Friday, August 22, 2008

The Big News

Or maybe not... considering I always said I'd come back to the US this year... but I did not re-sign my contract with Hess.

But maybe I will stay in Taiwan.

It's tough for a lot of reasons: would I find a job in the US? And make that a job I could stand, with good health insurance, and that payed well enough for me to afford a car and gas for it? When on the other hand I'm pretty happy here, financially life is easy, my Chinese still has, ahem, lots of room to improve...

But I also miss America sometimes. Especially friends and family, of course, but ocassionally I reminisce about easily making a healthy dinner of a salmon burger on a whole-wheat bun with spinach salad on the side...

I didn't re-sign with Hess for a lot of little reasons, but the big one is that I work 6 days a week and although they've given me Friday nights off to attend meetings, that's always "as long as there's a teacher to cover all those classes." But I'd be a lot happier and be able to do more fun things if I didn't work Saturdays and didn't always have to fight about not teaching one class a week.

But, there's more than one English school in Taiwan, and some of them don't make you work Saturdays. So among the decisions I have to make: do I stay or do I go? And if I stay, do I take an ideal job (better pay, work in the afternoons) in Taichung but leave the congregation where I really feel like I fit, or do I take a pay cut and possibly work terrible hours, here? And given that jobs are most plentiful in August and after Chinese New Year (Jan/ Feb), do I try to find a job that will start when my contract is up (end of Nov.), or plan to come home and come back after CNY?

Hmm. I told my Dad I want to put him on the phone with Jasmine and have them decide! But in all truthfulness, I'm not big on unsolicited advice, but if you have advice, I'm soliciting it now! You can email or post a comment.


michael mazenko said...

I was so intrigued to find your blog because my wife and I both taught English for Hess in Taichung for five years from 1992 - 1997. I'd imagine it's a much different place these days, but there are some things - like working for Hess - that I'm sure never change. We loved the time we spent in Taichung, having spent our first year in Taipei, working for Hess but living in the rather expensive suburb of Tien Mu. The move to the central part of the island was refreshing. After five years, we returned to the States, where I began teaching high school English and my wife became a pastry chef (after a short stint teaching as well).

I can relate to your inner-conflict about staying in Taiwan, as well as staying with Hess. There were always frustrating situations. Yet, Hess was always the most stable, consistent place to work, and overall, they were very good to us. Recently, we considered returning to Taiwan when there was a possible position for an AP English teacher at the Taipei American School. The position never materialized, but we would love to return to that environment (we lived near TAS our first year and new an American family there) and immerse our two kids - ages 3 and 6 - in Taiwanese culture.

We love our lives in Colorado now, but there will always be a special place in our heart for Taiwan. Thanks for blogging and giving me some insight. I'm looking forward to reading through your old posts.

Taiwan-Teacher said...

Thanks! I agree Hess has a lot of good points, stability being the main one. I spend a lot of my time doing a volunteer ministry with my congregation and I just can't keep working 6 days a week. I feel like I'm in a better position (than when I came to Taiwan) to seek out a school that's a good fit for me.