Wednesday, December 15, 2010

June-August 2010

It was about half way through the month when I realized that I had been sleeping all through the night, thus Nathaniel was too. Of course, at one and a half, he should be. But he actually hadn't slept all night since he was 5 months old and wearing diapers. After he quit using diapers, he'd wake up to go potty. So even after he quit nursing at night, he would still wake me once or twice to pee. It just became so natural, I never thought much of it until it ended! Although it was a lot of work in the beginning (and just plain weird...I mean, teaching a seven week old to pee in the toilet? My cousins don't do that with their kids!), I don't regret potty training him. It's made life much easier (no handwashing diapers) and cheaper (no buying disposables for night time).

I spent 15 days giving lessons, six hours a day. Exhausting. Then just as they were about finished, I found out that I couldn't get a new work visa because I've been working here for five years. There's a national policy that limits foreigners to working five years, but it's never been enforced until now. In May I heard of a lady, in our province, who was told she couldn't work any longer due to this. But on the email list I belong to, no one had known this policy to be enforced. And then I became the second one (at least) to be told I can't work anymore. So for the next two years I can't work here. At least in this province. I have four friends in other provinces who have been here just as long or longer and are still teaching. Strange. But I'm so happy to be staying home now. I have wanted to ever since Nathaniel was born, but for various reasons, one of which was the visa, I didn't. Now we know it's pretty easy to get a "visiting family" tourist visa (before the school took care of obtaining it). Since the only benefit to my job was my salary, it's not a huge deal otherwise.

I had planned to have the month free but after several phone calls begging me to teach, and since I would no longer have a regular income, I spent ten days tutoring two girls who had just finished highschool. They barely knew each other, were as different as night and day. One was an only child from the city that was sent to preschool at one year old. The other is the third of four children from a village. I learned a lot from them and hopefully helped them, but two hours a day with just the two of them was pretty boring. Near the end of the month I went up to Beijing to meet a friend who brought our iPad to us from Wisconsin. I also had a chance to meet the friend of a friend who is married to a Chinese man. We had only briefly talked (about visa issues) and emailed a few times, but we talked for 3 hours at Starbucks and then for another two hours over dinner and shopping. It was such a nice day away from the usual routine and all the hours I'd spent teaching English to little kids!

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