My first vacation since

When you are born you have a lot of celebrates firsts.

When you first sit-up on your own, roll over, sleep through the night, crawl, walk, eat baby food, eat table food, talk, etc

Your first birthday is a huge milestone followed by turning 5. Attending kindergarten and the big school.

Your sweet 16. Turning 18 and graduating high school then college.

You get a drivers license and if you are lucky a car you don’t have to share or be a taxi.

You get an apartment. You ruin your credit. You rack up debt. You realize being an adult sucks and it was a setup and you don’t always feel fully prepared.

Then one day life gives you the worse blow ever, life snatches a loved one. Then you have a whole different set of firsts.

Those first holidays. Those birthdays. Those milestones you wanna share but they are no longer there. You share with others but it’s not the same. You try and channel their voice and what they would say, but damnit it is not the same.

You work through your grief. You try to keep life normal as it once was. But let’s face it’s not the same. Life is different. There is a WHOLE person missing.

If you’ve been following me, you know my mama passed away March 31, 2018.

My life has not been the same since and it never will be the same.

There are days I come falling to my knees in a heap of tears like it just happened.

There are days I can laugh and be happy.

There are days where I am irritated and frustrated, where is all the love and support now. Don’t you know I’m still hurting. Don’t you know I’m not better. Don’t you know I still miss my mama so much it physically hurts. Don’t you know I’m afraid for what lies ahead because she’s not here to share it. Don’t you know I have to grieve for myself and my child.

There are days I’m happy and laugh.

There are days I wanna give up and not feel anymore.

There are days I lean on God and there are days I hate God.

Life keeps moving on whether I want it to or not.

We took our first vacation since moving to China.

We went to Malaysia.

First 3 days I struggled to leave the hotel grounds and explore. Not because I didn’t want to but who was I gonna call? Who was gonna be happy about the pictures?

I would get to the airport and call my mama and tell her “hey we are at the airport about to broad, call you when we land”

Didn’t call a soul. I’m not even sure who knew of our plans. We even traveled business class for the first time ever. I called no one.

When we land I would text her in the runway ” we just landed” and she would respond “thank God” I don’t care what time I texted she would immediately respond “thank god” I know on some level she worried about us traveling and making it out destination safely. She also knew I was safer in the air than on the ground.

When I landed in Malaysia I texted no one. Checked in to our hotel in silence. Mama wasn’t asking me what time it was. I wasn’t snapping pictures and sharing it with her.

My new normal was me moving in silence. My new normal was watching my daughter smile and be happy.

I finally went and had a massage along with a mani and pedi. I haven’t done these things since I left Kuwait and my body was tense and stressed. I left the massage table feeling like new money.

Elise hung out at the pool like she usually does

I, well I tried to ignore my issues.

I tried to keep a smile on my face so Elise wouldn’t pick up on my emotions.

But the string was slowly snapping and I was going to collapse under the weight of this new normal and pretending I’m okay.

We went to the theme park. We were walking along enjoying ourselves and all of a sudden my heart is racing way too fast for my liking. I go stay by a pool to catch my breath. I can’t seem to calm down. We walk a little towards the shade and all I wanna do is cry

I want my mama. Why are you people happy and enjoying life? Don’t you realize there is a WHOLE person missing from this world? There’s someone missing from my world and it will NEVER be the same.

How is this fair? She’s no longer in pain but I am in pain almost daily and the pain won’t go away.

While Elise plays in the water. I sit and cry.

While the world keeps on living and moving.

I sit and cry because I miss my mama. I want her here. I want to share this with her. I want her to see Elise will find water I don’t care what country we are in, she will find water and will play.

The worst thing ever. Housekeeping broke my MacBook I am near tears. Anyone who has ever owned a MacBook know my frustration. One I purchased this stateside so any insurance I have is only good stateside. Apple will charge me an arm and a leg. I take it next door to the mall and pray for an easy fix. Nope not gonna happen. He’s like you need a new one. Sir that’s not an option. Fixing this ain’t even in the budget but I need my MacBook.

