Our next big adventure!

ENGLISH TEACHING IN CHINA. Just retired and seeking adventure and or change? Five cities to choose from: Beijing, Nanchang, Yantai, Dalian and Chongqing. Accommodation is provided. Half year and full year contracts (airfare paid). University students. Curriculum provided and full staff support. Chance to travel. Short teaching hours. Contact…

The ad appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of News and Views, the quarterly publication of the Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association. It caught my eye as I flipped through the magazine at breakfast one September morning. I pondered it for a bit before bringing it to Richard’s attention and asking if he was interested. He was and so a new journey began!

Everything was put on hold for awhile when Dad became ill and we headed off to Vancouver to put Operation Parent Care into motion. Now that he’s had his surgery and is recovering well, we’re moving on. We signed the contracts this morning!

We’re going to spend one semester (February 25 to June 30, 2013) teaching English at Liaoning Normal University, a teacher training university in Dalian, a coastal city in northeastern China! We’ll have our own fully furnished apartment right on campus and will have the option of preparing our own meals there or eating in the university cafeteria.

I know, college cafeterias aren’t known for quality food but I’m thinking that not having to grocery shop, cook and clean up  and having the opportunity to sample local foods while mingling with students and fellow staff members doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. We’ll definitely try it out.

In case you’re wondering, no this is not a mission trip. The People’s Republic of China is a communist country that has traditionally been quite closed to Christianity. In fact, our teaching contracts contain a clause that says The Teacher shall respect China’s religious policy, and shall not conduct or engage in religious activities incompatible with the status of a foreign teacher/expert. What does that mean? Upon inquiry, we’ve been told that we’re welcome to bring our Bibles with us and to read and study them in the privacy of our own apartment. We also know that there are Christian churches in Dalian and have been assured that we can attend one if we want to. While this isn’t a mission trip per se, I firmly believe that our mission field is wherever we happen to be; that God can use us anytime, anywhere. He’s done it before and I’m sure he’ll do it again.

Censorship is also an issue that we’ll have to learn to live with. According to Wikipedia, internet repression is considered more extensive and more advanced there than in any other country in the world. The government not only blocks website content but also monitors individual internet use. Facebook is blocked but we’ll be able to use email as well as Skype to keep in touch with family and friends. China has also been known to block WordPress blogs but I’m already looking at ways to get around that if it happens. I can’t imagine not being able to share our experiences with all of you this way! After all, that’s how Following Augustine started in the first place.

The next step and one that I hope goes quickly and smoothly is getting our visas. We’ve submitted the many documents that were required so that the recruitment staff in China can apply for visa invitation letters for us. Once received, we’ll take them to the closest Chinese consulate, which is located in Calgary, to arrange for the visas. Then there are travel arrangements to make and packing lists to be made!

I’m excited and just a wee bit overwhelmed but first comes Christmas! By the time the fun and family time is over my feet will be back on the ground and I’ll be able to begin seriously preparing for our next big adventure.

map_of_china

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maggie L R
    Dec 20, 2012 @ 21:30:48

    I am so excited for you… what a place to go, tucked away in a far corner of the world… My prayers go with you as you journey into the future.
    I wish and pray for you Merry Christmas and a very safe and exciting New Year.

    Reply

  2. Donloree
    Dec 23, 2012 @ 07:09:01

    Wow!!! This is so exciting. 🙂 I am seriously pumped for you guys. If there is a blog blockage there will have to be another solution because we need to hear what happens and what you do. Awesome.

    Reply

    • edebock
      Dec 23, 2012 @ 21:35:21

      Back in September I commented “Oh, Donloree, you are speaking my language here! I’m definitely in that same rut… feeling bored and unchallenged but not sure what mountain I want to climb.” on your Being Afraid is Officially Boring post. I guess China is my mountain! I’ll do my best to make sure you can climb it with me via the blog.

      Reply

  3. silverscreenings
    Dec 26, 2012 @ 17:01:34

    This sounds fascinating. Am really looking forward to following your adventures, if you`re able to find a way around the censors.

    Reply

    • edebock
      Dec 26, 2012 @ 19:36:01

      According to an online Chinese Firewall Checker that checks whether or not certain websites are accessible from within mainland China, my blog should be! Not sure how easily I’ll be able to post new entries but apparently there are ways to get around the firewall if I need to.

      Reply

  4. Trackback: Time flies! « Following Augustine
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