The Best Laid Plans

I have so many things looming over my head, and all I want is a vacation!  I want to go to the hot springs but I keep putting it off until I can get all of this paperwork squared away.  It seems very over-whelming, I have to say.  I almost wonder if it’s unattainable.  The requirements are ridiculous.

I need a criminal check from Ohio, notarized.  I need my college diploma notarized with a letter from the Secretary of State.  I can pay a service a lot of money to do this, but they’re such a strange requirements.  I have already done the 5 other documents I could do.  My company needs to do 5 more.  Mary, in HR said she would do all of these things, but not until my official last day around the end of July.

If my new HR person says one more time, “It would be easier if you could go back to your home country to do these things,” I will scream!  And today she said, “well you can get a friend to get your criminal check from the FBI and then take it to the Chinese Embassy (Where is that?  D.C.?) and get it notarized…blah, blah,blah.”  I am not spending $3000 on a flight back, and I’m not asking friends to take a road trip to D.C.

I was getting really frustrated, and then I remembered I’m on a lot of Chinese ex-pat sites, so I asked general questions and got solid answers from people who have done it.  It’s not as hard as it’s all made out to be.

I’ve been trying to get a day or two off to do this running around, but my supervisor won’t let me.  I thought that technically now I am a substitute, but I guess not.  Then my supervisor told me that there were complaints about me lately.  Well, this is a surprise since I can see my student evaluations, and they have been straight 5 out of 5s for a month.  I told her that, and she said, “They were just being nice.”  WTH?!  I found out, it was just one bad day, by the way.  My line graph is straight 5s, then one 4.4, then back to 5.  I don’t know who had a stick up their butt that day, but, whatever.

So I told Stephen, and he said that maybe she just doesn’t want me to be more relaxed since I’m leaving.  If anything, I’ve been very light-hearted and free, so I think my classes have been better than ever.  But honestly, after she said that, I don’t care anymore.  If that was her intention, it backfired.

My friend, Andy came to visit.  He came out here and had lunch with us, and hung out.  It was so good to see him.  Andy used to work with me in downtown in Xujaihui but now he’s retired in Bangkok.   He’s from Columbus and he’s Polish so we spent a lot of holidays together eating pieroghis and stuff.  The next day, an old student of mine visited.  It was a week for feel-good visits from old friends.

It’s been in the 90’s everyday, and we’ve had some powerful thunderstorms, which are very rare here.  I can count the number of times I’ve seen lightening. But on the way home from the grocery store last week, we saw our first rainbow since we’ve lived in China.  That was followed by an absolutely beautiful sunset on the river.  Sadly, no one had a camera.

I needed water therapy so bad.  I wanted to go swimming and take a bath, and just be in water.  I really thought I was going crazy from stress.  Last Tuesday, I found out there was nothing I could do HR paperwork-wise, so I booked a room at the hot springs.  They have a big gorgeous pool, soothing hot springs, and a huge tub –just what I needed.  As I booked the room, I got a very good one on sale for less than $50.  Crazy!  Maybe because it was same day?

We get there, and we have a bigger, nicer room than usual, but there’s no bathtub!  Seriously?!  The whole resort is empty, by the way.  Ok, well swimming and soaking will make up for it.  So we go straight to the pool.  The girls jump in, I take a picture, then I jump in.  And I notice green mold spores everywhere!  Just floating EVERYWHERE!  I made the girls get out, and I told the staff.  They said it was leaves.  I scooped it up.  It is clearly not leaves.  They said, it’s summer.  No kidding!


So we walk around the garden and decide to try a few hot springs, and all but one was closed!  This is ridiculous!  I came for water therapy, and I was being completely denied.  I got my money back for the pool and hot springs.  I asked the girls what they wanted to do.  It was a hundred degrees or more, so hiking was out.  They just wanted to go home.  I checked out about an hour after checking in.  They offered to refund me and I got it before I even got home.  I have never left a hotel before.

It did nothing for my mental health though.  Water is the best therapy for me, but it just wasn’t happening.  I took a nap at home, and I was a little better.

Finally, we went swimming with our friends yesterday to beat the heat.  Pretty sure a lot of people had this idea, because I have ever seen such a crowded pool.   It was a great day, but the water was really warm, like a bath, and it was hard to actually swim without bumping people.


Today, was a 100% down day.  We successfully did not leave the house.  A/C all day, since the temperature was in the real feel of 115.  I made homemade scalloped potatoes and kielbasa for brunch, and ordered salads for dinner, from this great new healthy place.  It’s a Cobb salad with steak, chicken breast, egg, vegetables, seeds, raisins…it’s so good.  Raine said, “Next time, I just want a meat salad.”  She’s so weird.  Mostly, I just read.  I’m the only one in my book club who hasn’t finished the book yet.

By Thursday, I should finally have the last few things in process for my new job.  Then I can get started on my lesson plans for the coming year.  I’m thinking about doing A Wrinkle in Time and On the Banks of Plum Creek with the theme about the strength of families.  I’m kind of excited about it.

Finally, here are our four kittens who are all good friends now.




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