Posted by: thelocaldialect | September 13, 2008

Back in Action

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!


  1. OMG! How cute is that baby. Chubby goodness.

    Glad your parents had fun in China. I can see how difficult it would be to try to stick to your Western ways while there. It’s just too hard. When we were there we just rolled with it. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

    In the picture your husband resembles your dad a little bit. My husband looks like he could belong in our family too. lol

    It’s awesome you were able to find a job that is better for your family. You definitely sound happier about the whole situation.

  2. So, so glad that you have changed jobs and moved away from Wudaokou. It’s hard to admit that the choice you moved your family for wasn’t quite the right one for you – I’m in a similar position and have had a lot of guilt about it.

    I hope life is more relaxed from now on and that you get all the time you want with your adorable son!

  3. Hi! I’m glad to hear that you changed jobs and can spend more time with your son. I certainly know how you feel and can’t believe you managed to do fifty hours a week for a while there!!

    I agree with Gina that your husband and father look a bit alike in one of the photos. Funny how that happens, my husband is Japanese and yet he looks so similar to my dad in photos from when my dad was young. I rarely admit that to anyone ๐Ÿ™‚

    And my family are big on Coke too. And beer.

  4. Seems like your new job is a winner!

    Oh and that last photo is simply gorgeous! Such a nice family shot!

  5. Gina — I think my parents have been relatively adventurous on their trips to China, that is, for two Average approaching 60 Americans, haha. They braved squat toilets and the Chinese countryside, but couldn’t be parted from their coffees and cokes. Sometimes I think my husband and I projected some of our own anxieties (omg, will they hate China, will they think it’s awful here, hate the food, etc.) onto them and perhaps made a bigger deal over their preferences than they themselves would have made. I know, for example, that they were more than willing to *try* using chopsticks, but Wang Yao and I just couldn’t bear to watch that particular spectacle!

    Jessica — I have been meaning to write you! As you may have figured out, I’ve been pretty busy. Your comment reminded me that I need to respond! Indeed, moving away from wudaokou and my old job was a good thing, I’m very glad I did it. No guilt now, but making the decision was very hard for that reason in particular.

    Christelle — I can’t believe you guys all think my husband looks like my dad! Haha. I guess I never thought of it that way since he’s American and Wang Yao is Chinese! Wang Yao does have much longer hair however!

    Lulu — That’s one of my favorite shots from our trip. If only my son didn’t look so goofy!

  6. Good to have you back.Great photos and you are sounding so much happier with the new job and place to live…it’s those mountains you know;)

  7. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers! Sandra. R.

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