Tuesday, June 24, 2008

decided to take a job...

So I got a call today from a school where I had interviewed on Friday. When I had originally interviewed, the owner mentioned that she would have a position for me but not until September. That wouldn't really help me seeing as how my VISA is up the middle of August. I kept applying for other jobs in the meantime, and then she called today saying there was a position open from 450 to 620 pm Monday to Friday. AND that I would be able to start on July 7th. That'd be cool cause I could travel around the island maybe a little before then and it would give me some time to set up a place to stay nearby.........The pay is ok 620 Tawainese dollars and hour. The school is for kids aged 7-10. When I took a tour of the school it seemed like it was well organized and they would provide the curriculum. She has everyday laid out and what I would need to teach for each day. There are only about 8 kids in the class. The way I figure it for an hour and a half each day it shouldn't be that bad. That's not that many hours but what is great is that she told me she would be able to provide me with an ARC or work visa. Even though I won't be working that many hours with this school, it will let me stay in Taiwan for at least a year. In the meantime I can look for part time work in the mornings or later after 630 at an adult school. From people I've talked to it doesn't seem like finding a job is the tricky part, but it's the hours, getting enough to be consistent that is the hard part. Even my friend who is Taiwanese and an English teacher, works at a few different schools.
The other adult school that wanted to offer me a position is still willing to give me some hours possibly teaching business English. This is much better paid and is basically teaching business people how to format a letter, fax, proper vocabulary to use in different situations, etc. I've looked over the textbook and I think I can handle it. It's not too complicated and most of it is just common business lingo and letter format (finally my year and half as a paralegal is paying off!)....The adult school was recommended by my friend, so I know it's legit. They've also offered me a weekend summer camp class. I need to teach for 3 hours, Saturday and Sunday on the 13th of July about an hour from Taipei in the beautiful Eastern part of the country. I would get 700 per hour and get so spend time exploring another part of Taiwan. So I think I'm gonna do that as well.
I haven't signed anything with either school yet but I think this could work out well....my 7.5 hours in the afternoon with the kids, and have my ARC covered, then I could find part time work in the mornings with another school and work some (albeit sporadic) hours with the adult school where I know at least one other person who works there. The adult school would only start me with one class, but maybe more down the line. I'm hopeful this could work out.

That being said in order to get my ViSA I have to get a health check done at a hospital here. I went today because I had no interviews lined up and to be honest was a little worried because I hate getting my blood drawn (the one thing that I'm a real chicken-shit about) and I know how annoying waiting at the doctor's office can be. I went to the hospital around 1, expecting to be there for a solid 3 hours. For the health check they need a blood test, chest x-ray and a physical by the doctor. So I'm assuming this will take a really really long time. They test for HIV, syphilis in the blood test (which I'm sure I don't have either of), and tuberculosis with the chest x-ray (which I'm pretty sure is something I don't have, otherwise anyone who I've been near in the last month or so may be in trouble). Anyway at the hospital there were tons of foreigners getting their tests done. One thing I will say that I've noticed about Taiwan is that when it comes to bureaucratic stuff, they are really efficient. The health check was no exception. First I had to fill out a form with my name, DOB, medical history etc. I then brought the form to one counter where they verified my ID and gave me a number. When my number was called I went to get "examined" by the doctor. I literally sat there, he looked over my chart and asked "So you fill sick now?" I said no, and then he asked how long I've been here, and if I got used to the heat yet and reminded me to wear sunblock when I was here. Then after a dozen or so stamps (the government loves stamping everything, they put 3 stamps on my VISA, a few on one sheet then on another sheet then a different set of stamps on a third sheet...all the government agencies can't get enough of stamping), he said ok go to the next station. I turned around stood on a scale and my height and weight was taken, more stamps on my forms. Then I turn around again, go to another person at another station put my arm in an automatic blood pressure machine, more stamps, I get up go to another woman who takes my temp. in my ear and has me read a chart. Stamps start flying again and at this point all my forms are more stamp than paper. She tells me to go back to the first register and pay.

I go back pay $1,023 NTD (about 30 US dollars). More stamps and she says go to the second floor for blood work. I really felt like I was being processed for feeding. Like I was on some weird assembly line for English teachers, just one after another. There must've been about 30 foreigners there and I don't think anyone hospital worker spent more then 30 seconds with each.....
So I head upstairs take another number, then when my number's called I sit down and in 4 seconds my blood is drawn and I'm told to hold the cotton swab on for ten minutes, then head up to the 3rd floor for my chest xray. After a minute wait..... I'm in there, told to take a deep breath ....then just like that, done with the xray. The technician stamps a few pages and tells me to go back to the first woman. I head down hand my form...stamp stamp stamp get a receipt and am told to come back in a week to pick it up. haha it was unreal. The whole process took about 30 minutes. It was really like a factory ........we teachers were in .....out.... and processed like the absent-minded commodities that were are .....then sent on our merry way, to teach English across the island. Just like that !
Amazing how easy stuff like that is here. I think it would take days and cost a fortune to do that back in the states.

I have another interview tomorrow with an adult chain school and then one on Thursday with another kids school. Hopefully one of them can provide me with some morning hours. Now though, I'm off to the bars to celebrate my job over some 2 dollar beers.


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