300 USD later it’s fixed. The hotel is not responsible or liable but they will talk to housekeeping.

Lesson: keep your valuables up

Philippines on deck.

Not to say I didn’t enough Malaysia but I definitely was happy to be in the Philippines

Arrive at the hotel and I’m greeted by hotel staff by my name. Okay I see you pimping. Get to the desk greet by name again and they are all ready for me to check in. The smoothest check in of my life.

Get to my room and I am happy with the accommodations

I am not one to recommend places but look if you are ever in Manila please check out Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel.

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I will leave them a glowing review.

We did not see not one sight. I wanted to relax and hang out poolside and Bay side.

I did get a massage and it was heaven.

Recruitment Season Part 2

Let me take a moment to compare countries and schools

With recruitment season upon us and many trying to make the best decision for themselves and their families, I am going to share some information.

Recruitment Sites

to pay or not to pay that is the question. Am I getting my monies worth? Why am I paying? Who am I paying? Can’t I just apply directly to schools? This all depends. Schools pay for their membership and they are cracking down on applying directly to them. If you take the time to fill out all the details on these sites and pay the fee they know 1. you have patience 2. you probably are taken more seriously 3. the recruiters have done all the hard work for them and have said “hey we have vetted this person and they will be a good fit” With that being said. I know people who have paid and not paid. I personally have paid and not paid. 

Middle East vs Asia

This depends on the person and both are two very different places. I worked in Kuwait. I liked Kuwait. Kuwait had more black people. Kuwait didn’t have people gawking at me. Kuwait didn’t have 4 seasons. Kuwait was easy. While in Kuwait I could dating easily. China people gawk. China doesn’t have a whole bunch of black people in one city. We are here but we are spread across this country. Black people and blonde hair people get gawked at. Children get gawked at. You smile, nod, say hello, and move on. I make more money in China.

Money/savings potential/cost of living
China: now this is will depend on where you are placed. I happen to be in a tier 2 city. Which basically means the population is not a huge as Shanghai. Shanghai has like a billion Wuxi has like a million (totally exaggerating the numbers but you get the point) My rent is under 900 USD for a 4 bedroom 2 bathroom flat. It came fully furnished. I bought things for the kitchen and bathroom. I packed sheets and blankets. 3 of the 4 bedrooms came with a TV. I send home 50% of my salary to my US bank account I put money aside in Elise’s bank account. The little bills I have I pay them. Once I figure out how and who to save with I’ll update that process. Thing is being an expat is becoming increasingly complicated to just throw my money at say Fidelity to save. I have to prove I live stateside or at least have a stateside address. Which I do but it still comes with complications. I still travel. My utilities are less than 100 USD every other month. I get a housing allowance that covers rent and utilities and I still have half of it left over. I live pretty darn comfortably.
Kuwait: the school provided housing so I have no clue how much rent was or utilities. I had a two bedroom 2 and half bath fully furnished flat. I paid for a live out nanny. I found the cost of living to be more in Kuwait. By the time pay day rolled around I was down to my last dinar. I sent home about a third of my salary. I traveled but I still felt the pinch to my wallet.

Work/life Balance
The first month of settling in I would have said Kuwait was better at this work/life balance thing. Now that I have been here 4 months I say it’s an even tie. The major thing is finding things to do in your host country and having the energy at the end of the day or week to actually do something. I will say there are more black people in Kuwait…let me explain. Kuwait is small where China is massive. There are black people here but we are spread so far apart it is ridiculous. English was spoken more in Kuwait and you could navigate is easier around the country with limited to no Arabic. China is not English friendly nor do I expect them to be. Hell I’m a visitor Chinese is their language. I live and work here, then I will learn Chinese. But it does pose a challenge when you are confused or lost and do not speak or understand the language. Lucky enough I have co-workers who will help in a bind. There are more things to do in China than Kuwait. I can book a train ride and hop over to the next city. I can go out to western places or even local places have fun and go home. Places close around 10pm around these parts which takes some getting used to. I still leave work at work. I do stay longer at work but it’s mostly because I am waiting on Elise except Tuesdays when we have staff meetings she waits on me.


