Of Course I Know Kevin

I just posted about our decision to stick with the devil we know for our job in China. We don’t really like it a bunch, but there are things we like. The new place would also have things we liked, but new things to dislike too. When we were being toured around the city, the woman in charge of seducing us to come there mentioned a Kevin for a foreign teacher they previously employed. Bella said, “Oh, I know Kevin.”

The woman was certain it was a different person. After all, there are 600,000+ foreigners in China, and 1.3 billion people in China, what are the odds you would know a specific foreign teacher in this ocean of people, 15 hours away from home. The woman started to describe Kevin in order to show it was a different Kevin, “He this, he that, he the other thing.” We said, “Yup, yup, yup.” She continued, “His wife is Chinese,” we said, “yup.” Sure enough, it was the Kevin we were looking for, or at least knew.

She shot a message off to his wife with the picture of me from WeChat. She responded quickly, “Oh yes, we know him!” We made plans with them for the next day to go for some coffee.

It was nice catching up, and having a chat with someone familiar. I don’t know many people in China. We had already made our decision about sticking with our current job before we went out with Kevin, and his wife. When we were out with them, he told me about how he used to work for the company we were interviewing with in the city.

“I used to work with the school you are here to visit. They treat their teachers pretty well. The problem was when they got their new headmaster [the current one] he looked at how much money they were spending on the several foreign teachers at the school. So, he said they were doing away with the foreign English teachers because it isn’t worth the money. They didn’t even wait until the end of the semester, he just fired us all right then, and there.” was the story Kevin had to tell. This story was not meant to scare me away, just making conversation, and answering my question about what it was like to teach for this company.

His story did not make our decision, but it was one more piece of evidence we had made the right choice. If the headmaster killed the program once, there really was nothing stopping him from killing it again without giving us any notice.

What a small world it is though. A random city, chosen from a pile of job offers, and we happen upon one of the 4 people I know in this country.

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Stupid Foreigner!

Earlier tonight I had a phone call from a number I didn’t know. Usually they are advertisements I don’t understand, but I decided to answer this one. This was a mistake. Buddy started his spiel, and at the first comma in his speech I interrupted, “I don’t speak Chinese, can I help you?” Apparently he has an issue with English, because he lost his mind at me when I spoke to him in English. He shouted into the phone, “Stupid foreigner, you are worthless to me!” Then he hung up on me.

I may be living in China, but you called my phone. Just another day in the life, just another day. 😐

Tesco Made My Day A Little Worse

I had a moment of annoyance in Tesco yesterday. Not overly proud of it. We had been waiting in line to pay for a few minutes already. There were 2 people left in front, and 1 woman left after us. 

The cashier told the woman in front of us to put up the lane blocker, she would be the last customer. The woman was confused as to why the cashier wouldn’t tell the current end of the line she was last, however she complied. The barrier hit my cart as it went up. 

The cashier had yet to even look at us, or the Thai woman behind us. She ignored my inside voice declaration, “Seriously…” I just wanted the cashier to look, shrug her shoulders, and offer an apology for the abrupt cutoff to the line. The two women in front of me were still staring at the cashier confused as to why she would cut us off midline. Acknowledgement from the cashier remained undelivered. 

I decided to go to another line, for a brief moment I was just going to wait in the line, pay, and go. This was, of course, an insignificant interaction in my day. Then I remembered there was a supermarket on the drive home. We could stop and get what we wanted there, save a flavour of pop I wanted. I let go of the cart where it was, and we exited stage left. No dramatics, no fury, just drop the cart, walk away. 

Patience was put on the back burner a little bit tonight. Should I have kept my cool? Probably. Did I keep me cool, not entirely. Maybe I needed a Snickers.

Good News Everyone!

Hello everyone! We are sorry to interrupt your day, we think it’ll be worth it in the end though. Then you can go about your day, yelling at other drivers, and what not.               This … Continue reading

Red Lights, Hot Tempers

Yesterday I was driving to school, and the light at the last intersection before the school was red, fully red. It had not just changed, it was long changed, and timer indicated it was halfway through. The green light for going straight across the intersection was in full bloom.

