The Shanghai Farewell Tour Begins

This the hardest blog post I have ever written and I’ve been avoiding it for days.  Because, if I don’t write about it, it won’t be true. But it’s time to face the truth and move on.  Last Friday, I found out that we would be leaving China two years earlier than I thought. It was sudden news and unexpected to say the least. While I am lucky to still be employed, I almost feel like a part of me has died. I have so loved this great adventure in China. The unusual, always fascinating world swirling around me daily, as I walk to work and travel with Thom will be ending next month and I am sad.

Big Plus to Repatriate-spending time with Hannah!
Big Plus to Repatriate-spending time with Hannah!

Why didn’t we travel more? Why didn’t I work less? I thought the first year here would be the time to dive deeply into the new job and learn and create and work harder than ever. Then, I could enjoy more of this exotic region the next two years with plans to visit Cambodia, Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, and other parts of China over the many Chinese holidays we are given. Alas, we have really only seen Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai plus Hong Kong. We so enjoyed our visits to Vietnam that I know that other parts of Asia would be equally cool. DAMN. If only….

So, while I am thankful for what I have and the experiences we enjoyed, it is a life lesson to share with all that should be remembered. Enjoy the moment. Live in the day and don’t wait for anything. Yes, you still have to plan for the future but you just never know. So, the next few weeks while we have our friends, Patti and Larry, staying with us from the U.S., we will conduct the Shanghai Farewell Tour and visit new places as well as say good bye to our favorite haunts around China.

This week, I had already scheduled a work trip to Beijing so despite the news, we are still going and I will get to say good bye to the wonderful folks I hired and trained here. I’ll get to take my childhood friend to the Great Wall (my fourth trip) and we will scream all the way down the toboggan there-one of my favorite things to do in China. We will find a panda somewhere to gaze at and maybe even hold for enough RMB—hoping the Shanghai zoo has a few since Patti really, really wants to see one and we’ll enjoy eating out on our gift certificates to various restaurants that we have acquired and, of course, the VIP massage card. Patti is very willing to help us use up the RMB still left on the massage account. Foot massages galore!

So, I will hold back the tears and appreciate everything I have been given. I will look forward to seeing my awesome family more often and spoiling my granddaughter, the beautiful and smart Mia, who is the inspiration for our new online business, Mama and Mia, that we will launch soon with my Hannah creating fashionable headbands that ALL the cool babies will want to wear and personalizing baby quilts from Vietnam and blankets from Uganda—benefitting the women around the world who make them.

Most of all, I will be grateful that I have had a chance to live in a different culture and understand that the world is a big wonderful place that Thom and I will continue to explore from our Seattle base. While one adventure is ending, many more are just beginning! Watch out world-here we come!

 

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