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    The Great Splendini

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    twilight zone

    Post  The Great Splendini on Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:50 am

    being back here after so long in china is like the fucking twilight zone man.

    part of your brain / soul / psyche is still stuck out there in fucking china man.

    that shit never leaves you.

    getting hit with flashbacks out of nowhere.

    weird shit man.

    can't describe it or put my finger on it.

    but it's like being in a time machine, you come back, and something feels "off".

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    Psioncy

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  Psioncy on Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:47 am

    Something *is* off.  This place sucks.  It's all a bunch of nothing going on, total f-ing mind control.

    I've moved around so much in my life.  I've never been anywhere more than a year... except Beijing.  I did fourteen years there, though I moved at least once a year.  One place I had in Chaoyang for several years, the longest I've ever been anywhere in my life.

    This nothingness here exacerbates it.  Just like you, I'm constantly flashing back.  It's such a chaotic jumble I don't know where my mind'll end up.  I often wake up thinking I'm in Beijing, now sometimes Bangkok.

    Everything I've experienced in the US is a non-starter, everything.  The economy where I am and where I was in Maine is nearly non-existent.  People talk about getting work at the supermarket like it's a coveted position. Can't even get landscaping work here cuz the mexicans have taken all that over completely.  Besides, I was mowing lawns for people when I was fucking 12.  I actually have a career and a skill that's in demand, just not here.

    Getting the paperwork together has been a nightmare.  I've got family members helping me and FOUR fkn agents and everything still gets fucked up.  Don't think the news affects my life, think again.  The consulate rejected my docs as a direct result of the South China Sea issue, and now I've gotten delayed another week because I'm going through the Chinese consulate in Houston, which you may have heard got catostrophized quite recently.  That meant I had to get everything fixed by another agent in New York.  Now I've got the paperwork all up to spec to finally apply for the fkn visa.  This has been three months of this hair ripping bureaucratic bullshit, just for a low paying teaching gig in the middle of nowhere.

    Fuck.  I was supposed to start the job four days ago, and they're just now today starting the application.  It's no wonder the job market in China is so high.  1.  This bullshit and 2.  the very high startup costs involved.  ESLers are not the wealthiest lot out there, but if you want to work in China  you have to pony up for these document fees and agents, airfaire, three months rent on an apartment and other startup costs.... all while getting your pay held back half a month after you start.  The ONLY reason I took this gig is cuz they give me an apartment and pay airfare, but I've put myself into a fair amount of debt just getting this paperwork done.  Between the agents and the express mail costs and fees, it's probably run me $600 which'll have to come out of my first months pay once I actually start.  

    Maybe it won't be so bad.  It's gotta be better than here cuz here is NOTHING.  Same in Maine, just a whole lot of nothing.  The town in China is pretty remote and has a lot of well preserved dynastic period areas and architecture and thriving local minority stuff going on.  Should be interesting, and there's some tourism I found out so maybe I can get a burger or a crappy pizza on the weekend or something.  Otherwise the town's got nada.  The map only lists eight restaurants, five of specialize in dogmeat.   Rolling Eyes   Whatevs.  I'll have internet, and I know how to cook.  And I'll find stuff to do in my ample free time.  It won't be as fun as Beijing or Bangkok, but maybe that's best for me for now.  Bangkok was too constantly insane even for my tastes.  Jesus.  I still might go to back to Beijing in a year once I've got enough saved up for startup costs.  Or who knows, maybe I'll like the quiet life in the mountains.  It's remote but the town is still substantial in population, has a decent economy, a grocery store and such.  I kinda prefer an international scene over strictly local culture, but I guess I'll make do.  I'm sure my rusty chinese is in for a good honing.

    Yeah, flashbacks.  All the apartments and girls and experiences in Beijing, a life in constant flux.  Some things I hold onto.  So many different lives, twists and turns.  All marked by constant change.
    Searching for stability but only finding chaos despite my best efforts.  Hope after hope dashed.  My mind is all fucked up from it.  A lot of "what could have beens" and no guessing at what will be.  I just need money and this job is the only one I got lined up.  It's not really a matter of choice.  That's my life, all just fate.  There's only ever one way forward, and it's always into the next trainwreck, but I'm helpless to do a gdm thing about it.  

