I neglected to offer background on my move to China. I sort of assumed people know as much as I do, which is minimal. That and a lot of my focus is on things like, "What will I eat?" "What do I do about the pollution?" "What will I do with the kids?"
But here's what I do know:
|by Ray Chang on flickr, Confucius Temple area, Nanjing|
But here's what I do know:
- I'm moving to Nanjing, China. A richly historical city that has a great expat community, and boasts many well regarded universities. I have been told that if Shanghai is considered the New York of China, then Nanjing is its Boston. (I have arranged for a tour of the Nanjing University of the Arts next week!) The city is listed to have anywhere from 6-8 million residents. It's huge. I don't know what that's like, but it should be exciting. I'm told it's one of the more green cities in China, situated near the Purple Mountain. Despite its greenness, pollution is still a big problem. We have been following the air quality numbers with an app and have been trying to imagine what it will be like with the kids on bad air days. I'm told it's manageable. I'm also told I can find pretty much any Western amenity to which I'm accustomed, however it will cost me. That is a relief, but also a welcome challenge. I don't intend to wallow in my Westernness, and I'm all too eager to shed some of it. I hope to experience Chinese culture to the best of my abilities.
- We are going on a one week trip to choose our new home, schools, visit local institutions with which we need to be familiar: grocery stores, post office, banks, church. Then we probably move "for good" (3 years) in July or so. Things can be delayed for a million reasons. After 3 years are up we have no idea if that would be extended or if we'll go elsewhere or just come back to the US afterwards. We know pretty much nothing.
- Shanghai is a 2 hour train ride away. So I'm told. That seems cool.
See how the knowledge sort of tapers off quickly?
I suppose I should also mention what may already be obvious: I've never been to China, though Mike has been twice. And I'm moving there, sight unseen, with my three kids, for three years. I feel like a crazy person, because this is what crazy people do. They move to countries willy-nilly.
Although I'm not really moving willy-nilly. The truth is I would never move if it weren't for my husband's job and company providing tremendous support. So I don't want to sound all intrepid when while the move will be difficult, it is not like going there by ourselves, like many people do all over the world, every day, under far more difficult circumstances. I'm no special snowflake (xue3hua1), and I know it.