“Are you sure you want to leave China?” Johan looked up after reading through the papers that I thrusted at him.
“I’m never sure about anything.” I replied jokingly.
Except it was true in this case.
A few months ago, when I first found out about Johan’s rejection from UofT, I had a spur of the moment idea to stay in Shanghai with him. Unfortunately, as I had given the school my notice long ago, I assumed they already found someone.
“No Problem.”Ronnie promised me, “I get you job.” She winked and I secretly wondered if she was in the Chinese mafia.
Eager to keep me around, she had sent my CV to everyone in her circle. Being a headhunter herself, she had many connections in the recruitment world. One of whom turned out to be Jack.
Jack worked for a company that specialized in education recruitment. He had asked for my CV during one of our initial encounters; a clever invitation to further flirtation. I briefly wondered about any potential conflict of interest, but that never became a problem. After I met Johan, Jack had almost if not completely, escaped my mind. By the lack of communications, I assumed the feeling was mutual. So I had given him no second thought, until that is, he called me out of the blue.
“Hi Kathy…” Jack sounded nervous on the phone. “Um, your friend Ronnie contacted me with your CV.”
I knew Ronnie sent out my CVs awhile ago, but I had since then given up on the idea of staying in China. Especially since Johan had also decided not to stay.
“Oh hiii!” I cringed at my high-pitched voice, and cringed at flashbacks of us making out. “Um, did she now?”
“Um well, you were already in our system. If you recall, I had gotten your CV awhile ago…” His voice drifted off and the conversation got even more awkward.
It’s not weird unless you make it, I said to myself. Just…be professional!
“Yes. Correct. I remember.” A terrible British accent came out instead.
“Well, our company is hosting a job fair this Saturday.” He continued, appearently not thrown off by my weirdness. “It’s one of the biggest education job fairs in Shanghai. Would…you be interested?”
I had already decided to leave China and was unlikely to change my mind. However, I couldn’t help but be curious. I was interested to see what the job market was like in Asia having been with the same school for over 3 years. They could have been using me as slave labour and I wouldn’t know otherwise. Plus like my dad always says “Get an offer first, you could always say no later.” At least I think he was referring to job offers.
Jack gave me the details and I went to the job fair with no particular outcome in mind.
Based on past experiences, my life in Shanghai had a pattern. When I desperately want something to happen, it never does. Like how I desperately wanted Johan to get into the University of Toronto, and already planned our future there. However, when I have no expectations, similar to how I first met Johan, things happen in the snap of a finger.
Now that I think about it, that’s kind of like how I ended up in Shanghai in the first place.
So despite having no real intention of working in Asia, I was offered a job on the spot. A great job, almost double my current salary, with perks usually reserved for fat cats of the business world. The position was in Chengdu, and I briefly pictured myself eating Szechuan food and hugging pandas.
“Are you thinking of staying now?” Johan asked again as he handed the contract of employment back to me.
I stared at the number of zeros following the money sign and had no idea what to say.