Plans for the Future

So you may or may not know that I applied to work for the Spanish government in their Cultural Assistant program and was accepted. I have decided to go and I will be in Castilla La Mancha from October to May/June.  It’s very exciting to be going back to Spain. I love speaking Spanish and I am beyond ecstatic  to see my madre and my Spanish family, including the CIEE staff in Alicante! It’s a very exciting opportunity for me.

This program is great for a few reasons.    1) I get paid 700 Euros a month (euros to usd=$$$)      2) I only work 12-16 hours a week and I can do private lessons on the side   3) This is the easiest way to get a visa to live in Spain and work at the same time because technically this is an internship study program. So at the end I get some sort of certificate    4) I get to live in Spain AGAIN!     5)  I’m going to be travelling Europe love love love this     6) My girl Jenna, who I studied abroad with, will also be in Spain  7) I’ll get to spend a lot of time with my Spanish family!

I have to go through the whole visa process again from getting another background check to going to NYC for the visa appointment. And of course I’ll be starting up another blog to share all my experiences! I haven’t come up with a name yet, so if you have any idea’s let me know!

But that all happens when I get back. Right now I’m just working- teaching English  and planning the trip with my mom in August. That will be a trip of a lifetime and we’ll have many stories to tell.  And I’ll share them right here with all of you!

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Likes and Dislikes  

As we get closer and closer to the end of my time and China, I’m beginning to think about the things I will miss and the things that I hope I never have to see, hear or deal with again.

Don’t get me wrong China is a great place to live. It isn’t anything like you’d imagine. In fact, it’s like living in any other big city besides everything being in Chinese. I really like living in China. Of course, I have those days where “I hate China” but truthfully I like life in China. China is a communist country and they monitor the internet, so I have to use a VPN just write on this blog and use Facebook.

I work for the government, and if you’ve read my 2 posts about my company you’d know that it is unpredictable and changes constantly. I love my students but I don’t really like my co-workers besides Jared, I love Jared. Thankfully, the extra class we had has ended and the Philippine lady has come back to work so our work load has gone back to normal. (See my previous post Working at Chongqing Multinational HRM )

I get paid alright for what I actually do but sometimes I do not get paid enough with all the changes going on. I like how cheap everything is. So I don’t have to spend a lot of my monthly paycheck because it is so cheap here. Food is super cheap, taxi’s are cheap, and my work pays for my apartment and my lunch every day so I have it pretty good. I don’t need much money to survive here so I’m saving as much as I can. (aka spending money on traveling to places like Hong Kong 2 months ago and Zhangjiajie/Avatar mountains this weekend SUPER EXCITED)

I’ve made a list of both good and bad things about living in Chongqing. There are obviously good and bad things about every city and town. China is no different and even with all the things I will never miss about living here, I will miss many things and I will especially miss the friends that I have grown so close with over the last 4 months. I believe that the people we meet truly make a place feel like home. I can say that  the family I’ve made here in China has made this my home for the past 4 months. I will be sad to go, but there are exciting things in my future.

Things I like:

1. Everything is so cheap (especially food, and healthy food)

2. Life is like anything other city, besides the Chinese

3. There are so many places to travel to

4. Chinese people are so friendly and welcoming to foreigners

5. Learning Chinese

6. Cutest little kids on the planet

7. My students, I seriously love them!

8. All the friends I’ve made… Jared especially, idk what I’d do without you man.

9. There are Wal-marts, Metro’s and Carrefour to buy all kinds of foreign foods

10. I’m lovin the veggies and the spicy food

 

Things I don’t like:

1. Summer is H-O-T with a double T and HUMID to the double D

2. Chinese tones are hard to learn

3. People spitting everywhere… all day every day

4. Seeing little kids butts all the time/ seeing them go to the bathroom on the street

5. Everything is last minute AKA work (see any of my 3 work posts)

6. Ehhh work

7. The smog… where is the sun?

8. Was that a cockroach? Crapppppp

9. China is hugeee….Not enough time to go everywhere

10. Why is everything an organ or body part when you go out to eat with Chinese people?

11. I have to boil all my water (not fun when you just want to put some water in your coffee pot in the morning)

Working at Chongqing Multinational Part 3

And the saga continues…

I told you China has issues especially when it comes to working. The longer I stay here the more I hate my job and my boss. I love my students but this work environment is ridiculous.

