This is actually a weird problem to have.
This is my Chinaversary.
I’ve lived here for one year.
Except, that isn’t quite right.
I lost a day in my flight over so I’m never sure if I’ve really been here for one year or not.
I’m going with this is my anniversary since I left the USA on this date and technically would have arrived on the same date if not for the time change. And, it would also set my “Day …” count off by a day if I didn’t do this.
I can’t really believe I’ve been in China for one year.
And that I’ve written 365 blog posts.
I had no idea that I could find that much to write about, that much to think about that much to keep going, day after day.
I’m actually quite proud of my accomplishment.
I also thank everyone that has been on this ride with me, either physically, like Jill, or mentally/emotionally like my family, friends and readers of this blog.
Some of the things I’ve learned in my first year:
Traffic in China is pretty bad. I just moved to a new place about 1 block from my work. It takes me 3 minutes to walk there and my stress load has gone down incredibly. I used to commute, by taxi, for about 30-40 minutes each way. The time I get to spend relaxing with Jill and going for walks is priceless.
Beijing is huge. 23,000,000 people, and by some estimates, 25,000,000, in a 200 km city. It just seems to go on forever. This has good and bad points. We mainly have figured out the good points and that there is always something new opening and a new place to explore. Or, better yet, a very old place to explore.
We love traveling. We truly love to get out, try something new, meet new people, and see what life is like outside of our “little world” back home. It gives us a new perspective every time we meet someone because we hear a life story that is so different and so contrary to what we both used to believe about what we could or should do with our own lives.
We miss our friends and family back home. This goes without saying. Two dear friends, and one who is basically “my second father” died while I was away. I did what I could do, from here, but missed the memorials or being able to truly say goodbye. This is a major downside to being an expatriate.
China is an amazingly dizzying place to live and understand. It is like the industrial revolution on steroids. I’ve never experienced anything like it and I’ve been to a lot of major cities around the world and lived in Japan, Australia and other countries. Seriously, nothing compares to China. That is good and bad.
Jill and I are an amazing couple. We have put up with, I would say, was probably one of the hardest years of our lives and have come through with more love and respect for each other than we could have imagined.
Here is a simple list of what has happened since we met, some good, some bad.
I moved to China.
I started a new job.
I moved into a new apartment with very little support or idea of how to do anything in China.
Jill Moved to China.
Jill’s grandmother died.
Two of my friends/mentors died.
3 different visa trips to leave China so Jill wouldn’t overstay her visa.
Jill started Mandarin school.
Dealing with pollution.
Jill’s almost having to start over from scratch on her website because of problems.
The internet being limited beyond belief because of….I won’t state that here. 😉
Jill found out that people very close to her have cancer.
Jill had a breast cancer scare and a biopsy here (everything is fine, thankfully!).
Amazing boss and dear friend in the same person.
Seeing the Great Wall twice.
Having friends from the USA visit.
Salsa dancing in China.
Playing badminton with my coworkers.
Making new incredible friends that keep us continually laughing and feeling like we have a “family here.”
The ability to support and love each other through the hardships and know that we have each other’s love.
A move to a new apartment that is wonderful.
My therapy practice which is doing incredibly well.
Working in situations that I would have never imagined in the USA which includes doing therapy on a oil rig in the the middle of a bay in China among others.
Helping many people feel better and figure out what is right for them.
Not having to own a car.
Seeing the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Tienanmen Square, Summer Palace and so much more.
Seeing Chinese New Year in China!
Having Octoberfest in Beijing.
Becoming vegetarian, together, on New Year’s Day.
Visiting Malaysia, twice!
Spending NYE in Singapore with Dipesh.
The ability to take a month off in the summer and go to Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria.
Jill’s websites taking off and becoming a real force for tourism in San Francisco.
A new internet service that is screamingly fast which allows this blog, Jill’s sites, and all the connections we need to stay here and feel more at “home” when we miss people.
Overall, the positive definitely outweighs the negative and I’m sure there are lots more to list but I don’t want to overwhelm people. Suffice to say that year one was incredibly tough, and taught us so much about ourselves, and each other, that we know year two will be a breeze. We are so much stronger, knowledgeable and resilient to what comes our way that we will succeed and master whatever needs to be done.
We both thank you for all your support, care and love.