I can finally shout to the world...WE ARE MOVING!!!
After 6 years in Guangzhou, China, we are on the move...back home to Oregon. This has been a process that has been in the works for nearly 9 months (yes, getting anything done through a major corporation is somewhat like having a baby) when the tai-tai and I decided, we'd had enough.
Last spring, the company went through a major layoff and reorganization and as part of that, my job and the reporting structure of the job changed...and I never really liked or felt comfortable with it. So, after talking it over and weighing any options we might have for a different opportunity in Asia, we decided, after living 11 years in Guangzhou, that it would probably be best that we just headed home.
First question people have asked us, "Are you happy?" Easy answer...absolutely! This is not at all like our repatriation back in '01, when we moved back to the USA kicking and screaming all the way...and then I spent the better part of the next 3 years doing everything I could to get back to China. This time, I feel as though my job is finished here and its time to move on to something new.
So...what am I looking forward to? My home...my family...reuniting with expat daughter...being able to jump in the Cougar and just go for a drive, whenever I want, without having to plan it or tell anyone. Live hockey on TV and in arenas. Working in the garden. Basically, too many things we are looking forward to...
But, there are a few things we will miss too. Our friends whom have been our family over the years. Each year, it gets harder and harder to say good bye to those that leave, because eventually the ones that leave have been there with you the longest. Our expat experience in China has been great...families haven't just stayed with 'their own'...but made friends with everyone. Our group of friends were rarely from the USA, rather from Europe, South America, Asia...all over.
I'll miss the people, places, history, food of Asia. Guangzhou, for all of its faults (crowded, polluted, traffic, dirty) is actually a pretty cool city, once you get to know it and its people. I loved being able to drive or walk through the old city quarter to see the families walking together under the ages old banyan trees...the majong tiles clicking inside apartments off the sidewalk...and dim sum with the family in a large, smoky restaurant to see 3 or 4 generations of families sitting together having their tea and dumplings.
So, look for some changes to this space...perhaps a change in name...a change in focus. The story of a long time expat, heading home.
Below is a slide show video we put together for all of our friends with photo memories of the past 6 years set to some favorite songs that really tell the story of our leaving; Long Time (Boston), What Happens Next (The Material) and I Survived (The Graduate).