9 August 2016

August 2015: Something To Remember...

Twelve little months ago I had just about settled into my new life in Wuhan, China, but little did I know it was going to be a month to remember for many reasons! From special encounters and career calamities I overcame the crazy, through that summertime madness I had August 2015 where I wanted it! Right here, right now I'm seeing things from a different view. Go!

Less than three months into my time working at a certain Guanggu based English Training Centre I was getting on with what I was supposed to do. It was different to what I had expected things to be but I thought I was doing a good job, the students liked me and from the sounds of things I would be sticking around for at least my first contract that I had signed on the 1st of July 2015. I didn't get much time off but I made the best of whatever time I had away from work. As far as I was concerned things were going according to plan. Half of August had passed and it was time for me to go the Entry/Exit Bureau to get my initial Chinese entry visa converted into my first Chinese work permit, I was right on time collecting my passport from Wuhan Citizens Home after navigating the Wuhan Metro to Erqi Road then I took a taxi, I didn't get lost though! From that point I felt even more settled for my documents were good!

The lesson observations were becoming more frequent and also felt more invasive, I felt like a goldfish in a bowl who was being watched constantly. Things carried on for a few more weeks, I kept my head down and planned more for lessons because that seemed like the right thing to do. I spoke to my training friends who I had spent the week with in Suzhou, they were not being watched like I was being at that moment! I was conscious of what was going on around me but I tried to take less notice as each day went past. I had just moved to a new country on the other side of the world, a very foreign country, so getting my life together with this new job was hectic enough! Was something or someone trying to push me into a new direction? I remained focused and sought advice from my colleagues, at the end of the day it was something. I had a feeling something wasn't right but I just had to carry on and do my very best! August 2015 was turning out to be a funny old month!

Whilst I was still working at my former English Teaching Centre I would finish work at 9pm, run back to my apartment to get changed then make my way to Lumo Road. I was introduced to this part of Guanggu by a former colleague, I wouldn't waste any time with eating after work so it was always handy to grab some street food. I would live for those rare moments because I never had weekends off or two days together off, I made it happen and for that time it worked! I enjoyed those random Saturday nights out because I knew that I shouldn't of been out! Lumo Road kept me together, it gave me somewhere to turn to if I was feeling thirsty, knowing that it was one of the first places I found to enjoy Wuhan's nightlife makes it a special street. Wuhan Prison became my go-to bar to get a drink when the sun had set, after grabbing my street food I only had to walk a few paces to find myself with a Beer Lao in my hand!

I'm going to slip back into July 2015 for a moment, I had been to VOX Livehouse to see a gig played by a Chinese rock band. I ended up meeting a guy that would become a special friend, throughout August we would meet at Prison, a local alternative bar that can be find in a side-street off Lumo Road. Work may have been tiresome sometimes during those early stages but I found being in his company made all of those problems melt away. In that moment my nights out that I couldn't remember were just as good as those ones that I won't forget, time does move on but those August nights out in Guanggu were great! Aside from making a new friend I was invited out for dinners and KTV outings with students from that English Training Centre, those occasions were great and definitely stand out during that August time. It may sound like I boozed it up all the time but no I was civilised some of the time! As the sunset from one stressful day I knew everything was going to be alright. Yes!

I made not having two days off work fine, I found it challenging to see new places in Wuhan throughout those early months after my arrival but nothing is easy, even sightseeing I tell you! I dragged myself out of bed one afternoon to see Wuhan's Changchun Taoist Temple, it was in actual fact my first ever visit to a temple in China! The temple made me feel calm and it was nothing like I had ever seen before, I bought some incense sticks and learnt about the strict photography rules. I added both Han Street and Jianghan Road to my early places visited during August 2015 in Wuhan. I found my new neighbourhood, Guanggu equally as interesting to explore, not having so much time off from work made me reevaluate my options on what I was going to see during my time in China compared to what I had previously expected. Things were about to change my life in China, nothing had me ready for this bombshell! No!

I looked at my schedule online after my weekend to see that my teaching score go from a 4.5 to a 3.0 or so, it was a big deal at the time! I had just finished having a beautiful weekend of sightseeing and relaxing with my best ones, I had seen the Yellow Crane Tower and the Wuchang Uprising Memorial of 1911, I was ready to return to teaching but that wasn't so! I had been taken off the schedule without no explanation, I was worried for my job and my right to remain in China! I went to that Training Centre for a meeting, in the back of my head I already knew what was going to happen. Yes, I was upset but I went out on the town that night and got horrendously drunk because that seemed like the only good thing to do! Getting my life I called some favours in, I found myself employed within less than 48 hours after that crazy day! August 2015 was definitely a month to remember, I got back up, dusted myself off and made that mishap disappear! I knew I was not going anywhere! No! 

I'm Basically Over You! 

Joseph Harrison 

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