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Alyssa’s Expat Life—Crap, I’m an Expat

May 20, 2014   //   by astahr   //   Alyssa Stahr, Blog  //  Comments Off on Alyssa’s Expat Life—Crap, I’m an Expat

So now that my time here is winding down to just nine short weeks, everything that haunted me about leaving in the first place is coming back. In addition, I don’t have a car. I don’t have a place to live. I don’t want to go back to the same routine I had before. I know that everything will fall into place as it always does. I’m resourceful and stronger than I’ve ever been. I will make it work as I’ve always done, with a new outlook on everything I’ve ever known while venturing more into the totally unknown.

My freelance career is taking off like never before, yet I’m still waiting for that one stable place to say “yes” so I can stay home, bar, coffee shop full-time and save enough to not be a poor old person. Even though Jinan is not a place I will ever have a yankering to come back to, the idea of what this whole thing was based on in the first place is what’s giving me pause about coming back stateside.

In Jinan, minus having to go far to get anywhere decent, I can afford the luxuries of life, travel and pretty much live like a queen by my standards, which in China aren’t that high. Money is not a worry here. Converting back to USD and logistics is. Even though I work 17-hour weekends, the rest of the week I’m essentially free. I’m free. I don’t have to live for my weekends or the next vacation anymore. For instance right now I’m drinking a Captain at 2 o’clock in the afternoon at a restaurant by the mall and writing. On a Monday. And getting paid for it. It’s such a freeing and comforting feeling, and one that I don’t care to change.

However, in order to have this life I have to give up the one thing in life I’ve ever loved more than myself. And I just can’t do the tradeoff. If it weren’t for Maddux I would country hop every six months to a year, only to return possibly for holidays or special events. I’d see even more of the world and all that it has to offer. However, I can’t Skype with him like a human being. I can’t explain to him why I’m gone. And I took on the very welcoming responsibility to be his mommy for life. I can not and will not shirk that responsibility. Six months of being away from him was definitely tough enough.

However, as I’m watching the e-bikers fly by with children and no helmets and listening to and watching the worst socially unacceptable hygiene I’ve ever experienced and drowning out every conversation around me, I see the joy and absurdity in it. I will not miss Jinan one bit. But, I will look back on how I’ve grown from it with a smile on my face and a renewed focus to my life.

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