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Homeward bound: Austin, Texas

June 14, 2011

As I finally told my boss, I figured it was okay to publicly announce that I’m heading back to the United States in early August! I’ll continue at my current job until the end of July, travel a bit, and then head home. For good. After a month or so at home in the Bay Area, I’ll be heading to Austin, Texas, where Rick and I will make our new home. I’m really excited about the move! The reason, in short, is that we really want to come home. We miss America. I think that’s all the justification we need.

When I tell people of our plans, I often get the questions, “Won’t you miss Shanghai?” or “Are you sad to be leaving so soon?”

My answer to the first question is, yes, of course I’ll miss it – the way you miss any place you have made your home, no matter how much it may drive you crazy. I’ve spent a year of my life in China, most of that in Shanghai, and parts of the new life I’ve formed here I’ll miss a lot. I’ll miss the friends I’ve made here. I’ll miss my neighborhood in the Xuhui district, where I can get fried chicken at not one but two very conveniently located outlets, and I’m surrounded by great and affordable restaurants. I’ll miss the durian and other exotic fruits unique to Asia, as well as the shopkeepers who know me by sight and smile whenever I stop by. I’ll miss the constant exposure to a culture so different from my own. I’ll miss feeling like I’m living in the city that the eyes of the world are fixated upon, as China’s rise continues to fascinate and befuddle the world.

The answer to the second question – am I sad to be leaving so soon – is no. A year is long time. The nuance of this city has sunk into my mind. I’ve observed, absorbed, and experienced to my heart’s content. I’m ready to come home, to the U.S. of A, where I can access YouTube and afford fancy cheeses. Where everybody speaks English. Where I can act in community theater again. Where I know the watermelons I buy won’t explode. Where I won’t need to worry about a visa. Where I can call my family during normal hours of the day. Where I can visit home, or visit my sister at school, or go to the Harvard Yale game without spending an entire  month’s salary.

Also, I’m not sad to be leaving because I have a feeling Rick and I will end up back here one day – China, at least, if not Shanghai. This is the end of one chapter of our lives, but the book is far from over. With Rick’s fantastic Mandarin skills, and my functional Mandarin, we are prime candidates for a firm doing business in China to send abroad; and just about every firm in the US that sells anything is hoping to make its way to China, where growth prospects are some of the best in the world. I have one friend in Shanghai who is trying to move home and looking for a job, but every company he hears from wants to send him to China to run their operations here.

I don’t know when or why, but I’ve got a feeling we’ll be back. At the same time, unless there are huge changes in China’s government, we would never make China our permanent home. As the laws currently stand, we could never be citizens here, nor could our Children. With no Chinese blood in our families, we will forever be branded outsiders here, in some way or other. Which is fine, because we can always come home.

And we are coming home! Home again, home again – I’m counting down the days!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2011 9:30 am

    Exploding watermelons may be the cutest crisis in the history of ever.

  2. Mom permalink
    June 15, 2011 3:53 pm

    Yay! I, for one, am thrilled at the prospect of your move back home! Can’t wait to see you!

  3. Lindsay Boldt permalink
    August 10, 2011 4:00 pm

    Morgan! Happy for you both to be back. You should definitely reach out to my parents who are Austin natives and would love to be helpful in any way!! . . . whether showing you the best BBQ & Mexican spots or in trying to brainwash you into loving UT football (not hard). Good luck and hopefully I can perhaps see you in Novemeber when I’m in town! XO, Lindsay Boldt

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