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Delays and Halts

Being put on lockdown was one thing and a headache in it of itself. I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere EXCEPT to the grocery store and that was every three days. But I had a greater problem.

Now, usually, the process for international teachers is quick and straightforward. Systematic, if you will. Your first week is meant to get you allocated. The second week is meant to get you started on your training. The third and fourth week is getting you settled by establishing your visa and bank card. Simple, right? Should have been, actually. But life is never simple.

Because of lockdown, I couldn’t get my bank card. To be candid, I wasn’t going to get a card any time soon. Let me explain.

Unlike my country, China isn’t going to give you a bank account unless you show proof that you’re paying taxes. So, logically, I wasn’t going to get a bank card until after my first paycheck. But, my first paycheck come in the middle of a lockdown and it was in cash. I couldn’t leave my apartment so I couldn’t get paid. None of the new teachers could get paid and HR had to figure something out - and fast. And, believe it or not, we had an even bigger problem.

Remember what I said about banks needing proof? Well, the best proof they can have is your work visa. Why am I talking about this? Because, believe it or not, I didn’t have my work visa, yet. Again, that’s something that’s quickly obtained but, because of COVID-19, no one wanted to risk it. There was so much fear an concern, Rightfully so, too. This was a terrifying nightmare we were living in. Lucky for us, we found a small window to get everything done on that front. Money was still a problem…or it was.

Sawyer, my principal at the time, responded to my concerns two ways. One, he lent me money to hold me until Serena, my supervisor, got a hold of my money and give it to me. First month salary problem was solved but was a temporary fix. Next month salary had to go to a bank card because of taxes and I didn’t have one, yet. However, Serena did and offered to hold my salary and let me use her card on my WeChat until I got my own. Of course, I was against it.

Being an American, I’m taught to never have access to someone else’s card. She understood that and sympathized with me. However, she replied with one question: “Do you have another option?” Obviously, I didn’t. But it did solve the problem towards money and visa within a month.

But when I got my first salary, another problem surfaced for me: food! How was I going to go grocery shopping? Well, I knew how but it wasn’t going to be easy. Believe that!

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