Thursday, January 16, 2014


Mia and Barbara are two Italian ladies, currently living in China. They both are living abroad since a couple of years.
For the Christmas holidays, like most of the foreigners, they have come back in Italy. Three or more weeks, to enjoy the warm atmosphere of their homeland.
How are these kind of Christmas holidays for expats? Very busy, of course: visiting friends and relatives, having lunches and dinners, eating a lot of delicious Italian dishes and drinking plenty of wine! And enjoying the warmth of Italian family!
But husband's work is calling: let's go back in China!
Mia is preparing luggages with very sad hearth: she enjoyed very much to stay with her family and every good-bye is more difficult than the last one. She would like to stay a little more... she couldn't meet all friends she wanted to, the time was too short.
When the plane lands in Shanghai, she stares sadly at the gray foggy. How she's missing her beautiful garden in Italy! She won't see her roses blooming, even this year. She's fighting to hide the tears, she doesn't want her husband to see her cry.
A driver is waiting for them outside the arrivals. Like every time, the misunderstandings start immediately. She's very tired about that, really tired to deal every single day with the attitude of the Chinese: so different from the Italians!
Barbara instead, is very happy to go back to China! In Italy she found the same, old family problems: the sister doesn't speak with her anymore and every Christmas dinner is a drama. And then: forced to stay home because every single relative wanted to visit them. It could be pleasant, but not when you have to cook from morning to evening for your never ending guests! And clean the house, and look after children, and make a lot of phone calls... is this holiday?
Besides, the general atmosphere in her place is not so nice: many in her town have lost the job and people are very angry, disappointed, unhappy. The economical crisis seems to be endless and the political situation is not better.
For Barbara, China means dynamism and activity! In China her children enjoy the international school (a really good opportunity to learn English in a proper way!) and she has a lot of time to spend to attend Mandarin lessons, to discover new places, to socialize. She has known a lot of new,interesting people!
Unlike Barbara, Mia feels very lonely: her best friends are in Italy and during her time abroad she couldn't forge deep relationships: expats are coming and going and friendship is necessarily superficial.
Happy new year, Mia and Barbara: your way to experience life abroad is totally different and your challenge in the new year won't be the same. As our, of course. Each of us lives expat life in a different way and I hope that 2014 will bring us strength, energy and enthusiasm to cope large and small difficulties!

No comments:

Post a Comment