Before I came to Yangzhou, I wanted to live in the housing arranged by the school, but I specifically asked not to have to share a room. When I was told that a single would be no problem, I was so very proud of my negotiation skills and of my work experience. Clearly I provide so much value that my employers wants to make me comfortable and happy! I’m so great!
Now that I’m here, I’ve ended up with a double room to myself, plus a Western bathroom with a bathtub, too. (The water doesn’t actually get warm, and the faucet has been disabled so it’s only a shower, but Yangzhou in summer is place for cool showers, not steaming tubs). Our rooms are in a sort of long-term hotel, which mean my room is cleaned when I’m out, toiletries are replaced, my trash is taken out, and I never have to go to the bank office to pay my utilities.
My room is awesome, is what I’m saying, but no thanks to my negotiation skills. Turns out that both the other women are here with their partners, so there isn’t anyone for me to room with, anyway.
In related news, I made it three days in China before I got a surprise transfer at work. My school has three campuses around the city, all within walking distance of my room. I started training at one of them, but on my second day, I was asked if I’d mind teaching at another one. The asking was quite nice because I could just as easily have been informed that starting right now, I work somewhere else.
It was a little disappointing to switch, because it took me those two days to find the first campus easily (Pro tip for schools employing foreign teachers: Show your staff where classes will be held, or draw a map, or at least give verbal directions. A text saying the school name in pinyin and the time of expected arrival is really not sufficient.), so it was disappointing to be reassigned just as soon as I was confident I could get there easily.
My new school is literally across the street from my room, though, perfect for a lazy commute, or for avoiding the school’s squatters. And since there are only three female foreign teachers and three campuses, I’m not entirely surprised I was moved to the only campus without a lady laowei.