A young woman crying I had an American friend say to me…” I don’t know how you do it Jo.  You are here in China away from your family and kids.  Don’t you miss them?”   Well, Of Course I Miss Them. Just some days are better than others.   This week my husband is on a business trip to Guangzhou for a week to attend a very large trade show called the Canton Fair.   This is a big opportunity for him, to meet business contacts and advance his career.   I can’t help to be proud of him trying to become a successful man of the business world.  However, there is a downside…. while he is away on business, I am here in this small Chinese town alone.

Most of the time I am perfectly okay… Michael calls often and I am so busy with school and my own career that he is back before I know it.  But sometimes, the smallest things will set me off into tears…. a movie…. a song… and sometimes even an old outfit…this time it was seasonings.

I know it sounds crazy… but let me explain.

I got the most wonderful surprise the other day.  My cousin dearest sent me a box of goodies.   I received the package from America and was thrilled.  I am usually happy to get any box from anywhere or anyone .. because in my mind it means someone was thinking about me.   I get so few packages from the states that when I do get one it is like Christmas to me.

Usually all the locals will surround me .. just as excited to see something coming from America.  This time was no different.   They even helped me to open the heavily taped box.   I saw that my dear cousin had hooked me up with exactly what I needed… taco seasonings, chicken salad seasonings, onion powder, garlic powder, Sazon Goya (for my mexican dishes), cornbread mix, Tuna Helper, and she even threw in some books for good measure.  All the things I need to have the taste of home in my own kitchen.  I was touched… deeply touched… and when I looked at everything…. my memories went back to cooking with an actual oven…. making creative dishes and using recipes to make the best dishes and friends and family coming over to enjoy dinner together; then playing cards afterward or dancing the rest of the night away in my living room.

All those fun times .. just came over me when I saw all my favorite spices in front of me.   I then began to cry.   Of course, the locals panicked….(since they have never seen me emotional… always the strong one here.)  I actually had to leave the room and go to the restroom for a minute.

Funny thing about homesickness… it sneaks up on you when you aren’t watching.   I guess when I have Michael around me all the time.. and I busy myself with work… I kind of have things out of my mind… I just work on me and my career.   But… once in a while when you have been in a place for as long as I have… without your family around you … you miss the little things.

I guess the hardest part is when you realize… that although you are gone… the world you left behind .. is still continuing on without you.  It is sometimes hard to deal with…. Your good friends and family are living life as usual….

Yes… sometimes is it hard to live in China… maybe harder than almost any other country… due to the prejudices, disorganization, hidden agendas, and lack of conveniences.   I sometimes.. look at myself in the mirror and say … WHY AM I HERE?  

Then… I come out of the restroom… and see the concerned look on my co-workers’ and student’s faces.. I glance at my phone and see that Michael has sent a message saying that he misses me and will be home soon and I look around at the fact I have a good job, a nice place to live, a new car … wonderful new friends and a thoughtful husband… … and I know… I am in the right place.

until next time…