By now, most of you readers know that that Nicholas and I are moving with a baby all the way to China. Nicholas will be teaching AP Literature at an international school in Wuxi, Jiangsu, PRC. This is not that far away from where we were living before. We are so ecstatic to be returning to China this year. When we left for Vietnam, we were extremely conflicted about whether we wanted to stay in China, go back home, go to Hanoi. After having returned home, we kept thinking (and often reminiscing) about China and our lives there. This past year we worked really hard to grow a baby and find jobs as teachers in America, but it wasn’t happening. After much deliberation, we decided to return to China and keep the adventure alive.
To the chagrin of our families, we are taking their grand-baby (and niece) a lot further away than they are comfortable with. We are now in the process of packing once again as we wait for our permits and visas to come through. No dates for us leaving the USA yet, but we are hoping to leave ASAP. Nicholas’ school started mid-August so he is anxious to get to his classroom and get started teaching again. I am excited to have my own home again and discover what being a stay at home parent is like. I already have my sight on an online Masters program if things get boring as a homemaker in a foreign country.
You may be able to empathize with us over the stress of consolidating everything into the number of bags allowed per passenger on most airlines. This year it is even more difficult. We have 3 people moving overseas and two of us will either be growing or (hopefully) shrinking back to normal size. I have tried to plan out what clothing I will be able to fit into and a progression of sizes towards my original pre-pregnant figure. In addition to needing a few new pairs of pants, I had to get rid of all of my shoes (thanks pregnancy hormones) and also I need a new coat (thanks childbearing hips). Lucky me, getting so many beautiful new pairs of shoes. I know for a fact that I will only be able to find my size in shoes in a very limited number of stores in China. However, now I know not to pack a lot of toothpaste and house-ware type things. Deodorant, tampons and bulk razor blades are still necessary to pack. Also, Mexican spices and ground Cinnamon are a must.
For Evelyn, we have had to go the opposite way. What clothes will she only fit into for a couple weeks, what will we need a month from now when the weather is bad, what kind of mosquito net can we find for the stroller, what teething toys will she want &etc. Its still nerve wracking to try to think ahead for a baby. I have no frame of reference for what is available for babies in China, or what quality they will be. How will I know if there is a recall, for example? Five or six years ago there was a huge scandal about baby formula containing sawdust in China. What happens if I have to stop breast feeding?
There are so many questions that new parents have. New parents who are moving so far from home have even more. I am so thankful for our Chinese friends who have been so helpful. I contacted my friend Janet who just had an adorably chubby little boy, she has been so helpful with websites, what I can find from Amazon.cn, Taobao.cn and other suggestions. My friend Nancy is bringing me the gift of baby formula from Taiwan, just in case I need some. We also have so much support from our friends here. Several have given us money to help with our move. Our friends have given us an incredible blessing to be able to ship several boxes of things for E in addition to bringing some items we desperately missed last time.
I’ll keep you updated about our moving process. Its been difficult to find blogs and stories about families moving overseas so I hope as I process our own journey it will be immensely helpful for other parents! If you have questions for us or would like to support Nicholas and I in China, please email us! Here is our Contact page.
Photos in this post are from our trip to Estes Park with both of our families (minus Nick’s sister). We went to celebrate Nick’s birthday but I think our parents mostly cared about Baby E.