Though the days were long and ridiculously boring at times, it turned out to be a great opportunity to not only meet other teachers placed at training centers across the country, but to also get to know teachers that were working at the same school I was employed.
With that, one night my colleagues and I decided to hit a western-style pub after work. It lied just up the street from our campus and, per Tuesday nights, was hosting its ever-so-popular weekly 'quiz night.'
The vibe was awesome. We chatted, munched on a few appetizers, and wound up drinking WAY before the trivia started. What's more, we'd continue tossing back more booze throughout the night and were even bold enough to mix alcohol during the final stretch, ditching the beer for more hard-hitting vodkas. It was A BIG MISTAKE, but I'll get to that later.
And that's when the host announced the ultimate tie-breaker question: 'What is the distance between the Earth and the sun?
Are kidding? That's it? Everybody knows the answer to that question; heck, it’s space 101, well, at least I thought. The sad part is that all of my colleagues drew blanks—ALL of them. It's then that I blurted out, "93 million miles!" Was I 100% sure? Not really, but I was pretty damn sure. So f**k it, we submitted the answer.
And BOOM. Less than 5 minutes later we'd be toasting and celebrating our triumphant trivia night victory. We were even given a 500RMB gift voucher and a complementary bottle of Russian vodka from the bar—we'd agree to save it for another time—of which I wound up keeping. It was a great night. We ate good food, I had the chance to bond with my new coworkers, and I got the final answer right on the quiz. Not a bad way to start out at a new English teaching job in Shanghai right?
And then the time came. Our trainer asked everyone to stand and line up against the wall. No problem, that was the easy part. For the life of me I can't remember exactly what the first group did, but I do recall that I ended up feeling sicker just looking at them moving and swaying back and forth. It was motion sickness, somehow without the motion.
Tic-toc, tic-toc. My stomach was about to explode at any second. "I can't do this s**t," I thought. And with that, I quietly snuck out of the room and into the hallway.
It's funny; the next few seconds were like a scene right out of a comedy movie. I desperately needed to hit the bathroom, but in order to get there I'd have to walk down this ridiculously long hallway full of headquarter’s staff perched in cubicles on both sides of the aisle. "You've got to be s**ting me!"
Deep breath. I proceeded, walking as slow as I needed but as fast as I could. I remember looking down the entire time, careful not to lock eyes with a familiar face. The slightest ounce of conversation, even just a simple 'Hello', and I'd vomit right in the face of whoever I was speaking with. It'd be an embarrassment of a lifetime.
Finally! It was the longest 30 seconds of my life but I made it to the restroom. Well, not exactly. Not a second after I opened the door I threw up chunks of food and alcohol all over the place. I barely made it to the toilet. Until this day I thank God that no one else was in there at the time!
And the s**t show didn't stop there. You ever see some scary movie or TV show where the killer is frantically trying to rid of all the evidence before the cops show up? That's EXACTLY the situation I found myself in. I pulled out tissue after tissue as fast as I could until everything was spotless. I can't make this stuff up!
By the time I arrived back into the training room everyone was sitting in a circle—some sort of 'pow-wow' session for God-knows-what. It took a longtime for me to recharge and finally arrive back to my senses.
The whole situation is definitely a funny experience to look back on, but want to know the ironic part? That job ending up being one of the worst I ever had!