The ups & downs of life overseas

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Flag of China  , Beijing,
Sunday, January 27, 2013


So it's been a couple of weeks almost since we last wrote. Hope you’re all ok, been enjoying all the snow updates on Facebook & the pretty pictures. At least it soon replaced all the Tesco horse burger jokes!!! It’s lovely how Facebook gives you a good flavor of what’s going on when you’re out of the country!!

A busy couple of weeks and unfortunately full of wobbles for me. Most of you know me well enough to know that I’m a glass half full person, and usually see the positive, well, the last couple of weeks have been tough. I decided that as this is kind of a diary for us which we chose to share with you all, that I need to report the highs & the lows. Lots of stuff going on, not all for sharing on here but Andy always gives a great analogy about boxes. You have boxes in your head for everything, if one box gets a bit full due to issues & what life throws at you, it’s ok as it can overflow into another one for a while, but when all the boxes are full – that’s not good. I’ve kind of felt like that really. Lots of things really, work was one, working out where I'm going with it – as much as I like it, I do struggle with converting the conversations with people I meet into getting to meet with them again & getting an appointment with them. I love meeting new people and am good at that, but need to be a bit more assertive when it comes to business which isn’t natural for me, and the pressure that brings. I’ve really missed training, and just given various options some thought to be honest. It’s tiring all the networking, and I love my quiet nights at home relaxing in front of the TV and it’s been difficult for us both to find the balance really. Also been missing everyone at home so much, and realising that by making the choice to move away things change and relationships are different, and having to accept that which is hard. Friends here have been great and very supportive but it’s different when you’ve not known people very long. It’s weird but when things here aren’t going so well, it feels magnified because you’re away from all the things familiar to you & it’s much harder. Stuff that’s annoying, gets even more so, like the crowds of people for example, you become less tolerant I've also been suffering from a back ache quite often, which I've not had before so not sure what that is, and it makes me feel like an old woman. Even before now, hearing about sad stuff going on at home, I’ve been surprisingly sadder than I think I would have been back home which is weird. So a lot of time for reflection really, and although we still love it here & are enjoying it, there are times where it’s really tough too. I think also the first few months are so new & exciting, it’s almost like a long holiday. Then you settle, make friends, and then get used to the idea that it’s home. I’m wondering if this is just another 'phase’ of the massive change process that you go through. So poor Andy has had to cope with a lot of my tears and rants recently…………… Ok, that’s enough of that, back to being positive again which I do feel again now, and ready to face the world, well, Beijing and it’s 20+ million inhabitants at least…….

Back to the usual reports then of what we’ve been up to. Had a couple of meals out with friends the week before last, and with some new people we met bowling. Already friends have left that we’ve got to know, and you realise that you need to keep making new friends too as your circle can change so quickly. We’ve mentioned the Migrant Childrens Foundation that we volunteer with, we met the founder for lunch and are organising a charity dinner at the end of February at an Argentinian restaurant that a friend has recently opened up. We met at the restaurant to discuss various ideas, and are putting that all into motion now which is exciting. The founder is a lovely lady, and they do some great work so it’s exciting to help raise money and awareness.

2 Friday’s ago it was the 5th ladies night through Internations, we arranged it at a cool hotel bar nearby, and had a really good turn out of 25 people and had a great evening, lots of newcomers too. It’s nice particularly for women, to come to the events & get to know others for the first time, then if they go to one of the twice monthly parties where there is around 250-300 people it’s far less daunting.

The day after went to Houhai lake, which we put photo’s on before of the lake all iced over and people ice skating. This time walking around a different section of it, noticed some semi naked men just standing around, which was odd when it was -2 degrees…… there were about a dozen of them taking it in turns to jump into a small section of the water that wasn’t iced over, completely crazy….. it must have been so cold! So of course I had to take a few photos! I think they were enjoying all the attention to be honest, and were gathering a few crowds!

That night Andy & I went to a newish restaurant across the road and had a very nice romantic dinner, fab place – The Big Smoke, south American style BBQ food and great wine. The Sunday we wandered to the Slow Boat Brewery again for a beer & cheese tasting, a perfect combination actually, along with the slogan ‘because cheese & wine is so 2012’!! Another couple of ales sampled (Lou, I’m doing very well at this hey?!!!).

