Confessions Of A Lone Brit In China #2: First Day In Class

An Englishman in China attempts to find a gaff and settle with the local culture.
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An Englishman in China attempts to find a gaff and settle with the local culture.

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Quality place. The garden was like a jungle of trees. Swimming pool, basketball courts, the business. My 'gaff' was on the 7th floor. Lovely place. Better than what I'd had before. A flat in East Molesey, no furniture, no hot water and located above a funeral parlour. Grim. But this. Tom showed me to my apartment then left as rapidly as he'd come. Bag down. Sit down. Cigarette.

I knew there was another bloke sharing the apartment with me but I hadn't heard a squeak. After a few ticks out he comes out, tall, milky white and gangly as it gets, sporting a mop of long orange hair. With him are two girls, looking equally as seductive as each other. What I was thinking, was worlds apart from what was happening. After binges in south east Asia you know what the crack is. But this is China. So, turns out one of the girls is Matts girlfriend, the other, a very humble virginal student. Lame. However, the apartment was lovely, spacious and that with a balcony. He gave me a smoke and it felt good to be in the company of another westerner. He introduced me to 'Ivy', his girlfriend, and Carmen.

We chewed the fat for a bit and his hatred towards people, China, work and pretty much everything came out. I couldn't have met a more negative person. 'Facking cunts', 'Facking racist batards', 'the shittest job in the world' and that. Wow.

It wasn't the couple of beers chilled out chat I'd expected but, we should never really expect.

It wasn't until 5am when I went to sleep that night. Later that day I was to be taken to the 'school' to meet everyone and begin my induction.

We took a taxi. Quickest way and it took a small matter of minutes. Into the lift and up to the famous third floor.

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I was ushered into the office and immediately bombarded with questions fired from all sorts of people. I could smell the tension and the madness amongst these men. Upon seeing a new face it was like starving vultures eyeing a recently deceased carcass. And that carcass was myself. It was a noisy place in that office on the third floor. Characters from around the world that you couldn't possibly make up. Everyone looked smart, ready, but at the same time, utterly washed up. It was as though they had spent their last few weeks living as fast as they could.

After quick introductions from these creatures as to whom they were and why they were here, in walked the boss. Or, the D.O.S. Wesley. Wes. Wow. I knew immediately things here were going to be fun. And much more than that. There was a crazed and glazed look in his hazel eyes and he had that knowing look upon his face. We greeted each other warmly and he showed me around. He told me a little bit about what was expected of teachers here. It didn't seem like the normal sort of dialogue you would hear. 'Get them talking, that's what you've just got to do, get them talking. We've had some teachers here that have just gone into class pissed up on wine, just shouting at the students. You can't do that. Don't do that.' I liked him. The more he told me of what had gone on before here and the way he described it in detail gave me the distinct impression he was fully enjoying his job. A wicked wicked man in a wicked wicked place.

The place was nice. A living area for coffee talks and the glass doors to the offices of the sales and tutoring staff. These made it exceptionally easy for us to gaze at them all as we walked past. Wesley, raising his eyebrow, as he ominously watched them. We had a little chat and there was no feeling of discomfort. We knew each other and were equally assured of our position in each others company.

I felt at home. Everything here seemed so natural. The front desk girls, containing what couldn't possibly be more than a gasp of thought between them, located at the entrance and would greet every person that strode out of the lift with the exact same smile and welcome. The classrooms upstairs, with names of countries on the doors. The living area. The caged tutors and sales staff sitting in there dens at our mercy. And then, the office. The office at the back, containing creatures one could only possibly find in a place like this. In that very same office were girls of the loveliest nature. The local staff. The things they heard and had to put up with were and are, unmentionable.

The ball was rolling, and we were all just getting started.