After yet another long hiatus from my blog, I’m back with an update. I have a (relatively) good excuse this time, as I have been pretty much busy non-stop since my parents came for their visit.
First, here are a few pictures. They came to Beijing in July, before the Olympics, and spent about three weeks in China. We visited Chengde and the grasslands of Inner Mongolia (the very edge of Inner Mongolia, about 8 hours in total from Beijing) and took in most, if not all, of the Beijing sights. They had an excellent time here and are already plotting their next trip. Wang Yao was a treal trooper. The my parents’ visits are always a bit stressful on him, as my parents, being older Americans, are fairly set in their ways. They can’t use chopsticks, they need to be supplied with coke (of the soft drink variety, of course) at all times, and while they are good sports about Chinese food, they would usually rather have Western. My husband often drives himself a bit crazy trying to please them and make sure they’re safe and comfortable in China. Here are a few shots from our trip. Unfortunately I was almost always the one behind the camera!
My Father, Wang Yao, and D at a Lama Temple in Chengde
My parents with Wang Yao and Dylan at the Summer Retreat of the emperors in Chengde
The three of us in the grasslands
Soon after the trip also decided to make a big change in my life. I had always avoided talking too much about my job in this blog, but I was quite unhappy there. Of course, this posed a big problem. I left Kunming for the job, had uprooted my family and myself, left a place where, despite frustrations with my school, I was quite happy and had been quite happy for five years. Admitting the job was not for me was, needless to say, very difficult. In the end, I couldn’t reconcile the amount of time and energy the job required of me with my need to be involved in my son’s life. I couldn’t stand leaving every day at 8am and not seeing D again for close to 12 hours, and then having to do more overtime work from home on top of that, which meant that I got very little quality time with my son. So in August I turned in my resignation, having found a more relaxing job working at a local high school. The catch was that this high school is quite far away from my original apartment, so, you guessed it, we packed up and moved across town. This has been a good move for us. Our new neighborhood is quieter and more like the community we left behind in Kunming. Gone are the shopping malls, the traffic, and the dust of wudaokou. This new area has tree-lined streets, a view of the mountains from our apartment on the 14th floor, a local farmer’s market, and my school is a mere five minutes walk from my home. Instead of working close to 50 hours a week, I now work about 15, for only a small pay cut. We plan to return to Kunming after I finish my contract with this school, hopefully with enough savings to buy an apartment. We had never intended on making the Beijing move a permanent one, and now I can be open about my intentions, rather than feigning a like for a job that just wasn’t for me.
Hopefully now that we are settled into our new apartment and the school year is in swing, I will be around to update my blog more often. Goodness knows I’ll have the time!