For instance, I can now afford a cleaning service, and when I return from each of my mini-vacations (I’m about to embark on my third in 12 weeks), my house is sparkly clean and fresh. It is wonderful to come home to a clean house that I did not clean ;-)) Then, there are the vacations: I can pretty much afford to travel each month —albeit, short, weekend trips— while saving money. I was definitely not able to do this before. Due to the holiday schedule, it seems we have had one Friday off each month, for the past three months. Hence, my third vaca and possibly a fourth next weekend, since I recently learned we have next Friday off for Children’s Day Holiday.
Many times in the past few months I have thought that I now lead a life of luxury. I mean, there’s so much I can do and have now, and that is not even the original intent of my post: I have gotten way off track. But all of this is important to remember. I had a bottle of wine delivered the other day for the grand delivery fee of 5yuan ($.80 cents, yes, cents). A delicious dinner of steaming Japanese soup or sushi arrives for 43yuan ($7, including delivery). My entire house cleaned for 160-240yuan ($25-38 for 2 to 3 hours of work) and she folds my clothes and organizes my “piles” of paper and random stuff. Car service to and from work, 4x daily is less than $6US. And I am receiving 10 private Mandarin tutoring lessons for $200US total.
That’s just a start, I think.
But back to the original story of “What is Easy”. I stress myself out about school because I am used to having to kill myself and overwork. Now I have 2 co-teachers, a teaching assistant, and an “Ayi” who cleans the classroom and prepares the children’s food. This is for 24 students. My work day ends at 4:30 and I have a 2 1/2 hour lunch break. Yes, a 180 minutes for lunch... that single aspect is a huge plus! I don’t always know what is going on because of language translations, and one of my co-teachers just tells me to relax , that if I’m supposed to know or do something, I will get the info at some point! Two days a week, I don’t have to be at school until 8:30. The other three I go in at 8am. We have this weird clause in our contract that includes an additional hour-and-a-half of classroom time during the week, but we can set that time up anyway we wish. Some stay late for an hour, working until 5:30, some come in early or spread it out before and after school. I chose to come in 30 minutes early on 3 days. My work week is tremendously short when considering my time spent at school: I arrive 7:50-8:30am, leave at 12noon for lunch, return at 2:30pm, and then depart at 4:30. Essentially, my work day is 5 1/2 hours long, plus the 1.5 extra per week! AND planning is incorporated into my work day! When I return from lunch at 2:30pm, I have until 3:10 for prep time. We also have several times during the work to plan together as a class, and an additional 2 hours on Thursdays for whole grade planning. Consequently, I have to work at night or on the weekends infrequently—which is a change and one welcomed at that!! There is more, but it’s time for school!