I roll out of bed, but not before I moan and groan and make my ‘monster’ noises. Getting up never seems to get easier. God help me when a child arrives to dictate my sleep pattern. I do the usual routine, one that is common place for anybody recently risen and preparing for work. Rub sleep from eyes, shower, dress, eat, put off walking out the door and then eventually do it.
I call the lift to the 21st floor and get in. Its an old lift and not the most efficient. By the time I reach the bottom I’m already two minutes into my commute. Then, depending on my mood, I have a quick chat with the doorman. ‘Doorman’, as he asked to be called, speaks a high level of English. Either he is chatty by nature or he just enjoys practicing his English with one of the few people around to do so. I don’t mind either way. I’m grateful for his presence and interest in my activities. He is easily the closest thing to a father figure that I have in Hong Kong.
The lobby, or doorman’s office, is blistering cold. In Hong Kong, it’s not uncommon to counteract the miserably hot summer with subzero indoor temperatures. As much as I love Doorman, he has a bad habit of exaggerating a problem. “Ohhhh, its a big problem,” he says when you ask where to dispose of your trash. It didn’t take long to figure out that we have differing ideas of what is ‘problematic’.
Its a good 5 minute walk to the bus stop. 7 if you’re taking it slow. And the beauty of finally having been here a while is knowing the short cuts. Up this side street, through that building and voila, your commute to the bus stop involves only one problem traffic light instead of three. Newbies waste so much time.
And waste time they do! Before my education ‘on how to catch the bus to work’ by the School of Life, I knew of only one bus I could take. There are actually five- and now I no longer have to curse as I see the 601 drive by while I’m stuck on the other side of the busy road. Within 3 minutes the 680, 10, 8 or 19 will be around to take me to work. Settling in really has its pro’s.
Work starts around 10am. This depends on when your first and last class is. Either way you are expected to be there for 8 hours. I’m a teacher, but not at a ‘real’ school. Here we are expected to bend over backwards to please the richest of the rich while helping their children gain entrance to UK schools like Eaton and Harrow. Hong Kong parents are no joke. Being a Hong Kong child is no joke either- their childhood is so vastly different to mine that I struggle to comprehend it. I won’t go into much detail but let’s just say they enjoy a one day weekend, and seeing your friends is reserved for school.
As each day passes and my hope of becoming someone who writes for money lessons, I think more seriously about becoming a ‘real’ teacher at a ‘real’ school. With a PGCE under my belt I could increase my already high pay check by a third, enjoy summer, winter and Easter holidays like a real teacher should and use that time to get my ass to new and old favourite places.
But for now I’ll enjoy my late morning starts and short commute to work. I’ll hope that someday someone feels like employing me as a writer but I’ll also accept the fact that I’m too lazy to pursue that goal entirely. It’s no small mountain to climb and while I feel like I have the equipment, I’m not sure I have the will-power to push through all the others trying to do the same. Even if their equipment sucks.
Oh and speaking of equipment, my laptop is broken and I have to pay through the ass to recover my hard drive and I’m writing this on not my computer and I’m feeling very sorry for myself.