Long Hot Weekend

On second thoughts, the weekends are not long enough, which means I try and do too much. I end feeling totally unprepared for the week ahead. Subsequently, blog posts are delayed and have no coherence.

The weekend was beautifully hot, which was perfect for receiving two friends from my ex-life in Tianjin. So, instead of entertaining them, I reflected upon my time in Tianjin.

Life is a lot different now, but I still try to squeeze in too many activities in my free time. I used to teach English, learn Chinese, work on the website and try to get to church on time. Now, I’m run around Greenwich park, play badminton, update this website, overuse my Oyster Card and write long rambling emails. I occasionally go to work and I’m always late for church.

Do I miss anything about my life in China?:

  • The strong exchange rate – used to be 14 to 1 but that’s now gone
  • Friends – mostly gone. But most of them turn up in London to see me.
  • Teaching English – Audit is my true calling. That last sentence seemed strangely unsettling…
  • Learning Chinese – I do miss learning Chinese a lot. It’s the statisfying pen strokes of a Chinese character. Or it’s the repressed childhood guilt of not knowing enough Chinese. Either way.
  • Chinese food – I can cook this myself. I just have to live with the horrible taste

What I miss can never be re-lived, which seems like a sign that I should move on and live a life of audit.

On a completely unrelated topic, a big white ship came to my office near Canary Wharf carrying cheap Christian literature and pirates.

Logos Hope

Logos Hope

I told you it was unrelated.

Posted by Wordmobi

Tianjin Directory

Despite moving back to the UK, Tianjin has not left my thoughts or my life. Yesterday, I got an invitation to join the Tianjin Blog Network. I was flattered to be invited but it didn’t seem appropriate. Anyway the solution was to just have a link to all my blog posts about China.

If you have come from the Tianjin Directory site, then I welcome you to a blog about an ex-expat going through reverse culture shock after leaving Tianjin in July 2008.

How China Has Changed Me – Part I

I’m impatient. I hate waiting. For example, I will always run to catch the train. I apologise to those I’ve knocked over at London Bridge rail station while trying to catch a train that has already left. Although the next train is usually just 4 minutes away I continue to treat my work shoes like a pair of Nike trainers.

A few weeks ago, I finish my first day at the client site. I had spent a whole day auditing, which actually meant sitting around staring blankly at an Excel spreadsheet wondering how the numbers add up. I went back to the hotel tired and in need of quick food. We ordered at the restaurant but the food had not arrived after an hour. Waiting when hungry is not a good combination for me. So, I got up to the waitress, used some hand movements and asked for the food to come.

This was polite by Chinese standards, but was overly bold by British standards. I didn’t even think it was a big deal because I had got so used to demanding everything quickly in Tianjin. I used to feel that I greatly offended waiters whenever I asked for something. I’d use timid gestures and try to transmit my thoughts by telepathy. That inhibition has now gone, I get to eat sooner but I’m a little less British.