我们最后的中国时光

The big news I’ve procrastinated in sharing…

ZJ and I are headed to the U.S. on July 8, arriving stateside on the ninth, staying for an undetermined length of time yet I can say with a fair amount of certainty on a more permanent basis.

什么时候你回来? When are you coming back?” students, acquaintances, strangers, and concerned citizens implore.

“哦,我不知道,但是必须回来。I don’t know, but [we] will return.”

Students, in particular will follow-up this conversation with telling me I will be sorely missed, and double checking whether or not I will be teaching next semester (?!).

We went through the Direct Consular Filing process at the American Consulate in Guangzhou, hence our trip in January and once again in April. A write up about the experience will follow this post.

After arriving, our first order of business is for me to renew and/or submit an application for a driver’s license, as I’m not sure about New Jersey’s policies in regards to expired driver’s licenses.

We’ll be living at my parent’s place, with a fair amount of privacy as the late Grandma and Grandpa Kowalski (mom’s parents) lived with us and had their own living quarters with a separate entrance as well as the garage one. This will be the first face-to-face interaction between ZJ and my parents. A week after our arrival, my parents have planned a little shindig in honor of our arrival; a fair amount of family and friends will attend.

I’m beginning to have very mixed feelings about leaving. While in the midst of the DCF process, I couldn’t wait for the day when ZJ’s visa, on the relevant website, said ‘Issued,’ yet now it’s far more surreal and daunting considering I still have grading, marking, handing in paperwork, packing, job hunting, and concluding four years of work and life in Xi’an. And although the Xiananigans may technically be coming to an end, I foresee that life will still be peppered with the adventures and shenanigans that first inspired the blog’s title.

It will be a big adjustment for the both of us, as while ZJ experiences culture shock, I’ll be battling reverse culture shock. ZJ has only traveled ‘overseas’ once, if you count Thailand and Laos as such.

I am, however, very excited for us to start a new chapter in our life, and do so guided by the Kluger side of our family. I will miss 妈妈爸爸张 as they have always been very welcoming and supportive of ZJ and I. Even though our verbal communication may still be limited, thanks in part to my subjectively useful Engnese (English style Chinese), I can still, nonverbally, feel their warmth, caring, and hospitable attitudes every time we visit the countryside. We’ll make one final visit, an extended weekend one, before we leave. 二哥, the middle brother, will go through the hassle of picking them up from 老家 in order for them to say their final goodbyes at the airport. In addition to 妈妈爸爸张, both brothers, sisters-in-law, nephews, and younger sister 佩佩 will see us off at the airport.

What was your experience like when you returned home after living or working abroad?

12 thoughts on “我们最后的中国时光

  1. Alice says:

    Wow congrats 🙂 just be sure to bring your 6 points of identification with you ( birth certificate, expired licence, and all your marriage paperwork) and proof of ownership or something of your car if you have one and proof of insurance (you’ll need a copy of your insurance card). And proof of your address. :p I know NJ sucks I lived here my whole life and I wish I could go to china. My friend just came here for the first time last week and it’s been hard but going well so far. Hugs to you both safe travels and god bless!

  2. myhongkonghusband says:

    didn’t know your outside grandparents were Polish! and don’t stop blogging, you can still write about your AMWF life in US 🙂 I always confuse people, they think we stay in HK but currently we live in San Francisco Bay Area 🙂

    • maklu001 says:

      Yes, my mom’s dad was Polish and my mom’s mom was Irish. I’m definitely going to heed yours and Susan’s advice. Yeah, don’t see why I can’t write about AMWF life in the United States since I actually haven’t done a lot within that area. Haha, at least you don’t have students who seemed utterly confused about the fact that you won’t stay in China forever, even though my husband merely happens to be Chinese! By the way, I loved the story of how you and Sing met 🙂

    • maklu001 says:

      My mom’s dad was Polish, mom’s mom was Irish, and I’ve also got some Ukrainian blood from my Dad’s side. I will definitely not stop blogging 🙂

  3. Helen Kluger says:

    I can truly understand the sadness that ZJ’s parents, most especially his Mother, must be feeling. Please assure them that he will be fully embraced within the Kluger family!

  4. Susan Blumberg-Kason says:

    What a lovely post! It’s a new chapter, but the great thing is that communication between the US and China is so easy now. It’s also very possible that 媽媽爸爸 can come to the US to visit you. For you, I’d be prepared for a little reverse culture shock. I had that when I returned from Hong Kong. Things weren’t challenging anymore. I could understand what people said, could read all the signs, and could completely blend in. That might sound wonderful, but there’s something about going about your daily life with these challenges and seeing how well you can get along in another country. I say give it at least a year to fully acclimate to life back in the US. Many former expats I know have felt the same. To stay connected to China, it’s nice to find Asian groceries and good Chinese restaurants. It’s amazing what these two can do to overcome reverse culture shock. Thankfully NJ is very cosmopolitan. I also think you should continue to blog, just like My Hong Kong Husband suggested. Enjoy your last couple of weeks in China (for now!) and have a safe trip to the US!

    • maklu001 says:

      Thanks so much Susan. Yes, my dad keeps hinting that he feels, from the skype conversations he’s had with my husband, that in fact, I may have a bit more adjusting to do. I have no plans to halt my writing, as I imagine there will be plenty to reflect on. 🙂

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