What We’ll Miss

Having finally set a start date for my new job, I now have a full set of countdowns going. Here are the relevant dates:

  • Last day at my current job: May 1
  • Last day in our apartment: June 1
  • Leave date for Kunming (via Shanghai): June 28 (at 2am…)
  • Start date at new job: July 1
  • RP arrives in Kunming: August 17

All of this counting-down inevitably leads to an evaluation of my current surroundings. As a shorthand for that, and inspired by Lulu, here is a list of things that RP and I will miss when we go to China (in no specific order). Some of these things are New York-specific, some are general to the US or Western culture. I’ll update the list as we think of new things:

  • drinking tap water
  • cheese
  • good alcohol
  • great coffee
  • a diversity of sophisticated, publicly available art (music, theater, etc.)
  • hearing lots of languages on the street
  • being able to see friends and family casually
  • a general sense of efficiency
  • English language books & libraries
  • queuing
  • Jewish culture (between us, we’re 75% Jewish)
  • no internet firewall
  • freedom of speech
  • no-smoking areas
  • a feeling of social transparency
  • not having to bargain for everything
  • anonymity
  • baked goods

Of course, there is a long list of things that RP and I are looking forward to, but these things – some small and some enormous – and people will be alternately be missed, longed for and fetishized. That’s how it goes.


I’ve been going through phases of how I feel about our pending move to China over the past week. I’m edgy because I haven’t yet set a start date with XYZ and no contract has been signed. I’m nervous, feeling sure that somehow my Chinese language skills have been totally overestimated and that, when presented with simple questions or tasks, I’ll just stand there staring blankly like a cow.

But for the past 24 hours I’ve been feeling excited. We’re finally moving back to China, and we’re doing it with purpose, with interesting plans and with no certain plan of when to leave. I think working for XYZ is going to be the start of an actual career for me – and I can’t wait!

I will admit to using a little outside assistance to augment my feelings of excitement, in the form of singing along to the following song. VERY LOUDLY.

I know, I know. But it’s one of the only Chinese songs that I know the words to – as anyone unfortunate enough to be walking through Midtown yesterday at 5:15pm can attest to. BRING ON THE MOVE TO CHINA! BRING ON THE CHINESE POP MUSIC!

S.H.E. 第一!

Getting What You Want

I just got something I’ve really been wanting: Starting in a couple months, I will be working at an international public health organization (hereafter referred to on this blog as XYZ) in Kunming, China, having been awarded a competitive fellowship. Theoretically, I know that this is extremely awesome. But here is how the process went for me (I would point out that this was a 4-month process, and that I am really not a patient person):

  • Prior to finding out: Buzzing around with excitement! This increases EVERY SINGLE DAY UNTIL
  • The day I find out: A quiet and satisfied calm settles over me. Life is beautiful. The world is my oyster, etc.
  • Today: I want to hurl.

What happened today is that I got official confirmation of the offer, details started coming in about the start date (which is so, so soon) and visa process, I called my insurance company to find out about vaccine coverage (ahahahahahaha), and so on.

I had been having geeky fantasies about getting the job and writing this post, and using it as an opportunity to ruminate on getting what you’ve been going after – how this was basically de rigeur for me up until the age of about 20 but has been getting rarer and rarer since, boo hoo for me. Fortunately for you, I’m not quite up for writing that post since my head feels like it’s about to implode with logistical details and the now-unavoidable fact that I will be separated from boyfriend RP for a significant amount of time this summer. AGAIN.

Clearly, all that I can do in this situation is to burn off some of my energy by cleaning my apartment, finally cooking several chicken breasts that were beginning to go off (process: chop and stir-fry in lots of soy sauce until they are basically black, then nuke them in the microwave for some extra, bacteria-obliterating good measure) and baking a loaf of wheat bread.

The loaf, plus the evidence of what happens when you make your bread manually and buy everything you own from the 99-cent store across the street:


(I am not a baking, crocheting, fancy-photo-taking, homeschooling mommy blogger, I swear.)

I don’t think this is what getting what you want is supposed to feel like – but I’m sure once I iron out some of the details the full hapiness of this new twist in life will show itself. Joyful post to come.