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Issue #012 -- Weeks 21/07/14-03/08/14
August 04, 2014

Greetings and general information

First of all, welcome to our new subscribers!

My friends, I hope you’re all well and you’re having a good summer rest – those of you who can afford the time, at least.

You and your friends can subscribe individually through the form on If anybody mentions to you that they are interested in receiving it, please tell them this - many thanks. Also, they can read the previous issues on

Yet again, as last time, I am sorry to disappoint you with such a long delay in sending out this issue. A lot of things happened since we saw each other last time and the roller-coaster hasn't stopped rolling so far. I am now right in the tumult of events that are taking me onto unexpected avenues and turning me upside down, as you will see shortly. I am now on a trip I haven't planned and Internet connection is even worse over here than it was so far since I left China!

Nevertheless, our e-zine must continue to be issued, and this tenth issue brings you the developments of the past couple of weeks, as follows:

21 July- 03 August 2014 - What, indeed, is going on?!?

I was pleasantly surprised one day to wake up to an email containing the job offer and the contract for the position I mentioned before in Suzhou, China. Having seen all my good friends in Spain (well, almost all of them), I then had to make my way back to the UK, to finalise negotiations for the job and sign the contract, to return to Suzhou by 1 August. During my last stop in Spain, visiting my brother in Barcelona, I booked my flight for Tuesday 29 July, when I joined him and his family of four to the airport, leaving to our own destinations: they went to Germany - I, to London.

As they say in English, “there’s no rest for the wicked” and that’s exactly what’s going on with me over here.

Organised as I usually am, on Monday I called the employer’s office in London, to fix an appointment with them, for our last negotiating session, signing the contract and a shake of hands at the end, but I was shockingly surprised to receive the news that the job in question was not available anymore, but instead… they rather needed a kindergarten teacher, which I had told them previously that I wouldn’t accept for the long-term. I could have helped them out on this front until we’d have the necessary staff employed, but not longer than that. Apparently they couldn't open the kindergarten centre as per our prior discussions, due to the need for a licence from the Chinese Government. What - did they only realise this now?!

Just pause and think my dear reader: it was the 28th July and the job in Saudi Arabia requires my presence over there by the 20th August. Leaving for Saudi Arabia implies a long visa application process, for which only the official legalisation of my qualification could take up to 10 weeks!! “Bloody HELL!”… As we say in English…

This is when my roller-coaster takes me down in free-fall: relying on an agency to undertake the bureaucratic procedure for me would push the cost of the visa up by €700, whereas being there in person to do the running around that’s required would probably only add half that sum to the already expensive (£500 plus) visa service. Which did I choose? Right! I arrived in the UK on the 29th July, left again on the 31st and I reached the official documentation office of my old University first thing in the morning last Friday 1 August. What I found out from the note on the door is that they don’t deal with the public on Fridays AND that they’re all on holiday during the whole month of August! “sh---sugar!”

The good thing is that I have good friends over here as well and I managed to get some good advice and have some of the necessary doors forced open for me. We’ll see what happens next and I live with the hope that my legalised degree will make it to the visa agency in London promptly, for me to get the visa, book my flight and get to my other, more secure job in Saudi Arabia in due time.

I shall keep you informed of my present step, as usual. The only thing I know so far is that nothing will happen during the weekend (2-3 August) with regard to the bureaucratic process, so I decided to take some time out and visit a cousin of mine who, at 27, decided to become a nun and she’s lived in this monastery very happily for the past 16 years. This will be my story for the next issue of our newsletter – a champion rhythmic gymnast who decided to leave the mad world outside and to retrieve into the peace of God and her own soul.

Although I had Internet connection both on Monday and on Tuesday last week (not since then, I’m afraid), I couldn’t publish our present newsletter because I didn’t know which side will prove stronger – returning to Suzhou or following the original plan of going to Saudi Arabia after the latest let-down by the Chinese employer.

As a first reaction to the shock, I contemplated returning to China before my rental contract runs out on Thursday 7 August, as I left some of my things in the room. I was convinced I’d return at the beginning of August and find another employer locally, as my visa is still valid until Wednesday 17 September. However, my heart is now closed to this option and my mind is working at full capacity on the other option – my application for the Saudi visa instead. I’m sorry to say this, but the shock I suffered once again, caused by the high unreliability on the Chinese part just about consumed all the hope I had left in my system with regard to the possibility of a sustainable project.

I don’t think this will last forever and I do believe I shall return and follow my wish to create the Western style learning hub I mentioned to you previously, but I do need a break from the ups and downs of Chinese uncertainty and I need to find my balance in life and work right now, so I think the job at the university in Saudi Arabia will just about help me achieve this. Well… at least this is what I think, for what it’s worth, but only time can tell. I'm taking every day as it comes and I use my hope and positive nature to the best of my abilities. I'm not sharing my occasional outbursts of frustration... you don't want to know, believe me :-)

What's the worst case scenario?

One strange feeling I had during this summer: being in my own house only for less than a week between two long-term sessions away. The sensation was that of visiting a museum! I saw things I recognised, I looked at the clothes in my wardrobe and I tried to imagine how it would be wearing them again - I even tried some on... I missed being there and I knew I would miss it again. I looked at all the good books I accumulated during my life in Spain and I thoughts about how much I missed teaching out of these materials. I started to contemplate the possibility of just setting up my online school and operating from my own little home, sleeping in my own little bed every night - no more hard-wood beds and strange kitchens... The thought was abandoned soon enough, as I had promised to contribute to that kindergarten project in Suzhou, while other people were waiting for me in Riyadh.

Given all that happened in the meanwhile, I think this would be my preferred alternative, should my current application fail after all. I'll do my best for this application, but if it proves that my best is not good enough, given the circumstances, well... we'll see.

Other than this, I am very eager to receive news from your side, as to how you are progressing with resolving the problems you are having at Web. I hope you will be able to inform me of good results. I look forward! Unfortunately I didn't have time and the clear mind to read the emails you sent me, so I feel a little bit disconnected.

I had the great chance to speak to one of your colleagues and I am now up-to-date with your situation at Web. I hope your studies are not suffering much and I hope to be able to teach you again, once the thunderstorm passes by and we can all enjoy a more tranquil episode. I shall use the time after publishing this newsletter to check my emails and reply to you, after all this time. I miss you all very much!

OK, I wish you all have a great week ahead and I look forward to updating you on my next developments. Have fun in the meanwhile, as always!

Lucia da Vinci

Founder of My English Club

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