School

Okay lets start with I switched curriculums. I went from the American common core standards to the UK standards.
1. I have fewer numbers at my current school. The ratio is 3 teachers to 15 students. 3:1 pretty darn amazing
2. play based is encouraged and basically what we do. I don’t have to stress my nerves about ensuring these kids are reading and writing by the end of the school year. Plus they are 4 turning 5 so technically I teach pre-k according to US standards.
3. we have a quiet/nap time most of my kids sleep
4. co-curricular is built into the school, meaning after dismissal kids from KG3 up attend extra curricular activities/clubs. Now this is wonderful on the surface until you realize as a teacher you are required to teach/run 2 of these things a week. (this goes back to work/life balance) *KG to grade 3 dismiss at 3:30 and their CCA run from 3:30 to 4:15. Grade 4 and up dismiss at 4:15 and their CCA run from 4:30 to 5:30. I have a kid in grade 5 so even though I get off at 3:30 I am on campus until 5:30 at least 3 days*
4. I actually work with people that understand pedagogy and my career is better off.

If you want an easy life and barely work head to Kuwait. You wanna work and grow head to China.

Whatever you do, whatever country you decide on PLEASE stick to international schools. DO NOT sell yourself short. Know your worth as an educator. Don’t fall for these TEFL traps and low pay. Your degree and expertise will be valued abroad. GO for it.

Business Class

So this started as looking for places to visit during the long holiday break. We are off January 25 to February 19 for the Chinese New Year Holiday break.

Malaysia is the destination. Researching flights. Okay great this is doable and in my budget.

Playing around with prices and BAM the business class is cheaper than the economy ticket. Sure let’s do this.

Elise forgets we are traveling business class so it becomes a nice surprise that she tries to guess what the surprise is.

We get to the airport and I head for the business checkin line.

Pure excitement radiates from my child. Get through customs and BAM there is nice shorter line for those who are traveling business class. Why thank you. Just wish it came with some perks like not taking everything out and off. But whatever I’ll take the short line.

Then we get to sit in the lounge for an hour while we wait to board.

She eats and I find a nice welcome in the bathroom

I haven’t seen a bidet since Kuwait and when I tell you I pushed every button on that remote. I left feeling fresh and clean.

Come downstairs to our gate.

Firsts ones to board the plane. Amazing.

Get on the plane

They offer to hang up my sweatshirt in the closet. Nah lady it’s okay. It’s a sweatshirt. I’m good. I stretch out my legs praise the lord. There is room for both of us on the armrest. The seats are two per row.

Comes around with complimentary drinks. So friendly and smiling and happy.

I get offered a blanket and she takes it fresh out the pack.

Wonderful noise cancelling earphones.

It’s gonna be hard going back to economy.

The menu is passed out. Let me also explain this was a short flight. 2 hours to Hong Kong then 4 hours to Malaysia. I got a menu

Pulls out the tray and she lays the linen down

Elise’s meal. Then this happens

A cart comes by and she points out your options.

I started to eat before taking a picture.

This kind of service and food I could get used to. Elise had the option to eat the child meal or one of the regular meals. The bread was warm. The drinks were plenty.

If you ever have the opportunity to fly anything but economy I say splurge.

My next splurge will be a suite or first class. Business was great and I will fly it again if I catch a deal.

Cathay Pacific is now my go to airline in Asia and they are apart of the One World Alliance which is partners with Qatar. So I didn’t have to start over with miles.

2018 in review

2018 was full of ups and downs as with any other year. You get 365 days. You can plan it out and then life happens. How you respond to life is what matters.

It started off great with a job offer….yeah no way was I gonna spend another year in Kuwait especially not at the school I was at.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed my time in Kuwait but it was time to move on.

Then my mama’s health took a turn for the worse and I found myself home and one week later she was gone.

