We are in the heart of transfer season in ex-pat world when large numbers of foreigners leave Guangzhou for new pursuits back home or elsewhere. While so many of our friends and colleagues are busy packing up or moving in, it’s been a quiet time for us. Since I don’t have a whole lot to report, this will be a short letter. Unfortunately, living in China doesn’t always agree with my immune system, so I’ve been laying low lately, recuperating from a bad cold and enjoying our air conditioning. It’s been generally 100 degrees and 100% humidity outside (I may be exaggerating a little on that, but not by much), so beating the heat has been our main activity lately.
DiDi, or a Chinese version of Uber, has made my life significantly better lately by updating their system with an English version. Now I can usually avoid taxis and cut down on my travel time around town since Didi isn’t all that much more than the metro. I also have a goal to strike up conversations with willing drivers, so have been working on my Chinese conversational skills. So far, I’ve chatted with a guy who sells Chinese-made products like fidget spinners on Amazon, someone who’s from Mao Zedong’s home town, and someone who’s lived in Guangzhou his whole life and seen its crazy-fast development. It’s a nice way to pass the time in Guangzhou’s often terrible traffic.
It’s been fun to welcome new people and answer their many questions on how to adjust to life here. Of course, it feels like just yesterday that we were in their shoes. While Amaury’s getting to know new colleagues, I’ve been spending time with new spouses, and I think we’re going to have a really nice friend group this upcoming year. I recently organized a little tea party at a local tea shop, which was a lovely way to get to know new people.
Each new arrival has interesting stories from their time in their home countries and abroad. One new friend was in Jerusalem before this, another is Romanian and met her American husband while he was working there, another is originally from Japan and promised to give us all tips for traveling there, and a couple people have lived in Pakistan where we’ll be going next. We’re also excited to welcome our friend K, who’s arriving from D.C. in a couple weeks.
While part of me wishes I had exciting adventures to share with you, I’m mostly loving the slow pace of life lately. I love our daily routine, our peaceful weekends, and familiar scenes. Lately, we’ve been having annual experiences, instead of firsts. Our second July 4th party and our second trip to the Guangzhou Chimelong Water Park to beat the summer heat. We’ve been trying new restaurants and cooking at home. As people leave Guangzhou, they tend to sell and gift things they don’t have room for or no longer want. We recently bought an XBox One from departing friends, so have been cozying up in the evenings and playing games together.
All of this peace and quiet is about to end in a good way soon though. Next weekend, we’re going to Hong Kong for another junk boat trip and some hiking. Then, in a couple weeks, Amaury leaves for a three-week, temporary assignment in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Meanwhile, I found a great deal to fly to the UK, so will be heading off on August 23 to spend some much-needed time with my grandparents for three weeks. I’m also considering a quick trip over to Paris to see a good friend there and possibly come back to the UK via Edinburgh to explore somewhere new. Honestly, neither Amaury or I like to go too long without a bit of travel. We’ve actually booked most of our trips through the end of the year, so stay tuned for more travel stories and interesting food pics. I’m a little sad that we’ll be apart for about a month, but I’m reminding myself it’s also good for us to be our independent selves too.
Well friends, I’m sorry not to have exciting news, but happy to share a glimpse into my more relaxed and quiet life lately.