Life at Sloane House YMCA


A New Job

To prepare my trip to New York City, I borrowed $35 US dollars from the Foreign Currency Control Bureau from the local government. Before I got to New York City, I made a brief stop, arranged by ICYE, at Chicago and Cleveland. By the time I arrived at Sloane House, I only had $2 left in my pocket.

The agreement between ICYE and China was that exchangees were provided with room and board. Sloane House gave me a room and weekly stipend for my meals. I was hoping to bring back some US dollars home when I finished my one-year program. $80 a week was barely enough for me to get by. So I decided to try to something outside Sloane House. But in order to do so, I had to be quiet about it. I did not want to be caught for working illegally. So the best place to work was the Chinese restaurant. One day I was having lunch with Karl Kennedy at a Chinese take-out place on 8th and 28th street. I walked up to the restaurant owner asked her if she had openings. Lucky for me, the restaurant delivery boy just left for Hong Kong and the restaurant needed someone to fill in. The restaurant owner told me he would pay me three dollars an hour, 3 hours a day during week days. I happily accepted the offer. I had never worked for a business before and certainly didn’t know what a food delivery job was. But I wanted to experience it. First day on the job, the owner showed me all the routes as well as tips on how to avoid bad areas in the neighborhood. I anxiously waited for lunch to start. 12:00 sharp, the phone rang. My boss answered the phone and I sensed my job had just begun.
My first delivery was to a place on 28th street. “Right down the street.” My boss told me as she was packing the order for me. I picked up the bag and hastily made a right turn at 28th street. Distracted, I realized I had gone too far when I reached to the corner of 28th Street and 9th Ave. I started running back, towards 8th Ave. I couldn’t help but shaking my head when I found the place: it was the Korean grocery store right by the corner, 20-feet away from the restaurant! When I handed the bag to the guy behind the counter, he was obviously annoyed that it took longer than usual. “No tip for you!” he shouted at me. What a way to start a new job!


At 9:19 PM, Blogger Frank "Randy"Rand said...

HeZuobin.. It would be nice to make a contact on the internet via e mail If you are interested leave a comment. I have traveled in China twice and plan to return in the very near future. I would like to swap stories with you as I had many events that I did not tell in my initial comments. I think it would be fun if we both exchanged our experiences at Sloane House. Having read most of your stories I cant help but take myself back to those times in New York Hopefully we can become friends....Randy Rand

At 9:35 PM, Blogger HeZuobin said...

hi frank,

you can reach me via email on my profile page.


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