April – Breakdown

In April, I learnt that I was not superman. Anyone could have told me this but I had to go through a crushing experience before I realised this. During April, I committed myself to:

  1. Teaching English – part of my job description. About 25 hours a week.
  2. Mandarin lessons – 4 + 4 + 4 hours of lessons, travelling and homework.
  3. Coffee house – planning and rehearsals.
  4. Gym – some hours in a sweaty dark gym. The gym I go to in London is bright, well ventilated and has a rowing machine. I still prefer the Tianjin gym
  5. Mock interview practice – I scared the living daylights out of her. Oxbridge interviews were easier. She passed the real thing in the end.
  6. Website – Creating the school’s new website was in full swing. Even though the technical aspects of the website design were outsourced, management still took a lot of time.

The pressure took its toll. Sometime in April I got very upset and extremely annoyed. I felt over-worked and under-valued. I wanted more help. I sulked.

This showed a lot about me. I enjoy helping people wherever I can. I value hard work. I feel that every minute of everyday should be productive. I need the acknowledgement of others for my sense of self-worth.

I learnt that this was incredibly unhealthy and I had to change my routine. I realised my limitations. There is a need for rest. April turned out to be my last Coffee House. I also booked a short holiday to Korea in May.

Looking back after a hectic 4 months in London makes April seem like a gentle time. However, I get to take a break from work on the weekends. My work life in Tianjin was more constant and there was the on-going pressure of cultural adjustment.

The Coffee Spot

I had my first meeting with Daygan. He was another fellow Tianjin Expat. But he was involved in local radio rather than teaching English. He started an ambitious project to open a Cafe in the heart of Tianjin. It’s called the Coffee Spot. Judging from the website, it looks like it’s successfully running.

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