Fantasy Football is a yearly event for my friends and me.
I grew up with almost all of them and have known one of them, Nate Pile, since kindergarten.
We have a draft at a friend’s house and then celebrate the end of the season at his house in Tahoe during Wild Card Weekend.
It is always a wonderful time with great people, great food and lots of fun.
I was in Beijing when the draft went down this year.
Luckily, my friends made adjustments and they drafted on Friday night so I could use skype to video conference with them and be a part of the draft and party.
I woke up at 9 am, Beijing time, and got out all my draft materials. It was a little hard to hear and the video feed went down a few times, but overall, it was fantastic and a great way to feel at home even when I was 10,000 miles away.
This is something I’ve noticed form talking to expatriates in Beijing: Find a way to be at home even when you are not.
Beijing is an amazingly multi-cultural city and I’ve met people from China, Spain, Italy, Dominica, Indonesia, Japan, USA, Canada, France, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and so many other countries it is hard to remember. And this in only 3 months. Even though I salsa dance and have a fairly large circle of friends, i don’t remember having this many people, from so many different countries, come together and support each other.
It is the expatriate way of life.
We come together because we are from somewhere else. There is an acceptance and support from each other since we all feel somewhat lost and we are all living in a strange new world, no matter how long you live here.
Add to that the complexity of the Mandarin language and it becomes even more daunting. I have met people that have been studying Mandarin for 15 years and still feel as if they are failing and they have not achieved perfection.
As in any language, is there really any perfection? I have spoken American English for 44 years and am constantly making mistakes, learning new rules, and becoming confused on commas, semi-colons, and dashes.
Languages are hard. Learning anything worth learning is hard. Living doesn’t have to be.
That is where my friends from back home, and here, come in. I can find that support, and home, whenever and whenever I need it by just calling, skyping, or reaching out.
And, I have to admit, I’m very lucky to have the family and friends that I have because they are always ready to respond and be there for me.
On day 99 in Beijing, I am home.
Wherever I am.