    Look at Bangkok.  That shit was nuts.  And not just sometimes, but like constantly.  I didn't even blog about half the fkd up stuff there.  It was stressful, but it beats what I got in the states, which is nada.  It's just a money gouge in every direction and I have no way to make an income.  So fuck it, back to China.  I won't be in Beijing, but I'm pretty well suited to handle shit in China.  When my wife left Beijing, I kept right on plugging without any help at all.  I rented all those apartments, got all those jobs, and partied like a madman.  I even lived quite well for a while, I'd say from 06-12.  By 2013-14 things went downhill.  Fuck, you'll remember I didn't even work for most of my last year in Beijing, just living off savings.  The thing that pisses me off the most is that I found a fucking awesome hutong apartment two months before I left at the end of 2014.  But then my new company, which was supposed to bring me on full time changed management and all this other bullshit fucked up, and I had to throw in the towel and come back here to NOTHINGVILLE USA.  

    Yeah, my mind's still back there, and couple other places.  But where it definitely ain't is where I'm at.  I cannot fucking wait to board that plane.


    _________________
    "It's all part of the plan."
    "What is the plan?"
    "I kind of make the plan up as I go."
    "That's not really a plan then."
    "Okay, so it's not a plan. Look, I'm not good with plans."

    The Great Splendini

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  The Great Splendini on Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:33 pm

    >> Maybe it won't be so bad. It's gotta be better than here cuz here is NOTHING. Same in Maine, just a whole lot of nothing.

    You can try to find something in a big city in the US, like L.A. or any big city really. Check the classifieds and send out a shitload of CVs everywhere in the states.

    The Great Splendini

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  The Great Splendini on Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:35 pm

    thing with china is the whole system is new.

    so maybe they don't know what they're doing yet.

    maybe next year will be better to go back to china when they sort out all the growing pains of the new system.

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    Psioncy

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  Psioncy on Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:14 pm

    China is always that way.  Whatever they grow into they then find a dozen new ways to complicate it unnecessarily.  Take ESL.  What I was dealing with when I left Beijing was, amazingly, even more ridiculous than what it was when I got there.

    Yeah, some cities got work in the US.  How am I supposed to get to one, find an apartment, and sustain myself while looking for a job, which can and often does take months?  The rents are through the roof, and living costs get even higher than where I'm at.  Did you know 42% of homeless in America are employed? That's urban areas primarily. That's how ridiculous it is.  I can't afford the startup costs, plain and simple.  I mean, what you say sounds reasonable "just go to a city and get a job" until you start crunching numbers and accounting for reality.  Then it becomes a non-starter.  Hypotheticals don't do me much good, I've learned.

    The job in China works cuz they cover my airfare and apartment.  Also, the pay is not great but it's more than I could make here at one of these McSlave jobs.  And I'll have considerably more free time.

    Don't believe the media, cuz the government is lying like mad about the stats.  I mean, sure, they always skew the stats, but it got taken to a new level under Obummer.  Unemployment is rampant, as is homelessness and all manner of disparity.  People are pissed, cornered, scared, etc.  That's the real underlying cause of the unrest, not 'racist statues' or whatever.


    _________________
    "It's all part of the plan."
    "What is the plan?"
    "I kind of make the plan up as I go."
    "That's not really a plan then."
    "Okay, so it's not a plan. Look, I'm not good with plans."

    The Great Splendini

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  The Great Splendini on Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:25 pm

    yeah, well then just find whatever comes up first.

    china or anywhere.

    being willing and able to relocate gives you an advantage.

    i got rejected for a visa in china. not sure why. they're being VERY picky now.

    got a job in myanmar. they ask you to fly out right away because there's no visa shit like in china. the teachers do visa runs. but it was in the boonies, so i turned it down. maybe in the big cities i would go.

    because myanmar boonies might be really rough. not sure.
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    Psioncy

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  Psioncy on Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:46 am

    Yeah, I'm figuring Myanmar is pretty rough. But also it's one of those untapped ESL markets where you'll still be a novelity and so long as you get along with your hosts will probably do all right. Not like Thai and Vietnam where they treat round-eyes like slave workers at the schools.

    Got rejected? Shit. I am just started to apply for the visa, so who knows. If it happened to you, I could just as well get rejected out of the blue too. I should know in a week or two. The province I'm applying to, I'm told, is one where I'm more likely to get approved... at least according to my job agent in China. From there, hopefully, I can switch contracts to Beijing or elsewhere later down the road without having to go through this shit again.

