As of September 24th – we have been in China for six months!! Can you even believe it?? For the most part, it really feels like time has flown by for us :). I thought I would share some of the things that we love about our experience so far as well as just a little insight into the challenges that we have experienced and continue to experience. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will be happy to answer.
What we love about our experience so far.
… quality family time. Our kiddos are only little once; we recognize this (and talk about it often) and really try to take this as an opportunity to soak up this time with them. We are obsessed with our girlies and this experience has brought us even closer as a family of four, but also as a married couple.
… traveling. Definitely this has been one of the best parts for us! We have been to Guilin (in China), to Hong Kong and to Kota Kinabalu (Borneo, Malaysia). And we have big travel plans coming up – we are going to Shanghai and Beijing in October, Taipei or Thailand in November and we are headed home in December for Christmas!!! Please go ahead and start praying for the 24 hour commute back the states – we will need it :).
… hitting up the local, Chengdu tourists spots. We have loved visiting the panda’s, the irrigation project, Stone Elephant Lake, the wildlife zoo, Polar World, the water park at the Global Center – the list just goes on and on! We have really tried to take advantage of all of the things to do locally since we can’t travel every weekend :).
… the parks and playgrounds. This deserves its own category because the parks and playgrounds here are phenomenal – we have had a blast at every park/playground that we have visited and plan to visit more during our time here. There are tons of fun activities for the kids!!
… the girls school. I write about this frequently and have more school pictures to share with you soon- we just love love love their school. They are learning so many new things, their teachers are fantastic, they have met some really great friends and they love riding the school bus!! So many of my worries and concerns have been put to rest with our decision to enroll them in this particular school.
… our neighborhood. If you would have asked me to answer what has been challenging for us three months ago – this would have been on the list and three short months later, we have really come to love our neighborhood. While it is far out from the city and there is no Starbucks in it- we have really come to love our little neighborhood we now call home. We love the walkability of it, we love that we feel safe, we love the playground, the swimming pool, that we have restaurants, the night markets, the events for foreigners, the landscaping – all of it!
… Mike’s Pizza. Duh. You have only heard me talk about this 14,876 times – we love eating here and often get enough to have a few days’ worth of leftovers- we have really been into the sandwiches lately. And it is becoming our thing to stock up before a holiday (when we don’t have our car). Genuinely, this is the only place that I really look forward to eating at :).
… some other random things that make our lives here a bit easier: ordering our food online, an ice machine (once we got the ice machine Emma said, “you mean I can have ice water every night before I go to bed” and her little eyes sparkled as I said yes (there are definitely so many things that we took for granted in our lives back in the states), our scooter, friends for the girls/friends for us,
What has been challenging for us.
At first, I wrote a novel on this topic, but for some reason, I just cannot push publish on my commentary. I don’t want this to come off as negative/that I am not able to understand the culture/that we are not grateful for this experience so I don’t feel like I can share the intimate details of the challenges that we face at this time; however, here is a short summary: missing our families, the girls getting their picture taken everywhere we go, having a car and driver and the communication gap.
This list might make it appear that it was an easy transition for us to move to China. I just want to assure you that Wes and I have discussed this several times – and this is the most stressful thing that either of us has ever done. Buying a house, getting married, taking the CPA exam and having two children just 17 months apart were a piece of cake compared to relocating our family. Ok, maybe not having two children 17 months apart – I was a zombie for that 1st year ;). I don’t think I even realized how stressed I was until the stress alleviated around month 3 to 4 of living here. I just want to be transparent that relocating our family to China has not been a piece of cake – we are enjoying the experience, but it was not something we fell in love with overnight. We have worked very hard to make this an easy transition for the girls and ourselves (we pray for grace often) – some days are better than others, but overall we have a very happy life here.