New Face on the blog.
My name is Chris, and I’m a teacher at Owen.
In the coming weeks, I’m going to be sharing weekly updates about what It’s like to be a teacher at Owen, located in one of the largest cities on the planet. I’ll be sharing a warts-and- all view about what it’s like to teach not only english, but western culture to Chinese kids. I’ll also be sharing some of my adventures around China as a picture of what the Mega-city of Chongqing is like, and what there is to do here.
I come from the state of Missouri (we call it misery) in the United States. I’ve worked for Owen for almost a year now. When Career China first contacted me, I was skeptical. I said to myself “I’ve got three questions: How will housing be arranged?; How much does it cost to live in Chongqing?; and What type of control would I have over my content? It turned out they had good answers to all of those questions so I looked into it further. I hadn’t studied Chinese, so that was a concern of mine. But, as I found out later it didn’t need to A short time later, after my visa came through, I was boarding a plane to Chongqing.
When I arrived, the company had a car ready for me, and shuttled me to a hotel. It’s important to remember that in China, Luxury hotels do have the whole “Lobby, desk, pool” type setup, but many of them are indistinguishable from apartment buildings. I was to stay here until they found an apartment I liked. It was a roomy and comfortable one room, but it was only temporary. That evening, I wandered to the vending machines I had spotted on my way in. My phone didn’t have my bank account set up yet, and the vending machine wouldn’t take my cash. I tried to ask someone to take my cash, but the guy just bought my things and wouldn’t take my money. Welcome to China.
The next day the company send me someone to get my phone, internet and apartment set up. We started at the traditional morning noodles (The people here like to eat noodles in the morning.) and ran around town getting me more and more integrated with the system. I was to be working at Owen’s Flagship campus at Jiefangbei.
Jiefangbei is the name for the liberation monument erected in 1940. It’s located in the heart of downtown Chongqing. It’s a relatively short clock tower in what they call “Times square”. Of course I had to get my picture taken in front of it. On any given day, it’s surrounded tourists from china and abroad as one of the must see things in Chongqing. The neighborhood is as upscale as shopping gets. Armani, Gucci, and Rolex, are just a few shops that occupy this neck of Chongqing.
The apartments i was shown were all clean and well kept. I was living in the expensive part of town, so I would be using up most of my housing allowance. However, some of the outsides of the buildings were a bit off-putting. One particularly beautiful apartments had to be accessed through a rather scary hallway. The mantra “China is very safe” was told to me more than once.
China is very safe; I’ve never encountered any kind of petty crime or harassment. I've never felt like I couldn’t walk down the darkest of alleys. People from the Unitied States are likely to feel odd at not having dark alleys be the harbinger of a bad encounter, like they often are in the states.
I opted for a smaller, more modern building a few blocks from my campus. I would be able to walk to work. I moved all my things from the hotel room, and the Car guy said that he had to make a stop at a store for my “Package”.
It turned out that the company had put together a basket of items that they felt everyone would need moving into a new place. Sheets, pots, silverware, and cleaning supplies were most of it, but from the start, I was pretty well housed. I would need to supplement that with a few purchases of my own, but I knew where the store was.
I had a home in China now.
Questions? Want to share a story about Owen? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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