The newest issue was that Jared and I were almost screwed out of our over time. In the month of May, not only did we have an extra class for ground staff or people who want to work in the airport which gave us more classes, the other foreign teacher also just randomly took 2.5 weeks’ worth of leave without notice. So Jared and I had to cover her classes as well. This was our busiest month so far. We worked double what we were supposed to be working according to our contract and even though it wasn’t pleasant and we didn’t want to do it, we knew we would get some nice overtime pay. That day came last Friday when I was called into the office to discuss my overtime. I was told my overtime pay would be 180 yuan or 30$. I was outraged and on the verge of loosing it and crying at the same time. I controlled myself but even arguing with them about it they just kept saying “this is how it is”. They wanted me to sign a paper saying it was ok and I said no and walked out. I found Jared and explained the situation.

Basically what I was told was that no matter what time we arrived or what time we left, we only got paid between the hours of 9-11:40 and 1-5. And besides that, we only get paid if we are teaching. Of course Jared and I were never told that and we had previously gotten overtime in the amount of 1200 yuan or 200$. They said we get paid by class no by hour and again we were never told that and our contract says we get paid by hour.

 Jared and I were furious and we had a meeting after lunch and basically we argued some more and said it was non-negotiable. We don’t work and not get paid. So they accepted and we got the overtime we deserved because really what could they do? We weren’t going to be doing any more teaching unless we got the money we deserved. We said we understand all the rules now, especially since you’ve just laid them out 20 times and we will follow them. These rules didn’t exist before and even if they did no one was ever told about them.  I was especially upset because they tried to blindside me and they didn’t want Jared and I together. They had come and gotten me while Jared was teaching and I was alone in the office.

 So now, we are only at work from 8:55-3:3pm. And we have gotten 3 pages worth of new rules that they want us to sign but Jared and I have no intention of signing because it’s not only ridiculous but we get deducted money for EVERYTHING! No I don’t agree and no I won’t sign that. I have 2 months left, I don’t need to be told what uniform to wear on what day and I will not wear the same uniform for like 5 days in a row that’s gross. And I’m not gonna say it’s ok for you to deduct money from me because of that. If I didn’t have only 2 months left, I would have quit already. Our office is just always changing and there is no consistency. Our boss is a conniving woman who treats everyone with disrespect. When all the arguing was going on about the overtime, our boss didn’t even look up from her computer screen or try to participate in the conversation. My answer to everything is no now because 1) I don’t make enough money for this crap 2) you couldn’t pay me enough to stay 3) I don’t want to put in extra work 4) I’m not appreciated and my boss just wants to cheat me out of money and deduct money from me for retarded and ridiculous rules that she doesn’t even have to follow.

 Jared and I emailed our program coordinator Kelvin, who is awesome, and both our emails were the longest emails you’ll ever see. We were and are very unhappy with our company and our boss. And now that Kelvin knows what has been going on, he too is upset. He has called the lady in charge of CIEE participants in Chongqing and they are in the office next door and they too are upset. So there have been meetings and there are more meetings. I’m sure there will be more meetings and actually we just had one today where they said they just wanted us to be happy.

We came to the conclusion (after they repeated the same things like 20 times) that there needs to be more communication. I came up with the awesome idea for a handbook, who would have thought, and they are going to include everything about the job and related to the job in that. Jared and I will be writing normal things related to jobs in America so they know and that there can be more communication. We also are coming up with a list of things we like and dislike so that they can try to accommodate us and we can combine Chinese and American culture. They told us to just talk to them when we have a problem (20 times) because that was the problem honestly. They never tell us anything so we never know and everything gets completely messed up and confusing. I feel better after the meeting because it wasn’t just our boss, the dragon lady, but another boss from a different department and some other people. Our boss is still as bad as I said but the rest of the company is great. Seriously, it is just our department. I love Miss Liu, the boss from the office next door and her staff because they are all so nice and we have made friends with them.

