Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hate to leave you here babe, but you treat me so unkind (Eric Clapton)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 12)

The rambling days were to continue with a briefish Chinese connection before a return to stability in 2013.

When I left Al Ain in 2012 and returned to our new house in Otane, Hawke's Bay, I expected to get a job easily - not because I was cocky - but because I was prepared to take anything from English teaching upwards.

Instead I applied for three Principal jobs, was short listed and interviewed for all three (Dannevirke, Central Hawke's Bay, Havelock North) but in each case the job went to a Principal in another NZ school. Doh!

Not one English job came up, and no other management jobs that I could even apply for. Doh!

Instead Peter Joyce got in touch - was I interested in a job in China? Well yes Pete - sure, why not? Nothing else was happening in Hawke's Bay.

It would be working for an American guy (Luis Alcarez) and his Chinese business partner (Maria), as Principal of a school helping prospective Chinese pilots gain relevant English skills.

I flew to Christchurch to get some professional development from Airways (who were somehow involved) and, after installing a house sitter in Red Phoenix Farm, Jacky and I left NZ for Wuxi.

With no clue as to what we'd face we arrived in Shanghai and met Maria and our translator, Wood. He also drove us around, for a start to Wuxi - about 50 minutes west of Shanghai. 

It was winter, and freezing cold. 

We headed to our apartment (10th floor) and battled the cold (the heat pump ironically froze the outside water pipes and we had no water for a while), the new city (six million in Wuxi so a small town by Chinese standards), and a new job (Wood and his wife, Tina, and Lois were very friendly, as were the students).

We bought two push bikes and cycled around Wuxi in our spare time, exploring the malls, shopping centres and parks.

Funnily enough - we were the only westerners on bikes! Actually we were pretty much the ONLY people on bikes. In modern China it's all about electric scooters.

While it lasted, it was great but soon enough the American connection to the company dropped out and Maria stopped paying the staff. Doh! Kevin Simms' warnings were spot on!

During the 2013 Chinese new year we were given a one way ticket back to NZ. The (Chinese) writing was on the wall.

Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - the most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia".

So, during this time I had applied for two jobs back in Hawke's Bay - one was Deputy Principal at Woodford House in Havelock North. Didn't hear anything back - Jackie Barron must have seen the Chinese postmark and put one and two together.

When we returned to Otane, I applied for a second time to Woodford House - Head of English. This time I popped in to see her and hand delivered my application.

That did the trick. I no longer had rambling on my mind!

Love and peace - Wozza

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