After nine years in New York City, a period in which my wife earned her Bachelor’s degree and became an American citizen, we’re on the move again. Determined to keep the dual-continent lifestyle, we’ve uprooted our lives for the second time in a return to Asia that is not “forever”, but “for now”.
Leaving was not easy, but it went nearly as smoothly as possible. I could have done a better job of last-minute preparations in the final week (when X had already departed), and I am deeply indebted to Piers calling me on my last day in town and inviting himself over to help out. “Bory,” he said upon walking into my apartment. “You are not ready to leave!” This was about two hours before my car to the airport would arrive.
My company made the move a comfortable one, by agreeing to my request to be transferred abroad. That meant keeping my job and steady paycheck, while also providing funds for airfare and shipping some personal belongings overseas. It also meant I was moving to Kuala Lumpur, instead of somewhere in China (the original plan).
For the last few years, X and I discussed this move (it’s always been part of our plan to move back and forth between our respective countries for the rest of our lives) without being able to definitively say where we’d go. On the one hand, her hometown of Chengdu is where her family lives, and we want to be as close to her parents as possible. On the other hand, Chengdu is a different kind of town than New York or Shanghai, where we’ve lived for the last dozen years.
Which isn’t to knock Chengdu – we like the things that make Chengdu unique – but it’s a lot easier to find office jobs in New York or Shanghai, over the internet, than it is in Chengdu. And this was a big priority for X, to have a job waiting. It was important for me, too, because we’ve got bills and there isn’t much slack in our budget.
I think we had a bit of a nagging uncertainty, Will we be bored in Chengdu?, that must have contributed to it, but either way, I stayed focused on my plan with my job, which was settled by the end of winter, while X concentrated her search in Shanghai, where offers were more plentiful. She also applied to jobs in KL in solidarity 🙂
In the end she had to choose between offers from both cities, and we agreed that she should take the Shanghai position. It was better for her career, and our long-term goal was to be in China, after all.
So are you guys, like, getting divorced? No! There has been some confusion over the fact that we will be living apart for some time. Well, we’re weird like that. We didn’t plan it this way, but it was the best option to move towards our goal, so we took it.
Now I’m in an apartment in KL that was provided by the company for a month. It’s right next door to the office. The food here is good, and my co-workers have been nice about inviting me to lunch and dinner, knowing I’m on my own. It’s a new start, but also a sort of intermission.
Living alone (for the first time) will be a challenge, but also a valuable skill to have. We’re both looking forward to it. Of course we miss each other, but we’re strong, we know the plan, and we’ll see it through.
Meanwhile: Hello, Malaysia!