I got a job in China.
Following my failure to get a job in the UAE (followed by two more failures to get jobs there) in April, I put out a few resumes to contracting companies. One was for jobs in China.
A guy for the Chinese contracting company got back to me almost immediately, and we had a lengthy talk. He gave me a few tips about adjusting my resume. He was very encouraging about the possibility of finding a good job, and then said he'd get back to me.
And then there was the same deafening silence I was getting from all the other applications.
For the next couple months, I devoted myself to writing porn, as mentioned.
Then in July, Amazon changed its payment system, giving a righteous bitch-slap to short porn authors.
So I sent a timid e-mail to the contracting company in China asking if any jobs had come up.
Another guy, a different guy, contacted me almost immediately, and we had another lengthy interview. He was also encouraging about the possibility of finding a job.
And sure enough, a few days later, he had arranged an interview with an international school in a major city there.
I had a nice chat with a woman who worked in the HR department.
After we were finished, she arranged an interview with the principal of the school.
That also went well.
And a few days later, I got a job offer as an English and TOEFL teacher.
Relieved, after months of running in circles and fretting, I signed it.
I'd had a few friends who worked in China, and they said it was a decent offer. $2200 a month after taxes, a couple months of paid holiday (although the salary was only paid at half the normal rate for holidays), paid accommodation on campus and food in the school cafeteria. (Although I was warned not to get too excited at the idea of Chinese cafeteria food.)
They wanted me to start August 8, so we started talking about visas.
There was some initial confusion. Friends who had worked in China said all you had to do was fly to Hong Kong or Bangkok and it took maybe 2 or 3 days.
But there were new rules that had come into effect in 2015. They were so new, even the HR people at the school didn't know about them.
The first thing that was causing problems for a lot of teachers: now teachers need a police background check, in addition to the medical examination.
I got the medical examination in Ukraine. It cost $250, but that's probably a damn site cheaper than America.
Would the school contribute anything for this, I asked?
Unfortunately, no, I was told.
The police background check?
I sent off for one from my home state in America. It cost $25. I had done that for Saudi in 2013, so I knew where to do it. It could be done by mail.
That took a couple weeks to get.
So I can go to Hong Kong and get the visa now?
Now, apparently, one can only get the Chinese visa in one's home country.
Since I was in Ukraine, I found a ticket back to America for $1100. A heavy expense, but I really needed to go see my ill father anyway.
I sent off copies of all the stuff, waiting for the invitation letter. I'd apparently have to go to the nearest Chinese embassy myself (a 9-hour drive) to get the visa, or hire an agent to do it (costing a couple hundred bucks, total.)
But then I got an e-mail.
There's a little problem with your teaching certificate, I was told.
See, I don't have a CELTA. I have a DELTA. The new law requires that the certificate state that it was a "120 hour" training course. DELTA is a far longer and more in depth course, but the law states that the certificate must state the number of hours studied, which mine does not.
I got some letters from the place I took it, testifying that the DELTA consists of 206 hours of study and 175 hours of self study. I e-mailed these of to China.
And then I sent a worried letter to the contractor saying this didn't seem to be going too smoothly.
He was shocked about this nit-picking, having spent years in the "Wild East", but said I shouldn't worry.
But then the HR woman in China said that I would have to have the letters and certificate notarized and verified by the Chinese embassy in the country where they were issued.
Which was England.
The contractor checked and said that there was a new Foreign Affairs guy in office who was insisting that all schools must follow the absolute letter of the law.
A bit of research revealed I could hire an agent to do the verifying in London for me, at the cost of $200 - $300 or so.
Just to sum up: To go to China now, you'll need about four interviews, a plane ticket home, a $250 medical check, a police background check, hundreds of dollars in fees for verifying documents, hundreds of dollars in fees to hire an agent to get the actual visa.
But if you have a CELTA, rather than a DELTA, you'll be able to get the visa more easily.
Basically, it's now nearly as hard to get a Chinese visa as a Saudi Arabian visa, and it seems the schools will not pay you ANY of the money you spend on the process.
I told them I had to withdraw from the job offer.
My father's condition has worsened recently, so I decided to forego China for the moment and take a job immediately available in America, which I will discuss in the next entry.
All in all, following the stock market crash and the recent random drug testing of foreigners in Beijing, I'm doubting that this is the best time to go to China anyway. Wild East it certainly seems not to be now.
But the place I'm going is nobody's idea of paradise either ...