Easter passed pretty quietly, especially since I had to work. Everything’s been very low-key the past few weeks since I’m very low on funds. The weather’s been beautiful. We take walks, but that’s about it for entertainment right now.
Between the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, it’s been a bit of a magical time. Rumi has lost two teeth this week; back molars. The Easter Bunny was pretty good too, although he forgot to take price tags off of things. Yeah, it was noticed.
I do have a few observations I want to talk about though. Here’s the first one. At least once a week, in some class, I’m talking to my students and I ask them if they have any questions. They know they can ask me anything, about grammar, America, my life, anything. And at least once a week, someone will ask me, “Which child is our favorite? Which one do you love more?” I do not even understand this question.
My only guess is that since they only have one child, they think that if you have more than one, you must have a favorite? I can’t explain it to them. I can’t ask them to compare their brothers or sisters, of if their own mother has a favorite, because they don’t usually have any. If they do, the oldest son is the favorite, so what do you do when you have two daughters? It’s still such an off-putting question.
Another thing I would like to explain is something I keep seeing in the news. It’s about low-wage workers in China. This is not slavery. Some of these “low-wage” factory workers are my students. Here’s the thing that is very different. If you have a factory job here, you might only make $500-$750 a month. That’s true. However, you are provided with a very nice dorm, and a cafeteria that provides all of your meals, so that is purely pocket money. Every time, I ask people what the food is like, they always say they love it. They really like their dorms too. They also have gyms, sports, and after work events.
You also have to remember that most things are cheaper here, especially if they are found on the internet. A simple example would be the movies. If the girls and I go to the movies on a Monday afternoon, let’s say. The tickets for IMAX 3D movie are around $7each. Snacks are very cheap. When we watched Captain America, last year in America, we could only pick IMAX or 3D, and it was something like $54 on a Monday afternoon. Eating at a restaurant in china costs just as much as making something yourself, so people eat out a lot too.
Even I, with my much higher salary, am provided with a housing allowance, and transportation money. My housing allowance provides for a very nice apartment if you are single. Since I need something bigger, I have to add to it. My transportation is about $500 a month, I think, and then another $1000 twice a year, which is meant to be plane ticket home. Mine always ends up paying for something that comes up at that time, like a down-payment on an apartment, Christmas, clothes and shoes for the girls or other things.
I moved Raine up to second grade. She didn’t feel ready when I asked her a few months ago, but she said she feels ready now. She is so eager, no matter how difficult it is. Phonics, as you can imagine, is especially hard.
I am reminded by Facebook and Linkedin, that we have lived here in China for 4 years, and I have been with this company for four years. We have lived in this apartment for three years. Many expats celebrate their “Chinaversary.” We haven’t planned anything. All the girls talk about is wanting to go swimming. That will have to wait until after payday, but it has been since last August I think that we had last gone swimming. I used to try to take them at least once a month, it just hasn’t worked out.
A lot of things seem to be not working out exactly as I wish it would. My landlord has become lazy about fixing things. We have a shower door that won’t move, a burner that has never worked, and the slowest internet in the world. I signed my fourth contract, which is good, but there is no raise, extra vacation days, or extra transportation. I’m kind of in a “blah” burned-out kind of mood. I need a vacation, and there is nothing on the horizon. Our best friends here are in New Zealand for a month. They are our social life, so it’s been awfully quiet too.
Ok, so random thoughts for Spring, when there isn’t much else to do.