It’s Still Your Move

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I apologize for the incredibly long hiatus I’ve taken from this blog. I accidentally spilled hot tea on my trusty Toshiba a few days ago and now it won’t turn on. I fear the internal hardware may be irreparably damaged, which is really unfortunate, because that computer was so much better and cheaper than the Samsung laptop I ended up purchasing on JD for 5.5K RMB. All things considered, it’s not the end of the world. I’m fortunate that I had enough savings to cover a large, sudden expense like a new laptop. Thankfully, I shouldn’t have to purchase another one for at least three years.

On the other hand, work has become uncertain these days. Since I came back from Hong Kong with a head of braids and a skin tone at least three shades darker due to the unrelenting power of the summer sun, I’ve noticed that guests simply ignore or make fun of me. It doesn’t matter that I’m American. It doesn’t matter that I can speak Chinese. It doesn’t matter that I have the ideal body shape – slender, but still curvy in the right places. None of these men are even remotely interested in foreign women – especially black foreign women. If no one is interested, no one asks me to sit down, and I don’t receive any pay for the night.

My first week in Shanghai, I made 10K working in a KTV. In Chengdu, I can’t even get that in a month. The guy I was supposed to teach English to here ended up flaking out major; promising to wait for me while I went on holiday for two weeks, then ignoring every one of my messages once I came back to Chengdu. I’m torn because I have so little money right now and absolutely no hope of being able to get work if I stay at the KTVs in Chengdu.

I love being a hostess. I love practicing my Mandarin every night, drunkenly singing and laughing in lingerie, and throwing dice. After how terribly I performed at most jobs I’ve ever tried, this is the only thing I feel properly suited to do when it comes to earning a comfortable living. I mean, yes I would love to be a full time writer, but it’s financially impossible at the moment as it is for most people pursuing this lofty dream.

Today, I left the company around 10PM, realizing that the day before the Dragon Boat Festival isn’t a good time to get work. Business is always slow one day before and one day after a holiday. So, if a holiday is officially three days, you’ll be taking five days off whether you want to or not. With that notion in mind, I went to Little Amsterdam to smoke away the stress. While there, a twinkly-eyed, white-bearded British man strummed his acoustic and sang the blues.

I saw that he had a chess board in front of him. In an attempt to start a conversation, I asked if I could play, admitting that he’d probably beat me since it’d been a long time. Somehow, we went off on a tangent about music. I mentioned that I enjoy singing. When I was a child, I always dreamed of being an opera singer. He told me he sung professionally in Chengdu and offered his references in exchange for one killer audition from me tomorrow night. He also made sure to remind me, every ten minutes or so, that it’s still my move. The white and black chess pieces stayed lifelessly in a never-ending standoff.

Tomorrow night, I’ll be performing at my first open mic in China. So, I’m preparing a song list and rehearsing all day tomorrow. Perhaps, not being able to get work at the KTV lately isn’t so bad. After all, being a singer is a much more respectable and higher paying job in China. Now that I’m starting to get local connections to the music scene in Chengdu, things are starting to pan out well. It’s still my move.

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