It’s been a little over a month of us moving here and it really feels like we’ve been here longer. We have been living out of a hotel (a really nice one at that) and I feel awful for complaining that it’s still not a home. No matter how luxurious a place is, home is home. Right?
We traveled between Shanghai and Hongzhou so much and I’m happy to say that we are in Shanghai for good. I really disliked Hongzhou, mostly because our hotel was so far from anything fun so I felt trapped in my hotel room. It’s a much smaller city so my broken Chinese couldn’t do much. Taxis didn’t understand me, let alone the hotel and I didn’t do much there.
I also got very sick in Hangzhou, had to call the hubs to take me to the hospital. You have no idea how awful that was for me. No, no… The hospital experience was fine, actually better than America. The awful part was not being able to go to the hospital by myself. The ability to communicate is a gift that is often taken for granted. In NY/NJ I could say anything, understand and do things independently. I miss that. I know that once the Mandarin lessons kick in, that will eventually get better. I’m just letting you know my experience here.
So yes, we went to the hospital. I got antibiotics that made me want to puke all the time. The doc said they give super strong meds in China, much more than America or Europe. He was very kind, his English was ok and at times I couldn’t understand him but he was nice.
I couldn’t help but feel really sad during that time. You see, I don’t have my own family. I have my husband and my in laws as my legal family. My biological family… I have none or had communication with for years. I had a convo with my BIL, breaking down.
Me: my family hates me… I’m so sad
BIL: I don’t hate you!
Me: Maybe I’ll be an awful mother, maybe that’s why we don’t have children yet.
BIL: You’re going to be a great mother, I don’t doubt that for a second.
Me: I feel like I have nobody to talk to here.
BIL: You can talk to me anytime.
That’s just a snippet of our convo that made me cry so much. Actually writing that out makes me cry. I have quite possibly the best in laws ever. Father, mother and siblings. I am blessed.
My BFF HJ has been a great source of comfort and all my life have considered her a sister. She strongly suggested that I write the good and bad experience as an expat.
Most of my blog has been rainbows and unicorns, because it really has been like that. But then I have days where I had two strangers yell at me (in Hangzhou). One lady asked me for my iPhone (in English) and went ballistic when I said “no”. Another guy asked me for my laptop and he kept screaming “I want your computer!” over and over again. Both scenarios were in a nice coffee shop. One of the cafe people felt so bad for me and gave me a free drink while bowing.
I love the food here, that isn’t a big adjustment for me. Maybe it’s easy since I cook mostly Asian food anyway. Plus you can get any kind of food you want in Shanghai. Though, their Korean needs some work. I’ll have to try Koreatown, I’m sure it’s more authentic there.
I seriously live on my phone. I don’t have many friends here… Maybe three? I was blessed with friends in the states, I really was. I spend most of my time on email, kakao, twitter and Facebook to kill time. If it wasn’t for friends reaching out to me I think I would be really depressed. I actually am so thankful for HJ, my NCMC girls and Elyse who have reached out to me so much. They all check in on me and almost everyday, one of those girls talk to me. Any time I feel remotely lonely, someone always pings me. Blessed, again.
I do have to say that W’s friend, Kin, has been amazing… He always hangs out with us, takes us to karaoke and really has been the reason why our move here has been so smooth. I would go crazy if we didn’t hang out with him and wife. They have been unbelievably kind and generous with their time.
If it weren’t for W, I think that I would actually be freaking out everyday. My husband is the sweetest ever, he feels bad that we moved out here. He says it’s easier for him since he’s Chinese but I know he also left his life in NYC too. W often says he appreciates that I left my life to move here with him especially since I can’t understand everyone. (he knows how much I love to chat with people – I am an extrovert.)
I tell him (and telling you who are reading) that moving here wasn’t that hard for me. It was hard leaving my friends, my family.. Yes. But I was excited because how often do we get opportunities to live in a different part of the world? I love learning about different cultures, languages and I love traveling. Being in Shanghai is what is right for us. Not to mention having a husband who makes you smile and laugh every single day!
I wonder what my role will be here. Will I continue my music here? Craft for a living? I would love to be a mother soon and hopefully that will happen. Whatever life has planned for us, I am ready.
You ask if I’m happy here? Yes. 100% yes. I have bad days, just like I did in NY. I have awesome days too. But yes, I am positively happy being here and it wasn’t until I was at The Bund at night, by myself that I felt that way. I saw the lights, the skyline and for the first time my heart fluttered a bit (kind of like a first date) and realized that we are more than OK here.