A Facebook friend shared a quote the other day about sharing your joys instead of your complaints. Okay, here was something that got me really happy for a brief moment yesterday.
A coworker and I share a secret: we're both done working here at the end of the year. So he WeChats job openings to me all the time. (Seriously, the dude is doing a better job looking for my next job than I am.) Yesterday, he sent me a screen shot of a listing for my job, with the start date listed as "February 2016." I wrote back, "Wow, that certainly looks like I'm about to be fired."
He eventually figured out his mistake (he thought he'd found it on our school's website, but it turned out to be from a website aggregating all job postings in Beijing). But for about 10 minutes, I contemplated what I'd do if they told me, "Don't come back from Spring Festival." First, I'd make the argument that giving me so little notice prohibited me from working for the rest of the school year, so they needed to pay me the rest of my salary. And if they agreed to that (and they covered the fees of moving my family's tickets from June to February), we'd happily leave immediately. (I'd also want to make sure I got paid in small payments over several days so my Chinese bank account never had more than $10,000 in it at a time, because that keeps me from having to file a bunch more paperwork with the Federales.)
We'd land in Los Angeles with 12 suitcases and we'd have our car waiting there for us, and then what? We'd want to live somewhere cheap but nearby, and I'd spend the next six months finishing my Ph.D. My first choice was west of Cedar City, but the more I thought about it, I think a town in Sanpete Valley would be better. Cedar is kind of expensive because it's a retirement destination, and their temple isn't done.
Anyway, it doesn't matter now. I'm stuck here through July, watching my paychecks become increasingly insignificant (yesterday at the bank I got 6.53/1, a seven-percent decline from when we arrived). But for a little bit, I was very happy.