The Familiar Unknown
So much time has passed since I last wrote or even contemplated such a thing. Part of me wants to title this post “holy @#%#! I’m living in China again”; but that may be too racy, so I won’t.
For now, you get the ramblings of an incredibly overwhelmed woman. I have once again moved to China. This time with 2 children in tow. This time; shortly after purchasing a house in the US and getting settled in. This time, after my son was diagnosed with epilepsy. This time, it all seems a little crazier than the last.
And yet it isn’t.
Life here in Shanghai is as it was for me in many ways. Most of our friends are still here. People still speak Chinese. The food is as amazing as I remembered and longed for when we were back in the US. Everything still takes 5-10 times longer to accomplish, and with far more aggravation than imaginable. People continue to drive like lunatics. And I’m happy to report that he foot massages are amazing and still cheaper than a latte.
While so much is familiar and similar, there is also a great deal that has changed. Most notable is the number of vehicles on the road. The air pollution is worse as a result. Things cost a lot more than they did before. Truth be told- I die a little every time I go into the “western” grocery store. I just bought my second small laundry detergent for $20! A 6 pack of Motts apple sauce costs $8! And as much as I love maple syrup- I cannot bring myself to pay $22 for a small bottle of Camp.
On a positive note- people seem far more polite now. They queue in ways I didn’t think possible in Shanghai. There is this thing called taobao which makes the procurement of all things previously impossible now possible. There are more organic and green items for sale. People actually hold doors open! Instead of the typical mad race to close the doors on you as you’re running into the elevator with bags of groceries and kids hanging from every limb; I’ve actually had people press the button to hold the door open and wait.
This second time around has it’s similarities to the first, but I know it is quite different. I look forward to settling in and feeling a sense of normal so I can get out, dig deeper and explore the “new” Shanghai some more. For now, I will look to the familiar and put one foot in front of the other. For now, I will live in the tension of craving what I already know; and anticipating all that I will learn in the future.