My contact is for 3 years and 4 months. I have 3 years to go for I have been here for 4 months! As I reflect on my time so far, there are Shang-HIGHS and Shang-LOWS but the highs absolutely out weigh the lows. It was the right decision for me at this stage of my life. No looking back or regrets yet.
It is hard being away from Todd, family, and friends. It is a loneliness, maybe that is not the word, a void, something missing. For how can you be lonely in a city of almost 20 million called a sci-fi version of Las Vegas? Email, Skype, Facebook, I can’t imagine doing this without those applications, but they don’t replace the real person or Estalene’s (Todd’s Mom) coconut cake.
I sometimes laugh at the emails I send Todd, from pictures of something I see, something I made in my toaster oven, or just to let him know I tried the milk that doesn’t require refrigeration, comes like a juice box with a straw, in my cereal and I:
- did not die from it
- it tastes like regular refrigerated fresh milk
He swears we have this stuff in the US. These are all conversations I would have in person but now can’t. The time zone change makes it hard to connect when I am up, most are sleeping and vice versa but we manage. I am looking forward to getting my iPhone 4 hopefully before the 5 comes out (I am on a list since Sept, aren’t they made here?) that may help with staying in touch through Facetime.
The hardest decision was about the girls (our dogs). They are being so well taken care and loved. We really couldn’t have asked for a better family to have taken them in. They are with 2 other greyhounds and a cat. I miss them terribly.
I am asked about the work. I don’t talk much about work on the blog for well, work is a 4 letter word. During this moment of reflection, to be in a market changing, start up business, that is rapidly growing in a developing country, is incredible. It is fast paced, like lightening. The rules (regulations, policies, practice) are different for the game and how it is played (culture, norms) is different in China and it changes daily. After all, this is the country that moves weekends.
I have a multinational team of 7 training managers in North (Beijing) and East (Shanghai) regions, a coordinator and an intern. I hope they learn as much from me as I do from them. You know, more than Where’s the Beef? It is very inspiring to work with them everyday. As of today, we have 18 centers opened and doubling in size this coming year. Currently there are 500 employees, 10,000 learners which means 60,000 parents (2 sets of grandparents and parents all highly involved in raising the child).
So far so good! The experience is better than I imagined. It will be even better when Todd moves over. Hint Hint, he needs a job if anyone can do anything about that is reading.
Without the support of my family and friends there is no way I could do it. Come visit!