Oh well, I have less than 2 months left and I am so excited for my mom to come to China, to go home, to see all my friends and family, and then to jet off to Spain. Yupp. That’s right. You heard me right. I’m going to Spain. Sometimes, I can’t believe that this is my life and all the amazing things I get to do. Sometimes, we don’t appreciate life and we have to stop and enjoy the little things in life because it is so easy to get caught up in life and forget about all the things that make us happy. Life is too short not to enjoy it and for me travelling is what I love. I can’t wait to see my madre again because I have missed her and speaking Spanish and that European lifestyle.

20 Things I’ve learned about myself

  1. Sometimes I need to be a better listener and focus on others instead of myself
  2. I am braver and stronger than I thought
  3. I actually like walking places and not needing a car… the metro is very convenient
  4. I am not the best teacher nor will I ever be but I have the best intentions
  5. Adjusting to life abroad was much easier the second time around- I deal well with change… although I am still a planner (call me if you need a travel agent) but I am spontaneous too
  6. I’m a pretty good cook and I like to entertain and I’m kinda good at it
  7. I can kill bugs when I have to (aka small cockroaches and spiders)
  8. I like spicy food… a lot but not so spicy I can’t feel my tongue
  9. I depend on and use the internet way more than I should
  10. I can only stand being by myself in my apt for so long before I have to just get and do something, anything from a walk or a trip to the store
  11. I have to force myself to go to the gym cuz let’s be honest it’s hard to get into that routine
  12. I hate hot and humid weather and cold and humid weather so much but I gotta say the former is worse and its barely even summer yet
  13. When I go abroad I feel like I never have enough clothes or shoes… maybe because my closet at home is hugeee and I have a ton of options whereas here I have a few options all the time
  14. I really like reading and I’ve read more books in the last year than I did during my entire life
  15. I like learning other languages and after your second language it gets easier… not saying it isn’t hard cuz it is when you teach English for a living
  16. I can live with very basically… I don’t really need all those things we collect over the years or the things we just want to have and I find I want them less and less
  17. I started doing yoga and I really like it… I’m not a professional or anything but I’m trying and I feel good the next day
  18. I like red wine and am developing my wine palate… sweet-dry
  19. I don’t want to keep moving around for the rest of my life, I do want to settle down and still travel
  20. I have no idea what I want to do with my life and that is totally ok because I am going to travel and move around and give myself time to figure out what I want  and what to get a Master’s in

 

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Owling: Owling is an Art

Owling refers to the act of sitting in a perched position while looking off into the distance as to mimic the posture of an owl.

When I first got to China I was obsessed with this. It only lasted two months nbd. (no big deal) As you might know, I have an Instagram full of people owling including myself and some friends. You are more than welcome to follow me: hyperlink—alexis_pellerin. Anyway, I had an obsession for a while so I’ve put this little collection together for all you owling newbies like me who are interested in why these people owl so frequently.

I actually find myself doing it myself. I’ll tell you a secret, owling is a necessity in China. Why you might ask? Well owling is soo common in China because you never know what has been on the ground or ledge or whatever it is you want to sit on besides a chair or stool. No but really, if you come to China, don’t just sit wherever because that’s gross. There has been a lot of things on whatever it is your thinking of sitting on that you REALLY do want to know about let alone sit on. I love China don’t get me wrong, BUT I will never get used to the constant sound of people hacking up their lungs and spitting everywhere and anywhere. And it’s not just like regular clear spit, it’s like full out that just came from some part of your body that I don’t want to even know. Honestly, I will never get used to that. I understand why people do it, the air here is not clean and the smog can get really bad, so bad that when you look out your window you can’t even see the building next door. (that has only been a few days) So needless to say, your lungs are not in the healthiest state and if I do a lot of things outside my nose starts to run.

On top of that, as cute as these little kids are here, some of the cutest children ever, they are not cute anymore when they squat/owl and just do their business on the street, in the park, or their parents hold them over trash cans wherever they are, including stores like Ikea for example. I was there with some other Americans and we saw legit 3 parents hold their kids over a trash can, and the kicker is that the restroom was literally less than 500 feet away. Ahh China. And then there are the dogs that do their business too. So you see owling is a necessity in China. Anyway, now that you know why people do that and why you should too if you come to China, here are the best of the best owling pics I’ve taken. Enjoy:

 

 

If you thought owling was cool or weird or interesting you should check out what came before and after the owling trend. There’s also vadering, batmanning, horsemanning, supermanning, spidermanning, batting, etc