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.
Travel safe and welcome back to America and all it has to offer also.
Thanks, Ellen! xo Danielle
I enjoy reading your blog no matter how infrequently you post.
Bob looks fantastic with longer hair and a goatee.
(I appreciate the map!)
See you very soon.
See you soon! Yay! xo Danielle
You are not a failure at anything, I love your blog. Quality not quantity. I am also an infrequent blogger. Cant wait to have you home? Are you leaving now? Come out for my bday!
Dan, you are an intrepid traveler, fun writer and adventurous soul. We should all move out of the country sometime.
We are excited to have you back, for as long as you stay.
Jo, missing your bday tomorrow because I am not flying out until the 13th! See you very, very soon. Love, Dan
I just spent my morning reading your stories. I think you did a great job, even if you didn’t write as much as you had hoped. I am going to recommend that my mother reads them too. I am not even sure she knows what a blog is. But I am sure she will enjoy. XX Fay
Thanks, dear cousin!! xo Danielle
What agreat adventure, I don’t blame you for not wanting to come back just yet.
If you’re living a life filled with adventure, learning a new language, meeting people, seeing another culture, who has time for blogging? Your closure blog is compelling.
See you at some point!
I was busy, that’s for sure! xo Danielle
Keeping up with you and Bob has been such a delight for me! Every post has been a gift. Can’t wait to talk to you!!!! L&L
I hear you and I feel the same way! Wishing for our next opportunity to head out again for a new adventure. The friendships are made quickly as we share something that you can’t explain to those who have not been an expat. We are meeting up with several friends who are now living all over the world on assignments in Ireland for a friend from China’s wedding. A mini reunion! I never imagined that Steve and I would do the things we done and experienced , but feel blessed to have lived in China. How weird does that sound if you have not lived there? I would go back in a second. Not sure next time home, but will message you when I know. Xoxo, kim
Great to be in touch with you over our mutual love of China. It’s not just the expat life, it’s the whole loud, crowded, smelly place which I love. Bob and I took the ferry back to our side of the river after dinner last night and were in a horde of Chinese tourists who were gawking at the Bund and the skyscrapers! I love them and their cute children and their out-of-whack manners. See you somewhere eventually, Kim! Enjoy Ireland. xo
Oh dear, guess I blew right past the window of opportunity to visit you there! So glad you loved it so much and got to travel so extensively in Asia. Looking forward to seeing you and hearing about your next adventure. Love, Nancy
Seriously, you have to act quickly!
What an exciting 19 months. It has been a lot of fun to experience your adventures through your wonderful blogs. Missed you last time you were in the states and came to Nia class. Safe travels home. Hugs, Karen