I have been thinking about my blog for awhile and feeling very bad for not writing in it anymore. I really should do it more often.
Well, my 5 year old son and I have now been in Tianjin TEDA since August (3 months). I have to say, Tianjin is a way more livable city than Dalian. The food isn’t as good and the pollution is worse but for expats it is easier. You can buy almost anything here and if you cant get it here, you can go to Beijing on the fast train. It takes 45 minutes. I haven’t actually done it yet but keep promising myself I will soon. Today I am going into downtown Tianjin with people who know where they’re going.
I think being a foreigner in a place with lots of expats has good and bad things about it. We kind of miss the China experience here. One of the teachers at my school who also lived in China before calls this place “China lite’ because its more geared towards foreigners here. However, the people here are more educated on average and more accepting of foreigners. Usually. Although every once in awhile you meet someone who absolutely hates us awful, weird foreigner and treats us badly. A cab driver the other day did. Then my son almost got into a fist fight because another little kid told him that he wasn’t welcome here because he is a foreigner. I think everywhere there are lots of immigrants there is prejudice among certain sets of people. I have seen it in other big cities, its just never been directed at me before. (Not that it didn’t bother me, just did have quite the same effect)
The school I’m working in is a bit smaller. This one is only 1100 students as opposed to the one in Dalian,which was almost 3,000 students. There is only one campus so its easier to get around. And my son’s school is right on campus so everything is a lot easier. This year I have a new job though, I was accepted into the administration training program and am in the process of becoming a vice principal. I am starting my Masters degree in January and wanted to make sure that I chose the correct stream. I applied to the Educational Leadership program and before i threw myself into it fully, I wanted to make sure that 1) I liked having a leadership role 2) I would be good at it someday and 3) it suited me. So I am happy to report a yes on all three of those questions. I love admin work! It’s really hard, time consuming and all encompassing but I do love it. Some parts of the job suit me and some don’t, just like teaching. I feel like I’m part of the engine of a school and see things slightly differently now. I feel lucky to have a good principal this year because he’s a good person to learn from while I figure out what it means to be an administrator instead of a classroom teacher. I also have a very patient vice principal who explains things to me when I don’t quite understand why things are done that way.
So the decision is made for my future, I definitely want to become an administrator. However, Im not so sure I want to do it here in China anymore. I don’t think I realized before that women in China, even expat ones, are not treated quite the same as the men. It seems to be a systemic thing, so not something one could effectively fight against. I can’t say much more than that right now, just that it has given me pause to pursue my career down this particular admin path. So right now it’s possible, for this and other reasons, that I may be leaving next year for a classroom teaching job, waiting until the day I get my MEd and qualify for an admin job in Canada on that merit.
SO that’s about all that has happened in the past 6 months. I am going back to Canada in February now instead of Thailand like I originally planned. My son and I miss home and Tianjin was a lot more expensive than Dalian so I dont have enough money to traipse around Southeast Asia on holidays. I am also hoping to be able to work at a temp job when I am back there like i did last year. That could take some of the financial pressure off and also refocus me in where I want to live next year.
Well now you are all caught up! I look forward to comments or questions. I promise I will try to write more often!