My whole world changed and I was not ready.

Summer had me face to face with Elise’s dad for the first time in almost 10 years. Elise meet him for the first time in her life. (He has since fallen back into his hole)

I would add the picture but I don’t want to. Look I am still a work in progress 🙂

Went on our first ever Disney Cruise. Would love to do it again but good grief I need Disney to go down on those prices. Granted it’s all inclusive expect for the alcoholic drinks and the excursions. You are paying for the Disney brand and the Disney service. 

August had me in China.

Dating has come to complete halt. I need this time to work on me and besides dating in China….well that’s nonexistent as an African American woman. I accepted that before I came over.

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Survived, barely, my first Thanksgiving without my mom. I cried real tears when I couldn’t remember the yams recipe and when I realized I don’t know how to make sweet potato pie and I couldn’t call her to get the recipe. I bought whipping cream and cried again because I didnt have her biscuit recipe.

CoCo Jean was added to the family. There are moments I think I have lost my mind. How are going to travel with a dog? I live in an apartment. Granted there is space outside for her run around and whatnot but come on man, now I gotta get up in the freezing cold and blazing heat to walk her…UGH. Oh well for now we have a dog. 

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Elise’s first ever holiday performance

The first snow of the season

Yep chopped my hair off. It was a combination of I’m stressed, depressed and pretty much over doing my hair. Either way I’m getting used to it again.

Traveled to Shanghai Disney…I need a Disney break. Once you have been to Disney, you have been to Disney. 3 down 3 more to go. 

Ready for 2019, I think. But I will have a positive outlook for 2019

Let me explain

Let me explain again why I have no immediate plans to return stateside

1. NAPTIME

My new school requires an hour of rest time…you ain’t gotta sleep but you gotta be quiet which means 95% of kids fall asleep anyways. They have cots, a nap area/pod, nap music, lights out, blankets and all. Yeah you going to sleep.

2. 90 minutes of outside play/inquiry

I haven’t seen this much dedicated to outside time expect in a research article. At best I’ve had 15 minutes.

3. 2 snacks and at least 30 minutes for lunch

Let me explain this lunch thing. I had 30 minutes for lunch but that included walking to the cafeteria, standing in line and walking back from the cafeteria. Which left the kids maybe 15 minutes to eat and really what are you eating and disgusting in 15 minutes. 2 snacks is amazing because kids play and get hungry and let’s face most kids don’t eat breakfast and lord knows when dinner will happen.

3. I have 2 additional teachers in the classroom

Wait, what 3 teachers in one classroom.

4. My class size will never go over 15.

So that’s 3 teachers and 15 kids….I am currently at 13 kids and one is on vacation until after December break. So its 12 kids. Do you know what I can do with that? Do you understand how much individualized attention and differentiation we can do.

5. I work with educators and just adults who speak English looking for a job.

This alone will keep me at my current school. I almost, nope I did, I lost my shit last year dealing with people who did not understand how NOT to teach using the curriculum and the importance of small group instruction.

6. I get planning time

I cannot stress the importance of doing your work at work. I have a child when I get home and I cannot sacrifice time with her to do work.

7. I am trusted and supported to do my job.

8. Let’s revisit the small class size and 3 teachers

We legit did nothing small groups one day. Each teacher had a table and we pulled kids to do an activity. We didn’t do large group until the end of the day. It was the best thing ever.

9. I have finally figured out the work life balance. I don’t feel overwhelmed like I did when school first started. I have found my groove and the kids are happy. I am happy.

10. Its a nice happy medium between Kuwait and the states. They take education serious without all the extra. I could stay in kindergarten a little longer with this setup.

First week of school

Day 1

Reduced schedule

Kids came in today from 9:00 to 11:30. THE BEST THING EVER. I wasn’t tired when I got home. We were able to get things done, see where the kids were and it was pretty chill.
My class: I have a total of 13 kids. One child will be on leave until December (I legit have no words for this one) I have more boys than girls. I am sure all my girls speak English my boys hung out with  each other so I do not know how many of them speak English. I share my class with a co-teacher and teacher trainee. I have a pod partner and we share a space with our kids. So essential we can team up with our kids and teach one big giant lesson or the whole KG2 team can team up and teach one big lesson.

