Saturday, April 25, 2015

Personal Assistant

My school has three guys whose job it is to help the foreign teachers navigate living in China. One of them is in charge and the other two help when needed. The one in charge is pretty close to worthless most of the time. You have to ask three times and then the situation resolves itself by being too late to do anything. One time he told me, "You should have a Chinese friend help you with that." I said, "Are you not supposed to be my 'Chinese friend' for these things?"

I have half-jokingly said to my wife all school year that I needed to hire a student to do some of these things for us. But the problem is that most of my students are too rich to want to work for money. Fortunately, I have one student who wants to go on a graduation trip to Japan and her parents either won't or can't pay for it, so she's trying to earn some money. She took to selling snacks in the hallway, but her merchandise and honor-system cash box was stolen. So I asked her if she would do some jobs for us. Her first assignment was ordering vanilla beans for us online. Check. Her second assignment was finding out how we use the pool. (Everyone keeps telling us, "We have a pool you can use," but no one at the pool speaks any English, so we need to know all the rules ahead of time, and no one answers our questions.) She found out a teacher who uses the pool all the time and told me to ask him. Unfortunately, he was one of these, "You walk in and use the pool" kind of guys. No, you don't. Don't you need a "deep-water card" (something I've heard mentioned, but never had explained)? "Well, yeah." Don't you need swim caps for everyone, even short-haired dudes? "Well, yeah." Will they allow my kids to swim without an adult right next to them? "Well, I'm not sure." Can you take a stroller onto the pool deck? "Umm, hmmm."

So Linda's only batting 500 right now. Although she has the added advantage of having chosen the English name "Linda," which is a perfect name for a personal assistant. "I'll have Linda set that up" just rolls off the tongue. But I'm not too excited about her being mere weeks away from graduation. Now I'm going to have to go through the hiring process all over again.

No comments: