A late night walk as Spring threatens to drive all the Chengdu grey skies and rain away. The artificially pink trees display how all the real trees will soon appear across China, Japan, and Korea - fruit tree blooms cover the lands!! Greenery will be bursting with pink- and white- and creme-colored blossoms.
I am standing cater-corner from my apartment complex, across and to the right. The godz-awful construction that has gone on all day-all night for 9 months straight, with only 1 day of silence, is on the left. This is a typical scene in Chengdu: dreary, grey, rainy, hazy -- the drawbacks of residing in an overcrowded city built in a basin, where wind cannot reach to force out fog and pollution.
So much has gone in since I returned from India mid-February! I've been in a job-search frenzy, dating whirlwind, exercise kick-up, and cooking craze! Read more...
Fruit trees blossoming at school; white tea blossoming in my tea pot; children blossoming in my class!
I have turned down so many job interviews and a few job offers. My time in Rishikesh truly gave me the clarity I needed to make the right decision for my overall well-being: move to a smaller city with clean air and easy access to nature. Well... in China, my non-negotiable demands for a the small city and clean air limit my options! Sure there are plenty of small cities, but there are no suitable jobs in those places. And even many of the smaller cities have poisonous air! It has been a challenge, but I finally have a verbal offer, and contract negotiations are beginning! The job in Chengdu that I really wanted--except for the fact that it was in Chengdu--contacted me again and increased their offer. I also had a verbal offer from a fabulous Montessori school in Xiamen, but they can't formalize an offer until May, and I can't wait that long! In fact, I waited to long to begin the job hunt in earnest by waiting until I returned from India mid-February. Most schools close their hiring window by mid- to late-March, and each week that passed took with it many job opportunities. Of course, there are still jobs available if I want to live in the Mariana Isles, in the middle of the Pacific (yes, actually, I do! But want to stay in China a few more years); or UAE (no thank you, women are already suppressed enough in democratic countries!); or Eastern Europe (no, not yet, and it's too cold).
The school with which I am currently negotiating is not perfect, but it is offering a leadership position along with teaching, so I have the opportunity to grow professionally--in marked contrast to the boredom and stagnation I experience at my current school. Yes, IA in Austin really spoiled me with all of the PD (professional development) we received each month. My (potential) new school is in a much smaller city, with clean air, and it's situated within the mountains-- actually there are mountains and hills throughout the city, so it is dotted with green space! Yay! The salary and benefits are a bit better (am still waiting for those numbers to appear in my inbox!) and teachers get soooooo much planning time each day! In fact, there will be enough time for me to ramp up as a Team Leader for my grade-level, create dynamic inquiry-based lessons, and possibly carry out some self-study!! GA has cut our planning time to zero this year, though I negotiated with my co-teachers for time in the afternoon. GA has cut a lot for us this year, and the noose has been tightening, so I am ready to roll. If I want to be treated like an incapable child, I can go wait tables at a restaurant.
In other news, I bought a bike, so I am riding again.. YAY! Last week I rode 26 km (16 mi.) to/from work! I've also started running again, on weekends. As usual, my asana practice is up and down, on and off, but hey... I try not to be too hard on myself and do the best I can... or near that!
...to be continued....