Day 2

Reduced schedule again

I’m still claiming the best thing ever. We got so much done as a team and I got things done as a person. All my girls speak English and my boys understand English but will respond to me in Chinese. Okay that’s fine. I know what I have to work on.

 

Day 3

First full day with the kids. Oh how I have missed nap time. I only have one child who’s parents do not want him to sleep. Okay quiet activities for him. Here read this book and don’t bother those that are sleeping and don’t make no noise. I got work I can be doing. We eat lunch with the kids. This is one thing about kindergarten, we do not leave our area much during the day. Once we all get settled this should change or I will go stir crazy looking at the same area ALL DAY long. Another bonus we have 2 snacks and go outside twice, technically three times. With 3 teachers we each teach one lesson a day. AWESOMENESS!!!!!

Day 4

Got to leave early today to do what needs to be done for my residence permit. Look score another win for me.

Day 5

okay straight lost my shit today around 2:30. We got a last minute email stating xyz had to be done and sent home via email by 5:00pm. There are not enough memes to describe this nonsense. The whole school was involved in a CCA (co-curricular activity) Fair. Basically these are the extra curricular activities that will be offered this term and will be run by ALL the teachers. So 3:30 we needed to be in the Sports Hall (GYM)…. you see where I’m going with this right. So a few of us sat down and completed said document and got it finished. Some of us made the deadline some of us did not. It was by far the most frustrating thing that has happened.

Here’s the beautiful thing about working at a brand new school or working in general there are some hurdles you just can’t prepare for. Our parent communication system was to supposed to be up and running by now and all this would have not been an issue. However since it is not up and running documents have to be created to communicate with the parents who want to know what’s going on with the school and their child. I get it, I am a parent but my kid is 10 so somethings I just don’t focus on like I did when she was 5.

Bonus: my kids are ready to rock and roll. We can legit hit the ground running on Monday. They are ready to learn and have fallen into the routine. Which is super amazing. Even with all the hurdles this has been an amazing start to the school year. I have not gone home exhausted and ready to sleep from herding cats. I am exhausted because the days are long. I get home around 5. Which Kuwait had me spoiled. I was home by 3:16pm. The school day does not start until 8:45 but these kids roll up in here at 8:10 can we say free play until 8:45. I do morning meeting in English until 9:30 then we go outside for about 45 minutes. Come inside clean up and get snack. After snack they have their Chinese lesson. Clean up and have lunch. After lunch is rest time for an hour. Wake up they either do an activity, go outside, clean up and have snack. We have specials or an end of the day wrap BAM go home. It’s an “easy” work schedule it’s just I’m in the classroom ALL DAY. It’s only 12 kids so we have the opportunity to get TONS accomplished. I am excited for what the school year holds and to see how much they grow and learn.

Noticeable Differences

Let’s put this out there, I was spoiled in Kuwait.

Now that is out the way.

  1. no porters, no baggers….you are expected to bag your own groceries and carry your own luggage. No one is waiting on you hand and foot or jumping at the opportunity to assist you.

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    Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

    I will get over it.

  2. ORGANIZATION!!! Look I cannot stress this one enough. I have not heard “inshallah” yet. No one has said “I don’t know” It has been “let me get back with you” “wait a minute” and they actually go and seek the answer legit immediately

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    Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Pexels.com

     

