Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Leaving Beihang 

Well, I thought I pretty much had my stuff down to what I could carry myself to James' place--my cooking utensils and stuff are at my neighbor's place in the foreign teachers' dormitory. But I was left with a little too much for one person to take on the subway, so I called Rachel and Eason. It was a good thing, because Eason happened to have the day to take Rachel to the hospital for her checkup (she is expecting a baby), so they were able to come right over. Really speeded up the process of getting the last stuff out of my apartment.

Six years. Well, not exactly. I started out in the apartment next door, and took the chance to move to this one when they did the remodeling three years ago. But once more, it is time to move. When I came to Beijing six years ago, I thought perhaps I would be in Beijing for quite some time. Now everything is up in the air. But putting aside the question of whether to stay in Beijing, or look for work somewhere else in China, I always knew that my stay at the university would be temporary. Foreign teachers just are not regarded as permanent fixtures on a Chinese university campus. They don't all have rules like the one at Beihang (that foreign teachers over 55 cannot be given contracts), but in the past they have tended to discourage foreigners from staying too long. That is changing, but slowly.

No matter. As I said, I knew all that when I came here, (even though I was not aware of this specific rule). And I took great pains to keep informed of what was going on, so that my departure would not be a last minute surprise (as is often the case). I had plenty of time to prepare for this, but not because the university went out of their way to tell me. But they have been quite patient with me--my contract expired in January, and it is already the middle of March, so I leave without any complaints. It has been a good six years. It's time for something new.

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