What a long, strange trip it’s been! Bob and I just moved out of the apartment where we have have been living for exactly 19 months. Exactly! January 26, 2014 to August 26th, 2015. We stood in the floor to ceiling windows and said goodbye to our view, to the fun, the parties we had, the fireworks we saw, the life we experienced., everything. He said something like “it’s been great, let’s do it again.” And so we shall.
We are wrapping up this wonderful life here with even more dinners, massages, quizzes, card games, book club, Mahjong and just general partying with the gang. We paid our “Ayi” (housekeeper), gave her every last thing that we couldn’t either carry back or ship home, recycled some stuff, threw out the rest, put the cat at our neighbor’s for safe keeping, vacuumed, washed the floors and tada! We are out of there.
All of this is at the tail end of 2 months when Bob has been in transition after his company was sold. We traveled home to California, to Bali, and to Tibet. Before I leave, I am taking one more trip with the charity group I volunteer with called Heart to Heart to the province north of us called Jiangsu. See handy map here.
Expat life is a pretty tough gig to walk away from. On the one hand, we return to life in the United States which is fairly organized, clean, rule driven, neat and tidy. Lovely clean air, clean (if not abundant) water and major conveniences. Who cares? I want to stay in the bad air with the bad water with the rotten smells and crazy yelling, smoking, spitting people. Why not? It’s just so much fun. Fairly often, we go to restaurants with 17 people, order as much Chinese food as possible, have as many drinks as we can and then afterwards split the bill. It comes out to $23.00 each. Friendships are handled like summer camp. When we make friends, we don’t waste any time letting the friendships deepen–it could all be over any moment! Carpe Diem! Exchange phone numbers and emails immediately! Start the friendship with a double-cheek kiss today!
Bob is looking for his next opportunity and it could lead us back to Shanghai. For now, the Chinese government requires that we leave as our visas expire.
I will write more about some of the trips we have been on this year which I have not mentioned yet. Check out this list of travels this year: I went to Vietnam, Guizhou (see map), Bali twice, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Tibet! I looked back and in these 19 months I have only written 18 posts and hardly mentioned half of our trips. You’ve been warned. A writer can accomplish a lot with some fast internet.