a confessional tone

i apologize for the lack of capitals in this post, but i’m posting from my ipad and i disabled the auto correct feature because i found it to be less than intuitive about what i actually wanted to type. i also apologize for the general lack of posts on this here blog, but we’ve both been quite busy in one way or the other, more so in the one way for her and the other for me, but what can you do. and i’m mostly posting now because maria asked me to, and thought it might be good for me, and even jokingly said that it’s close to the only way that she’s able to find out what’s going on with the sean. so here goes.

i would like to comment a bit on the odd day to day expenses that occur in th is country. now it is very cheap, unreasonably so even, to eat out, buy groceries, cook, find entertainment, see friends, etc., so that in general, one does not actually need to make a lot to live very well. we buy massive bags worth of fresh produce for less than 30rmb, all the groceries we could want for less than 50rmb, plus fruit and freshly prepared cold chinese salads and we’re looking at no more than the equivalent of 20 dollars and we’re set for at least a week. by some estimate, one only needs a quarter of that to live very comfortably in this country. but then, there’s rent.

now maybe i’m unreasonable, but i have a certain standard that i find hard to give up, especially when it concerns the place that i call home, the bathroom that i do my business in, and the kitchen that i prepare meals for the ones i care about in. you can rent a place very cheaply, no more than 30 dollars a month, but it will be underground, is a literal room, have a shared bathroom with no gauranteed hot water, no gaurantee of windows, and definitely okitchen htough you can bring your own electric stove and many people do. that’s the bottom of the pole.

and then there’s the chinese style apartments which are, for most intents and purposes alright, but shoddy, feeling like they’re falling apart, and they are, with no regard for the common spaces of the buildings meaning you can be on the highest floor and all the lights will be out in the hallways so you’ll feel like you’re living in a cave. and the bathrooms, lord save me from the bathrooms. so that’s like, the middle, wh ich, unfortunately, from a standards point of view, i find difficult to accept.

now i realize this might make me seem like a snob or something, but for the same reason that i never understood why people don’t care about the quality of their hotel rooms while on vacation based on the flimsy pretense that they don’t plan to stay in that that often didn’t and doesn’t make sense to me i mean, you need a place to stay right, some place comfortable because what happens if you’re sick or too drunk you don’t want to passout in a trash heap i can’t come to terms with an apartment that i dread the thougt of taking a shower in, which is most chinese apartments. but that makes up the middle tier as far as quality goes.

then there are those places meant for foreigners to stay in, built from the ground up for them, and are of decent quality. noe i say decent only because even they could use a good bit of work. one common complaint is the abundance of mold on the walls of even the most expensive, and i do mean most expensive as these places can run for close to western prices, of places just still feel like they are falling apart, and they are. but, you can find places that will satisfy my standards, but again, they’re expensive.

which brings us to the point that i find myself in an odd employment state. you see, i’m no longer. the foreigner who’s willing to relocate and work in beijing, i’m the foreigner who’s already here and is looking for a job, with the major difference being that while the former has an allure of self sacrifice, and thus the appropriate compensation to go along with what ever jobs may fall under that category, the latter does not, and will pay close to absolutely nothing for work that in any other country will earn me a decent living. bottom line, i can’t make more than 700 dollars a month doing full time programming work in this god forsaken country. now that isn’t actually bad by chinese standards, and were my only goal to pay for our day to day expenses, i’m golden, but i need to pay for rent, and i need a place that i am comfortable taking a shower in, and that’s where the conflict comes into play, namely i for the moment just, can’t.

and the irony of it all, my father just got a new place in beijing and it meets our standards, and is cheaper by far than anything else out there we’ve found, but is in the wrong part of town, and i think that makes all the difference.

but the plan is to continue searching, both for a job and an apartment, and i think we’re going to venture way the far out of town to a place that’s still subway accessible, and easilly accessible might i add, but hopefully very inexpensive by virtue of it being far away, and we might be lucky out there.

let’s see, other problems that plague the sean. he needs to leave again out of the country by july 15 to get on his last entry into the country. and this will be the last one as his visa expires at the end of august, as in proper expires and he will need to go back to the united states to get a new one, which he really does not want to. for reasons beyond his countrol and knowledge and patience to sort through his working visa still hasn’t come through, and neither had maria’s, but she no longer needs to worry because a) she’s going back to the states anyways and b) she will get a student visa through tsinghua. the sean’s plan though is to get on his last entry, as cheaply as possible, then at the last mi nute switch while in country to a 90 day single entry visa, which he knows he can, so he cwn stay in the country until the end of november by which time hopefully some other, better solution would have presented itself. at the moment he doesn’t care which: his father comes throug, he gets employed elsewhere, or he pays somebody 1000 dollars and they give him the visa in that shady, underhanded, sort of grey area kind of way. it really doesn’t matter.

back to i here, i think. i had also planned on joining maria in the states and nyc for her internship this summer, but the feasibility of it is minimal. the expenses unfortunatly just far outweigh the gain, and if i go, i have to plan on staying, which is a decision i’m not yet ready to make. i definitely want to be here when maria starts her school so if i head back to the states it will be after that so no point making the expense now. startup expenses in general back in the states is also just in general prohibitive so even if i wanted to, maybe the best i can do is go back to los angeles which actually doesn’t sound that appealing. i’m kinda holding out that china will still work out in a bit way and we’ll all make our personal fortunes here and change the world for the better.

which at least there’s still a chance of, and having lost most of my steam for blogging, i will end here by saying that no matter what, the sean is trying to be optimistic, and hey, he hadn’t thought of this but maybe he and maria can get married; that’ll solve his visa problems.

oh and the restaurant is a complete bust incidentally. to summarize in the quickest way possible, there’s been management issues from the get go, the owners no longer like each other, for some reason one half viewed my desire to no longer be their full time employee as a sign that they should exit the business as well so they gave my dad some time to find someone to buy them out, and since it obviously didn’t happen fast enough they’ve been threatening to close down the business and then wanted to buy us out which, well, hey, seemed like quite a good deal actually because we were done with the stupid thing anyway and didn’t want to have anything to do with it and if you’ll listen to my father about it, he’s convinced the entire thing was a conspiracy to get the entire business by the other half owners at a greatly depreciated value by driving me out, driving the restaurant down, then lording over us the fact that they have more money to convince us to sell out to them, but things really came to a head when, afraid that they might steal our business licenses my father put up fake copies on the walls and, lo and behold, the next day they were stolen from us, and then when maria and i went to go check our mail because we’re using the restaurant as our mailing address because it’s convenient we find that they had changed the locks on us and were no longer able to get in, and that they had fired all the staff and closed the restaurant without telling us! what is wrong with these people? they were just in the middle of negotiating how to buy our half our when all of a sudden, chaos. so now maria and i have no place to get our mail which is a) a shame and b) just inconvenient as far as timing goes because we’re expecting her all important actual enrollment confirmation packet from tsinghua which should also have the confirmation that the chinese government is going to pay for all her tuition and housing and give her a monthly stipend to live on in. that was sarcastic by the way, though it’ll be cool if it happened that way, but we are actually waiting for this packet and it’s being sent to the restaurant and we’re not sure how to get it anymore because these people are insane!

so here’s to hoping it all comes together, heh, and that those we’ve wronged or disappointed in the past may forgive and move forward with us towards a brighter and better future.


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