From One China Expat to Another - a Note of Gratitude

As we all do, I have a lot of people back home that I miss like hell……please forgive my language, but I wasn’t able to find another word that had the same feeling and impact inside me.  

And when I left Melbourne, my biggest fear was leaving behind the people that I chose to share my day to day life with.

When I arrived in Suzhou, China I wasn’t expecting to find a support network on my door step, yep on Day 2 on China soil, I had somewhere to be.  I had a wonderful group of 5 ladies that instantly welcomed me in to their homes. They had never met me and knew nothing about me. They shared their wine, their ‘china’ tips and they shared their loves and fears. There weren’t many days in the week where I didn’t have somewhere to be.

In January this year my husband and I had the opportunity to move to Shanghai. I was wrapt with the idea of being closer to my yoga studio, to sip on creamy coffees other than star bucks and to put on my explorer socks.  I wasn’t feeling great about leaving my new family…. but I knew that the adventures we already shared would bind us together — and then there is alway wine and wechat!

In Shanghai things took a little bit more time…. I pulled my explorer socks up higher, I strapped on my courage and my widest smile and began to ride solo at various wellbeing activities.  And it was through reading about a certain Shanghai Fitness guru that I met Martina from Alive Shanghai….. and the rest is history; let’s just say that I owe this girl about the same balance as my mortgage.  

As I became more inquisitive and confident to step outside my comfort zone, people were lining up to be met.   The more people I met…. well, the more people I met! 

“Lauren, I think you would get along so well with Jane, I think you two share a lot in common”

"Lauren, you have to meet, April, she will be able to tell you all about this”

"I have a friend who may be able to help you get some exposure with this, let me hook you up”

….. and the list goes on.

I am sorry that it has taken me so long to get to this point -  

I have many people to thank here in China.  

People that have taken a risk on me without knowing me, they have vouched for me when they have met me once and supported me on this journey without knowing how long she/he or I may stay.  They have given their all, without expecting anything back.

This has been one of the greatest joys and teachings as life as an expat. I carry this weight in my heart of the debts I owe, and for some people in wonder how I will ever repay…. love really does make the world go round.

You hear people say, oh I don’t like to make new friends, they just leave or i’m not here for long so it’s easy just to stay low….. I am not wishing to judge here, we all have our experiences and our reasons, but I do wish to say you are missing out on a lot of love out there.

And so this post is dedicated to those Suzhou and Shanghai companions that have taken a risk on me, that have embarked on my journey, that have shared their experiences and become my ‘fans’ in such a short space of time.  I only hope I can give back the love that you rightfully deserve xx

And to my Melbournian loves, the ones that have shaped me and held me together in the past, I hope you hang in there for the brighter and more vibrant me that doesn’t stop to think about you for one day.  By gosh, I will continue to share and love you from under the same night sky and look forward to our times together again……

xx From one human being to another 

P.S names have been changed to protect privacy