    She keeps telling me to "go to Houston." Rolling Eyes

    And I keep having to explain that 1. Houston is 1000 miles away and I don't have a car 2. I don't have a thousand dollars to spend on hotels for extended stay and 3. the m'fkn city is UNDER WATER.

    I wonder why you got rejected? Shit. There's no good options. SE Asia wants you to come in person to interview for any job, which I don't recommend, cuz you've never met so many assholes. Japan has high startup costs and visa hassles and cost of living. Taiwan is probably your best bet, but that's still significant visa hassle and startup cost.

    A lot of ads coming out of Columbia. The pay is usually some shit like $400 a month and they don't pay your airfare, but they provide housing and such and it'd probably be interesting enough. There's always Cambodia. I was sooooo close to going there at the end and still sorta wished I had. Problem is you have to go there and actively look for work, but I'm told by many that you can establish pretty cheaply and there are definitely jobs to be found if you beat feet. The visa is still a headache, but there's more long term options than Thailand or Vietnam for longer term stays, even as an independent operator. You can basically buy yourself a work visa in Cambodia. The people are way friendlier than Thais too, like night and day better.



    _________________
    "It's all part of the plan."
    "What is the plan?"
    "I kind of make the plan up as I go."
    "That's not really a plan then."
    "Okay, so it's not a plan. Look, I'm not good with plans."
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    Psioncy

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  Psioncy on Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:48 am

    Did you apply through an agent in home country connected to the Chinese Embassy/Consulate?

    Or did you submit everything directly on your own?

    Or did you get rejected in China for the work permit?


    _________________
    "It's all part of the plan."
    "What is the plan?"
    "I kind of make the plan up as I go."
    "That's not really a plan then."
    "Okay, so it's not a plan. Look, I'm not good with plans."
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    Psioncy

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  Psioncy on Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:12 pm

    I got paperwork rejected in Houston, but that was just the authentication of my degree cuz they wouldn't accept the seal.  The agent's solution was to re-submit it to the New York consulate with a new seal, and it worked.  I got it back yesterday.  Next that will be going back again to Houston with the visa application once they get my work permit processed in China, which is what is happening now.

    I'm guessing/hoping that if they get it all straightened out in China with the work permit, the visa approval from the consulate will be more or less automatic.


    _________________
    "It's all part of the plan."
    "What is the plan?"
    "I kind of make the plan up as I go."
    "That's not really a plan then."
    "Okay, so it's not a plan. Look, I'm not good with plans."
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    Psioncy

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    Join date : 2010-05-02

    Re: twilight zone

    Post  Psioncy on Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:39 pm

    Jesus. Now I hear back from the agent and she's saying it's going to take another 20 days to sort out the work permit in China.

    I started this process with them in the middle of June, now here is is September and I'm being told another 20 days. That's the time I need to wait for them to process in China. Then I have to get that shit and submit everything to the consulate again and wait for that. Fuuuuck.

    In June she was like "Don't worry. There's plenty of time. The school might even bring you in early, like mid-august."

    But she didn't have a clue how to get anything done here and neither did the agent here in the US. This process is taking fucking forever, maybe four months from hire to when I actually start teaching and earning any money. God. No wonder they're so desperate for teachers in China.

    I'm gonna act like a primadonna once I'm there too. They told me "no office hours" and 20 class hours max and I'm holding them to all of it. Then I'm just gonna stay, cuz there's no way I want to deal with this applying from home country ridiculousness again. Once I've got that Z I can do the transfer to a new employer at the end of my contract. Even that'll be a bitch i'm sure but still better than starting from scratch like this. The last renewal I did in China took well over a month and all came with all kinds of stress and bullshit. My passport must've been tied up six weeks over it. Sheeeeeet man.


    _________________
    "It's all part of the plan."
    "What is the plan?"
    "I kind of make the plan up as I go."
    "That's not really a plan then."
    "Okay, so it's not a plan. Look, I'm not good with plans."
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    Psioncy

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    Join date : 2010-05-02

    Re: twilight zone

    Post  Psioncy on Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:05 pm

    I wish I had renewed the contract with the last online company, but that wouldn't matter now anyway cuz they're tanking.  

