I am in Dubai where I arrived last night and where I spend the whole day today. But what the heck am I already doing in Dubai again after just having been there twice in August and October last year?
Like many of you know and as I have written several times before I want to teach English in Beijing and I intended to start working there between early to mid-March this year after Chinese New Year. Therefor during my stay in China’s capital last August I had gotten in touch with two agencies in Beijing which hire ESL teachers.
After a few very positive emails and Skype interviews this January I opted for one of them and I received their contract via email right away.
Well, quite a few points in the contract were exactly what I did not want. After talking to others who have worked as English teachers in China I decided not sign but to do a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course first. This was an easy decision especially since I found a company which offers TEFL In-class courses at various destinations all over the world and which offered a four-week TEFL on-site course in Beijing in March. This course seemed to be perfect for me. I could spend a whole month in Beijing, get my TEFL Certificate within a short time, spend time with friends, explore more of the city and hike further sections of the Great Wall. I was so excited that I could have screamed it out, so I registered and paid my deposit right away. But although I got a confirmation email for the course, my inner voice held me back from booking my flight and applying for the Chinese Visa. At that time I didn’t know yet how right that was: one week after my booking I was told that all course dates for Beijing got cancelled by the local operator there except of one course in June which absolutely didn’t fit into my schedule.
I must say that my contact person at TEFL company was really good and helpful. He answered all my questions immediately and I even considered to do the TEFL In-class in another location especially after being offered a discount. Destinations I thought about going to were Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica, Chiang Mai in Thailand, Kathmandu in Nepal, Zhuhai in Southern China and Chiapa de Corzo in Southern Mexico. But the dates for Manuel Antonio, Chiang Mai and Kathmandu didn’t really suit me and even after a detailed research Zhuhai and Chiapa de Corzo didn’t appeal me that much.
About two weeks ago I made a decision. I will do the TEFL course online with the same company and I will be flying to Beijing independently and on my own. One big reason for that choice was that I have many miles on Emirates and about one six of these will expire irreversibly in June. Neither did I want to waste my Miles nor did I want to use them to go shopping for bags, juwelleries or perfume in the Online Store of the Airline. I think, I have more than enough of these items.
So nine days ago I impulsively booked a flight to Beijing with a 28 hours-layover in Dubai. I know, since I have been to both Dubai and Beijing two times last year (and to several places along the Silk Road of China, to Vietnam and Bangkok), this may not sound very imaginative especially compared to the travel plans of my parents.
Tomorrow they will be heading onto their next adventure which will take them to Buenos Aires where my Mom still has a friend from the time when she worked at Bayer in Buenos Aires in her early twenties. They will also be visiting El Calafate, the Perrito Moreno Glacier and the Iguazu Falls in Argentina plus Rio de Janeiro in Brazil before hopping on a cruise ship which will take them to Salvador de Bahia and a few more places in Brazil, to the Canary Islands, Madeira, Malaga and Marseille. Yeah, I am the daughter of a travelling Mom and I am terribly proud of my parents that they never stopped travelling independently.
To add some extra excitment to my own journey, I decided to collect my Chinese Visa from the Visa Service Center of the Consulate yesterday before heading to Frankfurt International Airport. I had applied for the visa in person last week and I didn’t want to go to Frankfurt one extra time only to collect it. Well, honestly although I had planned two extra hours in Frankfurt the whole plan wasn’t exciting but turned out to be a bad idea, stressful and very nerve-consuming since none of the trains I had to take was on time and the ICE, the High-Speed train from Cologne to Frankfurt alone had a delay of 40 minutes. But in the end I got my passport with my Chinese Visa and catched my flight without further problems.
Today I did a Heritage tour through the Al Fahidi Historic District with the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding which was absolutely fantastic. As much as I love the modern part of Dubai, after visiting the Jumeirah Mosque in August and October, I couldn’t wait to get to learn more about the history and traditions and the culture of Dubai and the Emirates and to get see more of Old Dubai. It was so much worth it and I would recommend it to everybody who is culturally interested.
In Beijing I hope to meet friends, do some networking for a potential future teaching job – yes, I still want to teach English in China -, hike along other parts of the Great Wall than Mutianyu and Gubeikou which I have visited before, explore lesser known sights and places in and around Beijing and maybe head out to further away destinations in the Middle Kingdom. So, keep your fingers crossed for me that my plans work out.
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