The law would state that traffic lights control all traffic through the intersection, whether foot, bike, car, or other. The practice is (largely), “I’m not in a car, so I don’t follow the traffic signals.”

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An oldish man on an electric bike flew across the stop line and into the intersection. His head did not glance left, right, or any other direction. I saw it coming from a mile away, “Bango!” He hit the passenger side door on little silver car. The bike tumbled over, and so did the man. The door had a huge dent in it, and the silver paint was scratched off to expose a metre stick worth of metallic door.

The man quickly jumped to his feet, with his bike still on the road. He was unambiguously the cause of the accident. This little matter of fact did little to deter his fire. He started raging across the young woman in the passenger seat, at the young man in the driver’s seat. The young man got out to help with the bike, and see the damage. The old man was yelling at him, things I picture to be, “Watch what you are doing you idiot. I am old, you should have waited for me first.” The young man started gesturing at the door panel, I am assuming the words were similar to, “Who is going to fix this mess?”

After a couple more gestures, and loud words exchanged, the old man shooed the young guy away, got on his bike, and drove away. The young man, possibly shocked, slowly walked around his car, and got back in to drive away. By this time, I was through the intersection on my green light, ready for another day.

 

Scotiabank Security…

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I called Scotiabank because they flagged my bankcard, the reason is, it is in China. Now, in late January I called Scotiabank, and told them my plans. I said, “I am going to China, I’ll be there for at least a year, if not more. Also, I will be travelling as much as possible, so please put a note on the account.” They told me it was no problem, then I called back the following day to confirm everything had been noted, and once again was told, “No problem, it is all there.” I haven’t used my bank card much here, but I have used it 4, or 5 times in the past 8 months.

Security questions answered, here we go:
Him: “Have you used your bankcard anywhere more than a small radius around the home address on the card?” 
Me: “Yes, I am in China, have been since February.”
Him: “Please answer my question, have you used your bank card at any other location than your home city?”
Me: “Yes, I am in China, and I am using it.”
Him: “Sir, I cannot help you until you answer my question. Has. your. bankcard. been. used. outside. your. home. city.”
Me: “I don’t know what you are asking.”
Him: *Audible sigh*
*skip the Abbot and Costello routine which lasted about 2 minutes*
Me: “Ok. I am in China. I have used my bankcard here. I do not understand what question you are asking when you say, ‘another location,’ if it is not me being in China” (at least my 7th mention of China).
Him: “You are in China? We do not have a record of you being in China.”
Me: “I called in January to tell you I am in China. Then I called back the following day to confirm there was a note on the file, to say I was going to China. I was told yes.”

Long story, less longer, the problem is fixed.

The question I want to ask is this, how slow is their security if I have been using my bankcard in China since February, and they only just flagged it in October… This gives me cause for pause. Seriously, had my card been stolen, what in the world took 8 months to flag it? Had this happened in February, the first time I tried to use it, I would have been annoyed, but I also would have thought, “Oh, hey, they have decent security. Terrible note taking skills, but security is on the ball.” Instead a thief would have had time to clean out all the pennies I keep in the bank (I am not wealthy by any means), and Scotiabank would have just been there sitting on their hands, doing nothing about it.

Below is how I felt about the 3rd time I answered his question with, “China,” and he told me, “Until you answer my question, I cannot help you.”

Beijing to the Middle East: Under 3 Minutes

This summer definitely ranks in my top summers. I had so much to do, so much to see, and so many places to go. At summer camp we played games, wrote tests (because China), and had fun. I climbed Phoenix Mountain, saw Beijing’s Great Wall, and the Forbidden City. I went to Dubai, and saw the desert, and beaches, aquariums, and dancing shows. I had a mini family reunion with my mother, brother, sister, and nephew there.

I was able to add 3 new countries to my list, bringing me to 24 total (UAE, Oman, Qatar being the new ones). Only another almost 200 to go.

Without further ado, here is the video.