    I tried to get into transcription.  I've done it before, part time for a magazine in Beijing my first few years there.  But these online transcription companies must have massive competition, cuz I go jumping through their hoops and still get nothing back.

    Ideally, I just want to earn enough to pay for my existence and maybe live in Thai or something, like what I was doing before, except hopefully a little more stability than I pulled off last time.  China is just ridiculous with the bureaucracy now.  I mean it always was ridiculous but it's reached new heights.

    I applied in 2001-02 for my first visa in China and it was nothing.  Getting the job was nothing.  I sent my resume off to a job advert for a school in Beijing.  Within two minutes I got a reply back telling me I was hired.  

    The dude didn't even take the time to read my resume (which showed I had NO teaching background whatsoever)  He musta just looked at my pic, saw I was white, and said "okay dokay."  (Same place I worked with RB at btw.) Then I remember sending one thing out to the consulate to get the visa through the mail and the school handled the rest in country.  From then on it was just renewals and transfers straight through to 2015.  

    I don't what to put on the application form either.  Because where it asks for marital status I just don't know.  I got married in China in 2002, but then that bitch divorced me in the US only recently.  That means, technically, I'm still f-ing married in China.  I can't write "Beats me, I dunno," on the form. I suppose I'll have to ask the agent, but I'm sure he won't know and it'll be excruciating to try to have the conversation with him.  Whatever.  I'll just say I'm single and then if they ever note the discrepancy I'll explain the broad strokes of the whole ridiculously convoluted story to them.

    Oh sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeet FUCK!  Another month of this limbo, and nary a drop booze in sight.

    Man, I could probably crank out another manuscript in that time if I put my nose back to the grindstone.  I have to do *something* productive cuz this is driving me batshit.  When I got back I kept myself pretty busy looking for work online and finishing the sequel.  I thought I'd be in China by now, but it's still a long way off apparently.  And there's nothing.  

    All I do is internet.  Well I make coffee and food and go outside at night to talk to the neighborhood cats and puff hand-rolled ciggies.  There's a bunch of neighborhood cats that come hang with me at night.  There's also this really big black snake hanging around my smoking spot.  It just casually slithers off when it sees me come out.  I'm so used to him I don't even sweat it no more.

    That's it.  That's my life.  Internet, coffee, food, and smokes, but mainly internet.  At this moment, for example, I have two online games going (playing themselves), two videos, two word files open, and with two different browsers open with at least a dozen tabs... AND my lappie is also going next to me with youtube videos and msgs and suchwhat.

    I'm so utterly sick of it.  I mean, I love the internet more than anything, but I also like having OTHER shit to go do.  In Bangkok that was never a problem.  Here... jesus.


    _________________
    "It's all part of the plan."
    "What is the plan?"
    "I kind of make the plan up as I go."
    "That's not really a plan then."
    "Okay, so it's not a plan. Look, I'm not good with plans."

    The Great Splendini

    Posts : 5138
    Join date : 2012-01-30

    Re: twilight zone

    Post  The Great Splendini on Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:54 pm

    I applied through an agent.

    The process took months. Always delays, asking for documents to be re-submitted differently, asking for new documents at the last minute, more delays.

    The last I heard the PSB guy was questioning my CELTA. He wanted proof that it was a 120 hour course. Which is not indicated on the form. So they asked me to submit my syllabus as proof, which I didn't keep.

    I submitted "something", but I guess it wasn't good enough.

    Craziest shit I've ever seen.

    But this was:
    1 - With a recruiter who submits forms for dozens if not hundreds of teachers
    2 - With a recruiter who probably doesn't have good guanxi

    If you apply with a school directly, especially a public school, they will definitely get it because they have guanxi.

    I suggest avoiding recruiters for China.

    I'm thinking Myanmar might be ok, but I would only work in the major cities.

    I got rejected by places in Thailand. They want you to interview in person. Their hours are crazy. It's 7:30 to 4:30 5 days a week. You have to sit in that office for not that much money.

    You might also want to try Vietnam. Documents can be processed in country. Take them with you and they get authenticated there. Although not sure about "the shadiness" of Vietnam. Also, there is some age discrimination. I saw one ad where the cut-off age was 35.

    To be honest, try to borrow money to get back on your feet in the States and get out of English teaching. China is getting crazy with visas, other countries have problems.

