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I haven't been on here in forever. I keep meaning to pop my head in, but just haven't had any extra time whatsoever to spare for about the last month and a half. We've been insanely busy, but things are finally starting to slow down a bit. So I wanted to give a little update on what we've been doing and, yes, where we live now (we've moved)!
To make a super-long story very short, when we left China in mid-July, we were still planning to go back again for one more year. We knew that our program in Shenzhen was almost definitely going to get canceled, which is another long story, but it had to do with contractual and financial disputes between the three (!) different entities that were running the program. But even in spite of that, we thought that one of these three agencies was still going to hire us on again to go start a new program in Nanning. At least, that's what they told us in early May. But then they basically stopped talking to us after that. For three months. We kept trying to hound them to give us information about what was happening and what their plans for us were, but they were very deliberately vague and uninformative. Finally, in early July (right before we left!), we were told that the program in Nanning was canceled and that we would either be coming back to Shenzhen or going to start a new program in Shanghai, but that they would tell us more later.
We flew home, relaxed for a bit, visited the inlaws, etc., and waited to hear back from them. In late July they finally told us that the program in Shenzhen was definitely canceled, and that we would be going to Shanghai. We started making preparations to return, to get new visas, etc. But THEN, two weeks after that update, they contacted us again to start arranging for our apartment in Shanghai, and at that point they informed us that our housing allowance would now be $200 per month less than it had been in Shenzhen. That went completely against what they had told us earlier (in May they had told us that all of our compensation for the coming school year would be exactly the same). By that point, we were pretty fed up with dealing with them. We had also come to realize that living in Shanghai was going to be a whole lot more expensive than living in Shenzhen, because we would have had to pay to have our nanny move there with us and pay for an apartment for her, and we also would have had to fly Charlie in and out of the country 3 times in the year for a 'visa run' (another long story). So in the end, it just wasn't worth it to us to go back. At that point we declined the contracts that they offered us.
I was all set to start looking for work abroad again, possibly in China or possibly in another country, and in fact I even contacted my former employer in China (from 2010-2011) and they indicated that they would be willing to rehire me. But my husband put his foot down and said that he was NOT moving abroad again, not under any circumstances. He said that he's been traveling non-stop since he was 17 years old -- almost half of his life -- and that he's sick of it and ready to settle down. He said that his parents are getting older, and ailing, and he wants to be near them in case something happens. So he pretty much insisted that we stay here in the U.S. and try to find work. I was really not looking forward to that prospect, though, because the last time we moved to Virginia we both spent basically an entire year looking for work and never had much luck. I thought it would be the same story all over again.
But that turned out not to be the case. My husband actually found full-time work, with benefits, within four days of turning down the Shanghai job! He works in warehousing now for a furniture company. And then over the next two weeks after that, I actually got three job offers, all for part-time teaching positions. I ended up accepting two of those positions (and am greatly enjoying them, actually). So that's our new arrangement -- my husband works full-time, I'm a stay-at-home mom most of the time, but I do work about twenty hours a week. My mom provides childcare for the kids during the few hours of overlap between my husband's work schedule and mine. (So thankful for her! She is what's making this whole arrangement possible). We've taken a bit cut in income, so we've moved into a tiny but cheap apartment, and we're making it work. I'm actually greatly enjoying the more laid-back lifestyle, though I've still got itchy feet, dreaming about going abroad again, and my husband and I are still having discussions about that.
So that's our update! Like I said, I've been insanely busy, but I did quit two of my Praise Teams so now I just have one CT commitment left. I'm going to really go out of my way to try and make more time for scrap. I've been missing everyone around here! I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday.
Gosh, it's been so long since I checked in here (BAD BAD HOSTESS!!)!
Isn't it funny how life works out like that sometimes? That is GREAT that you guys were able to settle down and find jobs right away. I bet it is a real change to be back stateside permanently. Thanks for updating us - sorry it took me so long to see this!!