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?
Can’t believe you’re starting year 3! Excited for you and your goal to write more – looking forward to reading more!