Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Downside to the Upside

     Being an expat in China has a lot of upsides. I get an American salary in China, where most things are less expensive than the US (although now the cost of living in Beijing is higher than Atlanta), you feel special because everyone stares at you...Stares here are not like they are at home. Stares here are the kind that if you experience in the US you might be motivated to unearth that pocket book mace you carry. Think of those romantic comedy movies where the guy and the girl lock eyes across the bar, she notices he is looking at her and she blushes, they both look away and then are drawn to look back. It's so cute it makes your heart melt. Now just imagine that in this scenario, the guy is at a table full of his friends and he has turned his chair all the way around for the express purpose of staring at you. You notice he is staring so you look his way, he is not talking to anyone, just staring. You turn away, you turn back, still staring. It's been 10 minutes and he is still this situation your heart is not are wondering who you can have walk you to your car to make sure he doesn't jump you in the parking lot. In China, those stares are an everyday thing...Anyway, I digress... 
   Fair or not, for associate level jobs, we get paid more. With those salaries we get to live in complexes called Upper East Side, Central Park, Palm Springs and Park Avenue. We live in a country where we are the minority, so making friends with other expats is easy. I met my friend Jenea by just walking up to her in the subway. There are a lot of Africans in China, but any American could tell that Jenea was from the States. So I just walked up and asked her if she spoke English. Now we have lunch 3 times a week. But as every expat knows, there is one real sucky downside to being an expat. Friends leave. Their contracts end, their situations change, they lose their job or they can no longer handle the home sickness. One of the couples that we are closest with is leaving Beijing this month and we are both really bummed. Luckily, they are only moving to Shanghai, so we can still see them a few times a year, but not every weekend like we have become accustomed. So, goodbye Timo and Yuki, WE LOVE YOU!


  1. That is what sucks about being an expat and having expat friends. Everyone is always leaving. At least you will still get to see them every once in a while.

  2. Hadn't thought about the sad side of friends leaving- but I imagine you are so right. Your words are so informative and used so well.

    1. Liz, your link is broken! What is your new blog site?

  3. So true, friends leaving really hurts! Our best friends went back to the UK after my son was born and it was tough going through the first year of our kids' lives on different continents after we'd shared pregnancy together. At least you know there are more friends you've yet to meet. The staring thing happens here too, and we've had our photos taken a lot! I'm getting a bit sick of people standing in front of me, mouths wide open as they gawk at my huge pregnant belly, but I know it's just one of those things!