Crying Over a Seasoning?

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…


9 thoughts on “Crying Over a Seasoning?

  1. I like it, not because of ” the tear drops”.
    Not, your Post just give a truth, it’s paint us how life going for each of us, we are living into a country where thing going deeper different, we looking may be for some new asset, some of us just need new start, more chances, got jobs and change there life.
    But when the day going down to the sunset, we even take a while, think about where we come from, past life still give us ” throat pain”…..i like those words; Funny thing about homesickness… it sneaks up on you when you aren’t watching […], 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.[…]sometimes is it hard to live in China…I sometimes.. look at myself in the mirror and say … WHY AM I HERE?[…] 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.
    Cause there is still hope and life.

  2. roz

    Jo, don’t feel alone. You have all of us here from your BLOG. We can always give you a feel of the USA when you feel homesick.. I live in the Midwest / USA from your area. I am sure all of us from your BLOG are praying for you.. You will be fine.. I am so impressed with you and all you have done. I have learned so much about the Chinese culture. I traveled there many times and never had a clue. ..Your BLOG has given me so much insight. You are a inspiration to many people here and you are not alone. Thank you.

  3. I remember reading articles about the different stages that expats go through. when I was in Japan, I had moments when I wanted to be surrounded by as many “American” things as possible to balance out the craziness of living in a country and culture all my own. The plus side is because you do have a husband and pretty busy lifestyle it keeps you distracted enough so that you don’t feel homesick all the time. Sounds like China has become “home” enough for as well. 🙂

  4. blackandyellow

    Because of you, and your blog I get to learn a lot about a country I am very interested in. I cannot say much…I think Natalie summed it up perfectly. God bless.

  5. Aww it’s very sweet of your cousin to have sent you a box containing tastes of home! I understand how it made you cry (tears are rolling down my face as I am typing this – at work on lunch break no less)! It must be so lonely at times, especially when your husband is away and you’re in a country located a whole ocean away from home and everyone back there keeps on going despite the fact you’re gone… Keep hanging to the thought you have many who love you and who are thinking of you, including your husband, family, neighbours, and even your blog readers. 🙂

  6. Oh my gosh! This is soooo sweet! Ah living in a foreign country I am starting to experience this too! And since this is my first time moving out of the house family pops into my head at the most awkward times. Im doing very well with not being homesick but sometimes Ill think about my deceased father at the most random times. I ask myself frequently “why am i here” questions when i run into a mean ass ajushi on the subway or rude taxi driver, or getting tired of being stared at all the time. But then i think back to all the things ive dealt with in life; horrible mean kids at school, my mother being extremely sick, and me barely having enough to make it through college. I think of these things and im like “u know what, wow. im here exactly where i told everyone i was gonna be. Asia” Im chasing after my dreams with no kids or baby daddies (unlike my high school counterparts). Only bright skys and maturing challenges ahead for me!

    Thanks u sooo much for this post! So inspiring!

  7. John Lee

    wow very emotion, you do have good friends, family member that always think of you and who miss you very much, thanks for sharing this with everyone

  8. Roz

    I can understand some of what you are feeling. I use to travel constantly overseas for business for weeks and weeks at a time.

    For the most part I love it, but at times got very lonely and tiring. I missed my mom espeically, other family members and friends. I was always so happy to come home to the US.

    I can only imagine what you must be feeling living away. You are for sure a strong brave woman..

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