  3. The food: okay I have said this before but I will say it again. AMERICA is killing you with the food. I went grocery shopping and I can only buy like 2 pork chops in one package, there is no family size. Bacon, yeah that’s only like 4 slices in a pack. I can still get a dozen eggs but it’s normal size none that medium, large, extra large (and why in God’s name are the eggs different sizes? hmmmm) Chicken yep normal not hormone induced and the best thing ever I can get the wings either the drumettes or the flats. Even the chips and cookies (biscuits) are snack size.
  4. English, look just go ahead and learn Mandarin. They are not an English friendly place you have to learn Mandarin or have a translator app. Honestly I ain’t mad at it. Mandarin in their native language and I am a guest here. So Mandarin I will learn.
  5. Chopsticks….yep never learned now I will
  6. School lunch….they legit cook it daily…never frozen always fresh. There isn’t even a real frozen food section in grocery store except for ice cream.
  7. back to food, no part of the animal will go to waste. I have not personally seen it, don’t want to either, but use your imagination.
  8. Wal-Mart, look I don’t care where you are it’s the same.
  9. IKEA, same thing. Except this is like a family event. Let’s go hang out in IKEA and use their displays. I honestly believe if they hooked up the stoves and bathrooms, it will get used.
  10. Delivery, EVERYTHING still delivers
  11. EVERYTHING is blocked. While there are ways around this it is still a challenge to deal wit

 

Let me take a moment to compare schools (this will be a combination of all the places I’ve worked)

  1. abroad you get help which is standard common practice. Last year it was me with a teacher’s assistant. This year I get a co-teacher and a teacher trainee. #winning
  2. numbers: this is important. Stateside there is usually no cap. Which means they will slam as many kids as they can into a given space….who can learn like that, who can teach like that. Last year the cap was 24. This year 15. Yep FIFTEEN kindergarten kids aged 4-5 in one classroom with 3 THREE teachers. They are gonna have pry me out of here kicking and screaming.
  3. Type of schooling: I have done public school and private school stateside. I have even done head start. Preschool private and regular. Abroad I did private school last year. This year I am doing international….this is whole different beast all together. I will update later what this all entails because I still have no idea other than I am teaching British English and not American English (deep and long sigh)
  4. Campus: usually schools stateside are divided elementary, middle and high school. Abroad it’s K-12. No problems. Last year the school was one building. This year look I need a map to get around and I have averaged about 15,000 steps daily and school hasn’t even started yet.
  5. co-workers: We are ONE is the running theme and we are truly one. I have not meet anyone that did not know what they were talking about or did not know what they are doing. That is fresh tall glass of iced cold water.
  6. Lunch: can I stress again it is made fresh daily. When you see people cutting up the fruit and juicing it, you know you have reached a level of greatness.
  7. Admin: this is first where EVERY member of Admin will teach a class.
  8. Every teacher and co-teaher received a MacBook and every teacher trainee received an iPad. This is big deal to me. I know some schools issue laptops and some don’t.
  9. Printing and making copies: look since I left public school this has not been an issue. I can print and make all the copies I want to and not one person will bat an eye and I never come out of pocket for paper.
  10. School supplies: I do not issue a school supply list for the kids and I do not come out of pocket for supplies. Praise Jesus!!!
  11. Dress Code: this has been all over the place in my career. Some schools have them, some schools don’t. Some cultures require certain things others don’t. Here we are business dress expect for kindergarten and PE. So yes men where ties, the jacket is optional. Ladies are in heels.
  12. Uniforms: kids wear uniforms but something that will be brand new to me is this whole inside and outside shoe thing for kindergarten. Along with the fact that we go outside in the rain. Not pouring down rain but drizzle rain, yep suit up and go out.

 

I will have pictures up soon. The school is still not fully finished and I won’t do a before and after. Just know I am happy for myself and Elise. This is an upgrade from last year and the states.

 

Day 3…. I think

Look jetlag is a real thing. We slept over 12 hours last night.

Today is medical day.

1. I couldn’t eat or drink

2. Up at an ungodly hour

We load up on the bus. Sit and wait on our name to be called.

I go to x-ray first

Sit on the stool and they took my x-ray. I didn’t change or anything….um okay sure.

Go upstairs.

I have my blood drawn. Then I am given a cup and vial. Wait in the entire world. Ooooookay. I find the bathroom.

Directions: pee in the cup and pour your pee into the vial and place it in a holder with the other 1400 vials of urine.