    It's a dead end career path.
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    Psioncy

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  Psioncy on Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:07 am

    In Thai, you're not sitting in the office. That school wanted me working non-stop, including setting up the lunch room and serving it to the kids, meeting with parents daily, and editing monkey English non-stop.

    Your experience with the agents sounds a lot like mine. It's what they do for a living but it's constant mistakes and problems and resubmissions and it all takes fkn forever.

    Hopefully I don't get your problem with the CELTA. I'm sure my certificate looks like yours. It's the industry standard FFS, that's why I got it. What I learned there was next to useless in real world application, all a bunch of gobbledy-gook and added layers of useless knowledge to impart that will only serve to confuse the student. Cambridge is way up its own ass with that stuff. I'll go right back to my old methods if I'm teaching again in China, cuz they are way more engaging and effective.

    Anyway, if they need more about my CELTA I don't know what to give them other than the certificate.

    Yeah, you'd think with all the thousands of people going through the process the agents would know something about it and have solutions, but they don't.

    Some of it is just bad luck too, like at the discretion of the government worker approving it. Like visa stuff in Beijing, mine and others, you could ask six different agents about something and get six different answers. And the government people are the same way. It's like the whole system is kept a clusterfuck on purpose.


    _________________
    "It's all part of the plan."
    "What is the plan?"
    "I kind of make the plan up as I go."
    "That's not really a plan then."
    "Okay, so it's not a plan. Look, I'm not good with plans."

    The Great Splendini

    Posts : 5138
    Join date : 2012-01-30

    Re: twilight zone

    Post  The Great Splendini on Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:27 am

    Yeah, and the PSB guys might be getting their rocks off refusing visas for no apparent reason.

    Like, I'm guessing they've been asked by the govt to be more "strict" and "discerning" as to who they let in, but at the same time they might be on a power trip and just getting off on refusing people. Like enjoying disrupting people's lives because their lives suck.

    I was never refused before.

    But I was thinking it was time to stop going back there anyway. And I'm glad they did because I won't have the option of regretting not having gone back there.

    Don't put all your eggs in one basket. China can fuck you over any time.

    Also, try to avoid recruiters. They hire too many people. Apply to places directly. Well-established schools will have good guanxi with the govt.

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    Psioncy

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  Psioncy on Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:27 am

    Most of the jobs are through recruiters.  Yeah, I would avoid the mass recruiters, but this one I'm dealing with knows the people at the school personally.  Most of the schools need the recruiters to get anybody cuz they can't do it directly, dealing with the government bureaucracy.  

    I wouldn't go back there but I spent a long time trying to get this job, sending job applications out in the ether.  I can't just be in the continual state of looking for work all the time, and I can't spread myself in five directions at once either.  Your egg platitude is a logical fallacy because it assumes a hypothetical abundance of eggs being available.

    There are no jobs where I'm at or anywhere I can afford to be.  Anywhere there are jobs would require a massive a investment to go there and look, all the while paying startup costs and living expenses.  Untenable.  My eggs are forced into this one basket for lack of both eggs and baskets.  What am I supposed to do, spread my handful of eggs out all tither and fro like the Easter Bunny?  That m'fkr is flush with eggs, I'm not.  I have a very limited number of eggs, barely enough to line the bottom of the one basket they're currently in.  Rolling Eyes


    _________________
    "It's all part of the plan."
    "What is the plan?"
    "I kind of make the plan up as I go."
    "That's not really a plan then."
    "Okay, so it's not a plan. Look, I'm not good with plans."

    The Great Splendini

    Posts : 5138
    Join date : 2012-01-30

    Re: twilight zone

    Post  The Great Splendini on Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:50 am

    yeah i get it.

    but the guy at the psb there doesn't care if you've been out of work for 6 months.

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    Psioncy

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    Re: twilight zone

    Post  Psioncy on Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:39 am

    Yeah, I'm well aware of that, but as Master Shake once said: "You can't open a candy store and sell hamburgers out the back and be a scientist and an animal-trainer school. Just doesn't work."


    _________________
    "It's all part of the plan."
    "What is the plan?"
    "I kind of make the plan up as I go."
    "That's not really a plan then."
    "Okay, so it's not a plan. Look, I'm not good with plans."

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