to teach at an international school in a smallish city in China.

Before reading on, here are some Frequently Asked Questions:

FAQ:

  1. Do you know anyone at the school? No. But I'm getting to know people "virtually" before I go, so I already feel like I know a couple of people, at least on an acquaintance level.
  2. How did you hear about it? Through MK acquaintances and lots and lots of research. I was hired at an international schools job fair.
  3. Why China? Why not? No, seriously, why not? I had job offers in the Philippines, Bulgaria, China, and Korea. It came down to the better financial package and what would seem to offer the most long-term opportunities.
  4. So, is it a Chinese school? No, it's an international school. Many of my students (probably 2/3s) will be from Asia - Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and mainland Chinese students with dual citizenship. The rest will be from everywhere else. It's an IB school, and the curriculum is in English (other than the Mandarin classes, of course). 
  5. What will you be teaching? High school and Middle School. I'll probably have 4 or 5 preps again.
  6. Is it a Christian school? Nope. I really need to make a living salary. There aren't a lot of international, Christian schools that offer that option. A few, but not a lot. And, I think secular international schools need Christian teachers, just like public schools need Christian teachers.
  7. Do you speak any Mandarin? Of course not.
  8. Have you ever been to China? I've been to Taiwan. I know, it's not the same. 
  9. How are your chop stick skills? Mediocre. I got pretty good in Taiwan, but that was...almost 10 years ago!
  10. What about Lucy? Working on bring her with me. It's been complicated. If my plans fall through, she goes to Mali with my dad in a month. But I think I have a plan...getting my puppy to China has been the most emotionally draining part of this whole process.
  11. How can you just pack up and leave? Won't you miss it here? Um, I'll miss things about living in the States (like Chic Fila and Target - two organizations that probably aren't often placed in the same sentence together these days) and the friends I've made. But I'm hardwired to live overseas. These past three and half years have really shown me how much I am better suited to living overseas.
  12. What about grad school? Didn't you just start? I was hoping you wouldn't ask. So...yeah. I'm probably not going to be able to complete that particular program. But there are online options (unfortunately, not great ones for English) and summer intensives. I'm looking at a TESOL certificate from UMBC with the option of the Masters, and I'm also looking at a really cool summer Masters program with the Breadloaf School of English. 
  13. What about your parents' house??? I don't know. It's not my house. They can figure it out.
*I am not actually being this flippant about it. The house thing is almost as stressful to me as the dog thing. But...it's not my house. So, I can't live my life around the fact that my parents own a house. 


It's a two year commitment, and I hope it will be longer. I'm sort of long-term-planning that international school teaching is going to be the rest of my teaching career. I have no idea if that will be the case, but as of right now, I'm moving rather permanently out of the United States, at least until my brother and sister-in-law have children too adorable to stay away from (no pressure or anything, Ben and Denee), or my parents move back to the US and need me around (also, no pressure, parentals - I'm not ready for you to be so infirm that you need my care). Kind of weird, way-in-the-future reasons to move back to the States, but at the moment, I don't see myself moving back, permanently, for a long time.

I'm not sure why I haven't officially made a big deal about it on the ol' blog. Probably because a lot of my reasons for moving are really personal and I'm not really ready to broadcast them on the world wide web quite so publicly as a public blog. And partly because everyone I know knows that I'm moving.

I got the job back at the beginning of February after a fairly long and involved process of joining two job search agencies, sending out over thirty different inquiries to schools all over the world, attending a job fair, receiving 4 very serious job offers, and finally settling on my new school (the name of which I prefer to keep mum simply for privacy sake). It was a remarkably stressful experience, and I'm glad it's done, for now. I guess I'll have a somewhat similar process the next time, but hopefully I'll know more people and have a wider network.

So, long story short, I'll be moving to China. I don't know the future of this blog. I have started a private, post-password protected blog over on Wordpress. Because internet freedoms are so limited in China, I don't even know if I'll be able to really access blogger or Wordpress when I get to China (though I will be subscribing to a VPN, and my school has a government-approved VPN, as well). If you know me, and don't already get my news update emails, email or message me with a request for the password (and to get my emails!). I'd love to get more followers!

Anyway, thought I'd just mention that I'm moving overseas again. It's kind of a big deal. I just haven't really made it a big deal.