This sounds and looks like a problem and can’t be sanitary and who is say someone won’t swab my urine. Okay so we are on the honor system.

Next up ENT. Homeboy just looks me over and signs the paper. Asks me one number on the color blind test and in the dark. Looks into my eyes with no tools just his naked eye. Looks into my ears, nose and throat again no tools….ooooookay

Ultrasound I am still not sure what they are looking for because they were all in my kidneys and lungs. One paper towel and you are done.

I get fondled in another room as I get my spine checked.

An ECG is done and it’s over.

Next up bank card.

Go look at an apartment. The apartment I wanted, the landlord is being a jerk. I take Elise and we go look at the 4 bedroom.

Yep walked out with keys

No clue, It’s been a Week

Yeah I don’t have a fancy title.

So my first week in China has brought me close to tears at least once a day. I am frustrated with the language barrier. Finding someone who speaks English and Chinese outside of my school is next to impossible. I can pretty much catch a taxi via app. I can shop through pictures and numbers. The rest is causing my anxiety to go through the roof.

My goal was to daily updates….yeah NOT. Jet lag is still a beast and we have been busy from day one. So I will work backwards.

Friday August 17

Our first full day at work…let’s start the day with a TYPOON warning….which all this means is it is raining and the wind is blowing and the umbrella is for decoration. The campus is so big and open many were soaked. My shoes are still drying. It took 45 minutes to get a taxi to work this morning because of the rain.

First hurdle of the apartment, the washer does not work. The guy came to fix it and it is still not working. A WASHER IS ESSENTIAL!!! I have not washed clothes in a week. I need to wash clothes.

Get home and we need dinner. Still have no groceries. I just need to tackle one issue at a time. So I order dinner via app. I get frustrated and finally figure out what I need to do. I say a prayer that dinner arrives. The guy calls, yeah I don’t know what you are saying and you don’ know what I’m saying. He hangs up. I panic. What if he doesn’t come up with my food? What if we don’t eat tonight? Oh my God I am gonna starve to death in China!!!?!?!? Ten minutes later the doorbell rings and buzz him up Praise God!!!!! Delivery was a success. I feel it is safe to order groceries.

 

Thursday August 16

A day off from work. Praise God!!! I wanted to do nothing but ended up going to IKEA. I went with a co-worker. We live in the compound (new word for complex)

Wait before the IKEA trip I went to the mall. Not too bad of an experience. Pretty straight forward. I found a grocery store that sells things I recognize, so I will return one day.

That evening was the IKEA trip….WAIT FOR IT

Use my handy app to order a taxi.

Jump in the taxi

Taxi driver decides he doesn’t want to take us and legit drops us off not to IKEA. He’s pointing tell us it’s IKEA we are like no sir. He wants his fare. We pay and get out. Order another taxi and finally arrive at IKEA.

We end up lugging 3 large bags a piece across this mall to order another taxi….by this point I am over it. Yep I wanted to cry.

Get home, take a shower, and go to bed. I am done for the day.

 

Wednesday August 15

Move in day.

Panic moment number 1: the deposit money for my apartment has not hit my account yet. What am I gonna do? Will they let me move in? Can I pay tomorrow? I have already checked out the hotel.

Get to the apartment and they are fine with me paying tomorrow. GREAT and Thank you.  Xie Xie!!!!

Panic moment number 2 and 3: I go to Wad-Mart. Shop around. I am on a budget. I really just want towels and sheets for Elise’s bed. I will figure out the rest another day. Grab some towels. Grabs some sheet. Walk around to see what I can see. Go to pay. Cashier: we don’t take this card (I figured out what she was saying)  we take Chinese card Me: pulls out cash. ( I swear all of was-mart has stopped to look at me) See KFC go get some dinner. Cashier: we don’t take Chinese card Me: WTF (it’s your damn card) I pull out my phone and point to the apps. She points to which one I can pay with.
Look I need everyone on one system. Either we doing apps, local cards or anything. I can’t be doing this every time I go into a store.

