Okay folks so some exciting things going on here and I’m a jumble of anxious panic. (I know, what else is new right?)
So yesterday I turned the big 4-0. (Yikes!) That should be drama and anxiety-ridden enough for anyone, right? But of course, life is never what we expect. My husband was in Germany. Yes, that’s right my husband was not even home on my fortieth. (Yeah, it sucked but nothing we haven’t adapted to with his current work life. And yes, he more than made up for it with his gift. Can you say sparkly things for my ears?) But being in Germany was not the dramatic part. At 7:30am he called me to not only wish me a happy birthday but to warn me not to panic when I checked my phone and saw his text messages. (Now you’re really curious, aren’t you?)
Of course I had to run to get my phone to see what I shouldn’t panic about. Ready?
From Big: I think I can set myself up for major opportunities in China … Long story short, major need in China … key stakeholders here … It would be a major setup on the other side if we actually went through with it … I’ll call you later to fill you in whether this is real or talk.
From me: Simple question – would we have to move to China or would you just be traveling there?
From Big: dunno, likely two year assignment with contract that allows return.
Now do you understand why my fortieth birthday was more anxiety-ridden and filled with drama than I anticipated? He spoke briefly with the region owner as well as with someone whose position is just under the board and is driving the whole China intiative and basically they want him there. Next week he has a meeting to learn more about the prospects and logistics.
In the meantime, he’s trying really hard to convince me that this would be a great experience and I’m trying my best to not completely breakdown. I am in no way prepared for two years of living in China. I do not speak the language. I love Chinese food but both my son and I have bodily system revolts after only a few days of a steady diet of Chinese food ( I know this from visiting my in-laws). My son is supposed to be starting kindergarten this fall. I have no idea how a move like this would effect that. This would be a monumental cultural change.
Of course, I’ve already been online to do some research. Of all the things I’ve read here’s what I can’t keep my mind from lingering on:
1. They drive like crazy maniacs. There are frequent accidents that often result in angry (sometimes violent) arguments in the street while those involved haggle over monetary recompense. Foreigners often lose these arguments and are taken for lots of cash. There are no seat belts in the back of their vehicles and pretty much no one uses child safety seats. (Hello, my son is four and only weighs 35 lbs.)
2. Child abduction (especially of boys) can be common in certain areas. There is little help from law enforcement if your child is abducted.
3. All the incidences of low quality, untested, black market (and often not black mark), possibly lead contaminated items that have come out China have me worried about the safety of anything we might purchase while living there.
4. There are all these things over there that I might do that I have no idea are illegal because I can’t read, write, or speak the language and if I’m arrested there is little the American government can do to help me.
5. Healthcare – what kind of healthcare are we going to get if one of us gets hurt or really sick. You know since there are all these car accidents with no seat belts and child seats it might be good to know what our chances of finding good medical care is.
6. Pollution in China is horrible.
Now couple that with my anxieties over:
1. Being in a strange country with no family or friends (Dudes, I live an hour and a half from my parents and closest friends and I already hate the distance.) while not being able to communicate.
2. How in God’s name will education work for my child? What will it cost? How will he handle the strange environment? When the two years are over how will he handle re-assimilating back into our cultural and educational system? Will he fit in anywhere?
3. What the hell am I going to do with this house and all our possessions for two years? Sell the house (in a really horrific market that might take forever to sell and we might not get a great price)? Keep it, leave it uninhabited and hope no one robs us blind? Keep it, and rent it out and hope the people renting don’t destroy it? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
4. And what about my family? My grandmother is going to be 90 in a month. What if she dies while I’m in China? My dad will be 70 this summer and my mom65. What if they need help? Not to mention my brother gives them enough to worry about without them worrying about me too.
5. Then there is me. What the hell am I going to do in China? What if I hate it and am lonely? It’s not like I will be able to just leave and come home to the states with a kid in school.
I’m trying to be supportive of Big’s possible career changing opportunity but really isn’t there another way to really get him set up for bigger and better things? Why China?
I’m trying not to get too freaked out. (I know, you would never know that by everything I’ve written so far.) Anyone know anything about China? Can you put a more positive spin on this for me? Please, pretty please.