It’s April 1st. and it’s no joke when I say that my colleagues are great. Really they are. All of the foreign teachers together, we’re a pretty good group together. Right now there’s Helen (from NZ, she speaks fluent Chinese and has been here for nearly 3 years), then there’s Matt (my roomie, from the States, who has been here for nearly 6 months) and Lauren, also American, who has been here 9 months. Mike C (who is from England and here nearly a year) will be leaving in 4 weeks time. Today a new teacher from Ireland is arriving, Ricky. He’ll be living with me and Matt for the next weeks. Also, next week, there’s another teacher from America arriving, Mike W (he’s been working here for years, but was back at home sorting some personal issues for a couple of months). So, in total we have around 6 foreign teachers. Then there’s the Chinese teaching assistants and office staff… which is in total around 12 girls.
Even though there’s quite a difference in the way the Chinese staff and the foreign staff are treated, in terms of payment, rules, uniforms, working hours and general acceptance of what we do in our classes, we all get along great. There are a few who can’t really speak English, but most of them do, so the language doesn’t create too much of barrier when forming a closer ‘bond’ with Chinese colleagues, even outside of the office.
Still though, it’s inevitable for the foreigners to become a group on themselves. And because of this closeness, it’s like we all know where we stand in the group of 6 ‘outsiders’ within this company. The upcoming weeks, there’ll be a lot of changes in our small group, as Mike C leaves and Mike W and Ricky arrive… And this change, has been bringing changes into my own living situation too.
I’ll backtrack to Monday the 28th: my birthday. I was sitting a coffee shop, gazing out the window, writing and wondering… Hummmm… What’s happening in my life? And suddenly the idea I’d been toying with, was something I had to follow through… I’m talking about the idea of moving! Not moving country, but just moving house.
Whops… where did that come from! Niamh, weren’t you so happy with your new roommate? Don’t you and Matt get along great? Isn’t it close to perfect, living in the spacious and luxurious apartment you’ve been given? Yes, yes and yes, is the answer to these questions. But but but… There were some developments in regards to the book that led me to feel the apartment in Manhattan isn’t really the place for me…