Get back home, eat, shower and go to bed.  I am done.

Tuesday August 14

I sign my lease and get my keys to my new apartment. It was the one I actually liked the most but it was the furtherest out. At this point it does not matter because the landlord of the apartment with the amazing view was being an idiot and I just can’t deal with stupid people.

This apartment had a landlord that was willing to get everything I asked and then some. So I asked away and she agreed. COOL!!! Good for me. Good for you. Xie Xie.

 

SO I have a 4 bedroom. 2 bath apartment. TVs in 3 of the 4 bedrooms. The fourth bedroom is big enough (or small enough depends on how you wanna look at) to be an office and that is what it will be. Elise has an extra bedroom that will be her playroom. we have enough space to do what we need without driving each other crazy.

 

Organization=Smooth transition

Okay first full day in Wuxi.

We arrived yesterday afternoon (Saturday August 11, 2018) around 3pm. We left the airport around 6pm.

One the trolley for the suitcases was FREE!!!! Praise Jesus. However there was no one to get my suitcases for me. I know I will live.

From Shanghai airport to Wuxi was about a 2 and half hour bus ride….Look NAP TIME!!!

Finally got checked into the hotel. Took a shower and went to sleep. I was done and over it.

Sunday August 12, 2018

Breakfast: I am sure I touched on this in a previous blog post but it bears repeating, breakfast abroad is just weird. I’m trying here I really am but I need eggs and either bacon or sausage for my breakfast to make sense to me. I can over look the lack of grits, oatmeal, and biscuits but what you won’t do is convince me baked beans is a breakfast item. No more can you convince me waffles are a dessert item.

Next up check in with the HR department:

Look I cannot stress the importance of ORGANIZATION!!!! I am far from OCD and needing things in order or done a certain way but if I have a question I need an answer. If I have a problem I need a solution. If you give me a time you need to be there.

I go check in they were ready and in place. I get my transportation card for the metro and bus. I get my settling in allowance. I sign up for a Chinese bank account. I get a SIM card and all before noon.

12:30 I go apartment hunting. We saw four compounds (apartment complexes) The first one I loved the grounds and the location. The actual apartment was small. I have a child I would probably snap and Elise would feel it. So I did not take any pictures.

Second apartment

This was little further out but it had 4 bedrooms and everything was already in place. 2 bathrooms YAY!!! There wasn’t much I would have changed. I liked the furniture. I just didn’t like the location it is about 15 to 20 minutes away from the school.

Third apartment

Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. It was 3 bedrooms but the second bathroom did not have a shower…um what’t the point.

Fourth apartment

I fell in love with the view alone. It is right across the street from the park. YESSSS. 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms. One bathroom, the master bath, has a bathtub. DOUBLE YES. The other bathroom has a shower. Didn’t love the furniture so I asked could the couch be replaced. I asked about adding a TV to the main bedroom. Elise is gonna have to earn a TV in her room. The 3rd bedroom will be a playroom/work space. So I asked if they would take the bed out and add a desk and chair. I also asked for a bigger washer since it will be two of us that I have wash clothes for. The table and chairs I could live with. The kitchen I could live with. I also asked about a wardrobe for Elise’s room and if pets were allowed. I will find out soon if the changes can be made. Then I will sign off on everything and be done.

Uploading pictures for this flat have been a pain. Sorry

MEET AND GREET

First there was alcohol….WAIT, what don’t mind if I do. It was nice to meet the families and other staff members. Elise made some friends, well she played with some other kids which is always a great thing. I meet the drama teacher and I love him and his happy, spunky attitude. I am loving all these accents mostly British but I’m loving it none the less. The food was great. I ate ham, praise the Lord from which all blessings and pork flow. They love seafood here as much as I do but whatever that seasoning was has Old Bay beat. I legit did not finish my crab leg. I was like nope and nope that is too spicy and I love my stomach and throat. I am excited for the school year and I hope this excited continues the entire I am here.