Hello dear reader,

After a bit of an (extra long) absence I’ve got a few things to catch you up on.

Life after quarantine has been good, we’ve gone out to a few restaurants and taken some mini vacations to Shanghai, and went to a coworker’s home town to see a different side of China. All in all the expat life in China isn’t half bad.  We’re able to get almost any western food we want. I even found BellaVitano cheese.  The hardest thing has been the language and cultural barriers. 

China began to open up vaccinations to a larger audience a few months ago. At first it was only for citizens and foreigners needed special approval to get the shots. Our employer was able get the foreigner’s vaccination requests approved. So I am happy to say we have been vaccinated. It is certainly a relief.  At this point the vaccinations have been opened up to non-Chinese, so more people are able to get them now.

In late April we took a trip to the Yunnan province in Western China.  It was about as close as we could get to Tibet without needing a special visa. (Apparently travel has been extra restricted during the pandemic and for other reasons)  To say that the trip was amazing is an understatement, and the pictures I took likewise do not do it any justice.  Maybe it was the fact that it was the first real vacation we’ve been able to take since 2019, maybe it was that it was completely different scene than eastern China. Who knows, either way it was a once in a lifetime experience that we will never forget.  Key highlights were touring the Tibetan temples and monasteries.   One that was first built in 1679 (Garden Sumtseling monastery).   Then there was the hike at an altitude of nearly 4,000 meters (over 13,000 feet)!!  Both provided us with amazing views, and were moving in their own regards. 

Against all this we’ve been struggling with a major decision.  We haven’t exactly been over joyed with our time in China, but we’ve also had some amazing times. So we’ve been chanting the classic by The Clash (should I sat or should go). After months of trying to determine what the best option for our mental & physical health as well as our careers would be, we have arrived at a decision.  I think it really boiled down to this realization:  “While we could live in China for another couple of years the idea of returning to the US exciting.” And recent losses to our families and the seemingly never-ending pandemic have really highlighted for us that life is way too short to be less than happy.  So we’ve informed our employer and have begun looking for jobs back in the US.  

So we don’t have an actual exit date yet, and we are taking a bit of a leap into uncertainty.  But I think it’s something we’ve gotten good at.

Ciao for now

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