Last week marked the two-year anniversary of our arrival in Shanghai. So much in our lives has changed since that first lonely week in our new home. We returned from a summer in the US and easily settled back into the school/ayi/work/activities life we had carved out for ourselves over the past two years. Everything is known to us now, and while we may be in a different apartment in a new part of town, the feeling of having a place here remains. It’s so wonderful to come back after a long break and reconnect with friends and feel invigorated to join new groups and meet new people. A big part of what I love about Shanghai is the access to people from all over the world, and an abundance of activities for us to do as a family or for me to do just for myself.
When we first arrived, I had three goals: to learn mandarin, to travel, and to figure out the next step in my career. It’s easy to be lazy when you’re in the midst of daily life, but I knew that I would deeply regret not using this opportunity to set myself up for future career choices. It’s a gift to be given time to think without worrying about paying the bills, and I don’t want to waste that opportunity.
So, when we touched down in Pudong at the beginning of September I had a mental list of what I wanted to accomplish in the next year. The list generally resembles the goals from years one and two, but for year three I want and need to be a bit more selfish with my time. I have an infant son now, too, and my time is limited. I plan to focus on my writing more than I have in the past and interview as many people as I can before we leave. I also want to really nail down what the next step in my career is going to be, because I still am not sure of the direction I want to take. Maybe another trip will inspire me! ; )
The expat life is absolutely what you make of it. Your time can fly by between trips to new countries and lunches with friends, or it can be a drag while you sit home and wait to go back to your own country. I feel fortunate that we have a little more time to do all the great things we set out to do here, and I plan to make the time count. What do you have planned for your next year here?