Saturday, March 28, 2009
SATURDAY RAMBLE - A SKYPE RELATIONSHIP
Starting a blog was the most uncharacteristic thing I had ever done in my life. when I finally started to get the hang of it, I went, "Phew, I'm glad I survived that!"
But then, my/our son wanted us to buy a webcam.
Oh no, we can't do that.
A webcam is a gadget. We don't buy gadgets!
It's just against my principle.
Which principle? I don't know which, but I am against it. And, I don't want to change. Why not? Just because.
But who has a webcam in her house now? The very same person, who said she was against gadgets.
What made me change my mind? Of course! Aaaaach, I can't even look at myself in the mirror. I'm such a weakling. Money made me change my principles!!!
So, why is that webcam so important? So we could converse with our son,and see him without the $200 bill the phone company sent us after Christmas, just alone for that call. With Skype we can talk for free via the computer and webcam, as long as we want to.
For the past few years my son has been living in China to teach English. After his first year we took the opportunity to visit him and travel together to 4 major cities in Pre-Olympic mainland China. (Some of my painting experience there is in my post "Bridges.")
A totally different world from Hong Kong, still called "the West" by mainlanders. Even the Chinese need a special visa to visit Hong Kong!
His next summer he spent a month with us.
He feels very much at home in China. Even to the point that he eats cold noodles for breakfast. When he was home for that month, I could tell he was going through a culture shock, because everything in China was better.
In this country they start teaching English in kindergarden. There are private schools, even remedial schools when students fall behind, and private tutors, if the child still is not able to keep up.
When a foreigner teaches English, the job mostly comes with a rent-free apartment. The school also takes care of the visa. Even without any experience the start-up salary is one and a half of what the average Chinese income is. Foreign teachers earnings are higher than that of Chinese. I know it's unfair, but in many countries it's like this.
Today, my son told on Skype that it is very confusing for the students. Their books are in British English, but the teachers most often teach American English.
In the beginning of our conversation I heard a loud hammering in the background. When I asked what that was, he told something that is unthinkable for a westerner.
"When they have to fix something in the building, they don't have a set schedule," he told me. In my previous apartment their schedule was to work at night."
"So what do you do then?, I asked dumbfounded.
"Stay away at night, as much as you can," was his response.
No wonder they call it the land of the rising sun.
Oh no...that's Japan...right?