I would say I have lived a fairly privileged life thus far…growing up in suburbia, taking an annual family vacation skiing in Canada among trips to the Caribbean, California, summer camp, attending a private liberal arts college, moving abroad, getting swept up in a whirlwind romance, eventually a cross cultural marriage bringing my story full circle where I return to suburbia with husband in tow.
None of that reeks of difficulty, and because many life decisions have been made on a whim, a calling, or stubbornness, the only decision I may be willing to concede to categorizing as a difficult time in my life is the last year of repatriating.
Repatriating involves more than just the physical act of moving yourself, spouse, and four suitcases worth of stuff across an ocean. It requires patience, diligence, foresight, contemplation, the support of relatives and friends, tolerance, a healthy dose of reality, and hustling.
You have to get reacquainted with friends, self-containing many of your living abroad stories as friends and relatives seem disinterested. You will need to relearn the American social, political, and economic systems that exist, minding your P’s and Q’s, navigating the art of filing taxes and dealing with healthcare, a competitive job market, relinquishing some of your independence.
You need to put up with ignorance, especially snide, or insensitive remarks that your husband, in all his gorgeousness (ZJ, I am quizzing you to see how much of my posts you read 😊), lets slide right off, whereas, you, his wife, want to slap said person across the face. Difficult situations call for drastic measures; hearty doses of self control keep the fuzz from sending me away.
And lest I forget, you may wait awhile for items of great importance, such as your husband’s Social Security number. If, like us, you have been married for less than two years when you enter the country, you have to file more paperwork before the temporary green card expires. Any red tape you moaned about in terms of work visas in China, banking, and getting things done, yeah, well, the red tape slash bureaucratic B.S., whatever name it goes by in your book, knows no boundaries.
The phrase “same s**t, different country,” living on in infamy among members of our current household, could not be more fitting.
Apologies for sounding like a broken record as every other post dispatches life so far removed from Xi’an and Xiananigans.
Extra, extra, stop by tomorrow to hear all about my best physical features!