Last Tuesday the British Club had a Photography presentation by a lady called Chelin. She was really interesting, and showed some amazing pictures. I’ve enjoyed taking photo’s here, but not really done it seriously and it really inspired me to get back out there with my camera again properly and spend some time getting to know it again. We’ve kept in touch too and may meet up & go taking photos together, also she gave me a facebook group where they sometimes meet up too which would be fun.

Andy has been busy last week with bowling and badminton, so is doing well at keeping fit, unlike me still who can’t quite get into it…..!! I’ve run out of excuses now really! Whilst he was playing badminton, I went to a Viva networking event for ladies only, and they had a presentation, 3 women on a panel who were all journalists and lived here for various amounts of time, one has been here 30 years, and said in 1984 when she got here, you’d see about 20 cars on the road during a whole day, which is amazing to imagine now with so many cars on the road. An interesting evening hearing their thoughts & opinions on various matters.

Even though Andy & I spend a lot of time together, at work for one thing, but we realised that we needed to spend time when it was just the two of us as well. It’s so easy here to find yourself in a big group of people for dinner, or a drink, so we’ve introduced ‘date nights’ for just the two of us. Even if just the two of you go out, you tend to bump into people you know, it’s a small place really as far as the ex pat community is concerned, and you tend to go to similar places. Our date the week before was the romantic dinner. Last week on the other end of the scale, was a buffet dinner at Big Pizza for a fiver each, including free flow beer!!! So we stuffed our faces then went bowling, with the aim of Andy coaching me to bowl better. We go once a month with Internations so I wanted to try & improve. It really helped & was good fun, so just need to practice a little more.

Friday was a double networking evening, Australian chamber drinks at a hotel bar, then the Internations party. Both were really good fun.

Yesterday I met a couple of friends in town for manicure / pedicure / foot massage, then went for lunch afterwards. Andy was very excited yesterday, as he picked up his new scooter! Our friend Bruce has recently left here to move to Singapore, and has given Andy his scooter which is cool, as he was wanting to get one to make it easier to get out & about for work appointments (not for me though, I’m going to work up to getting a push bike, that will do for me!!). He loves it. It’s electric, and has 2 batteries which you bring into the apartment & charge up. It can go up to 40km on one charge. I probably need to be a bit more descriptive about it, perhaps Andy can add this!! Oh, it’s cream in colour, and is a classic vespa kind of style – really cool. Will take some photos soon, but it needs a good clean first.

It was our friend Megans birthday today, so last night about 25 of us went to The Big Smoke for dinner, so it was lovely to go back there & try more of their fab menu. A really good crowd, 10 different nationalities, great food again. Afterwards we went to a club for cocktails & dancing. Today we met up with her & a few others for a recovery brunch, then to a bar for a couple of beers & a few games of pool.

Been watching a few films recently too, Skyfall for one, it’s just come out at the cinema here but is quite censored, particularly some of the stuff in Shanghai, so at least watching it on a pirate DVD you get to see it all. Also watched the Hobbit too which was cool. Got Les Miserables too to watch sometime.

Keeping an eye on the tennis too at the mo, fingers crossed for Murray.

Well I think that’s all from the Perry household for now – will write again soon!
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Lou W on

So no cold dip for you then!!?? Would have sure made you move quick - to get out!! Still trying to imagine you as a Ginger biker.....

Mary Speirs on

.....get it all out...good and bad...and deal with it by having recognised the "negative" bits seem to grow.....don't let them.....let the positive ones take over....and one has forced me to do what I'm doing....I'm doing it because...we wanted to! Not cut out "for this business"....?if you start thinking that... Your customers will feel it too...Bad back?...another negative "reaction" to how you are feeling.......Up to you to...get back on top again...and remember your real friends and family will still be here when you get back....,whatever happens! We females analyse things too much...!!! xxxxxx Mary

Mary on

Hiya again...commented on the your downside of living abroad.....but hey....reading your past blogs...Xmas included......there seems to be so many "UPS".......! Keep them up.....!!! Time flys.....and it will all be over too soon....enjoy

Roswihta on

Hiya, loved looking at your photo's as they are really good. This time of the year is grim for a lot of people so keep your bubblyness up and come the spring you will start to feel different about things. Will try to ring you next week, did again last Sunday but maybe you were already on the phone as it went straight to answer phone both times I tried. Can't imagine what it is like for you Tracy but when Mary and I discussed it she said it was very hard for her 37 years ago but she got through it and I am sure you can too. Thinking of you lots. Love R xx

Steve on

If Pompey loses any more games I might have to move to China or support Everton - lost again today! Take care, love Steve x

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