Most of the people reading this will already know the story behind how me and my wife wound up in Shanghai, but as this is a blog, and available to the world I thought I would give some introduction to the random readers who may stumble upon the Shanghai Café.
My sister and her husband have lived and worked in China for about the last five years. They love it and have always said that we should come over. We have always half-heartedly talked about it and said it might be a fun experience, but my wife was in graduate school and I had a good job and we were comfortable, so we never did anything.
About a year ago I was laid off from my job, and have had great difficulty finding anything new and suitable to my tastes/lifestyle.
My wife is now finished with her course work for the PhD, and only lacks the writing of her dissertation to complete her degree. She also had difficulty finding full time work in her field.
A few months ago I decided that I would move beyond simply saying China sounded like it might be a fun experience and try to see if it was even possible. I sent our resumes to my sister and asked her to pass them around. I wasn’t sure if we would ever go, but I was curious to see if we could even get a job there.
A couple of weeks later my wife began to receive e-mails and phone calls from China asking about her interests and setting up interviews. Multiple interviews were given and she was offered a job. Honestly, at this point we felt like we were being swept along.
We quite literally had no idea what else to do, with both of us being unemployed with little to no prospects, China suddenly seemed like a glowing beacon. With the job offer to China set before us, with an answer being expected, we said “yes.”
Now that we knew what to do, there was much to do to get the China Plan completed. We were living in an apartment in Indiana and had to do something with all of our stuff. My wife’s folks were also in a transitional period in their lives, having just lost their jobs and being forced out of their home (not being evicted as in not paying bills, but having been living in a company house and with no longer working for that company having been asked to leave.)
They were moving in with some relatives in Tennessee, and thus had no place to put our stuff. We looked at renting a big truck to lug everything to my folks in Oklahoma, but the price tag to simply rent the truck – not hire packers or drivers mind you – was over $900! Not being able to afford that, my dad came up with his truck and trailer and we loaded everything we could. We loaded a lot but still had to rent a storage building for the rest of it.
The wife and I stayed behind, sleeping on an air mattress, sweating through a broken air conditioner, and generally living a Spartan existence. We spent most of our days in the library getting the wife prepared for her dissertation writing.
It was a stressful time, but everything was accomplished and the time came and we flew away.