Only for work circumstances would I agree to wear a hard hat...
Where does all of my time go? It’s almost April and I haven’t even done half of all the “Jonna stuff” I promised to do for myself this spring. Sure, I’ve kicked off a more healthy life (and I’ve stuck to it –I mix long distance treadmill running with spinning, weight training and yoga- it normally becomes 4 sessions/week, sometimes 3, and sometimes 5), but what about the rest? I had some serious writing plans for this spring, oh, and not to mention the fact that I was gonna cook more (ehhh), blog on a more regular basis (ehhh), take more photos (ehhh?!) and try to do more fun/new things on the weekday nights. Hasn’t really happened yet, but maybe I can blame winter and get re-started again now with spring around the corner. It is really heating up. Lovely! I hope spring lasts for more than 2 weeks this time!
One thing I’ve thought about is how people back home look at my life over here. Sometimes it hits me that some people don’t seem to take it seriously. It’s like they don’t get that my every day, boring Mondays are spent here, in Shanghai –and that they can be just as grey and dull as they can be back home. Just to take an example: I get a lot of visitors for work, from Sweden. Every time they come here they want full programs, they want to have dinners, go for drinks and explore the city. When I, on the other hand go to visit someone in Stockholm, my program almost always ends around 6.30pm, when people go home from work. There might be a dinner scheduled for one night out of seven. The other six nights, I get the whole: “Oh, you’ll have to take care of yourself because I have to go home to my family!”
Sure, I don’t have a family over here so that makes it a bit different. No kiddies to go home to. But it’s not like living abroad means that you hit restaurants and bars every single night –it’s not that special when you constantly have the possibility. I also like to get home early a few nights a week in order to do all that cooking/writing/photography that I never get around to do anyway…
Also, it’s funny how these “work visitors” often want to add some time for exploring the city/sightseeing in the program. If I would ask for something like that on a business trip to Stockholm I think people would start laughing. Why should I explore? I travel “home” for work –nothing else (although Stockholm is as far from home as any place in the world for me, truth to be told I’ve spent very little time over there –since I’m from Malmö we always went to Copenhagen rather than Stockholm when we were young). When people come here, however, regardless if it’s for a work trip, there should always be time for “some fun.”
I’ve talked to a lot of friends (that are in similar situations as me –they work for a European company and have to deal with visiting delegations, as well as working against time difference). Another really frustrating things is how people from Europe always feel that they can call you anytime, regardless if it’s 9pm and you might be enjoying a night off.
-Oh, sorry! Well, over here it’s only 2pm… bla bla bla.
I wonder how happy they would be if I called them at 4am, going:
-Oh, sorry, well over here it’s already 10am, and I really need some answers…
Bit of a rant, excuse me, but point to be made: when living and working here –it ain’t no holiday. Also, it is for real, even though it doesn’t feel like that when friends back home are asking me: “when are you coming home to start your real life? Aren’t you going to buy a house, a car, get married and have some kids soon? You’re not that young anymore, Jonna.”
It’s like they are waiting for my “fantasy-and-not-so-real-life-far-away-over-there” to end and me to join the rat race back home. Only thing is… I’ve already joined the rat race over here. And even though I just made a deal of the fact that time flies and I don’t have much spare time on my hands, I think I’ll stick to what I have here. Regardless if people think I’m “on some kind of holiday.” Has anyone experienced similar things? How do you guys deal with people from your home country not taking your life abroad seriously, constantly telling you that you should go "home" (meanwhile you might not be sure where "home" is anymore)? Please, do share.