Friday, May 24, 2013

Hong Kong Calling

It's been a week since we started considering a move to Taiwan.  We had settled on Taipei but then we spoke to Mike's brother and he planted another seed, why not Hong Kong?  We briefly considered it before returning to the idea of Taipei.  But, upon further consideration and after exploring visas and housing, it appears as though we've settled on the idea of Hong Kong as our next move.

As you may know, ever since our trip there in 2010 I have been promoting the city as one I would move to "in a second".  It is easily one of our top 5 favorite cities (though, as we've discovered with New York, visiting a city as a tourist is very different from living there as a resident) and we're really looking forward to this next adventure.

picture in The New York Times
Recent events have made us realize that we had considered London our home, though only there for a short time.  As we approach the 6 month mark for our time in New York (equivalent to the last stretch spent in London) we are nowhere near the feeling of home we had there.  To that point, I saw this article in today's New York Times and was reminded of my post from about this time last year.

Besides the picture, the article talks about the emerging art scene and otherwise just speaks to me.  I think if you played it backwards it would say "Mike + Desi should move to Hong Kong" (and, maybe also, "Paul is dead"). Hong Kong wants us to move there.  Clearly.  And we will.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Adventure Isn't Over

enjoying a pitcher whilst conversing
Last night was a lovely spring evening in New York City and, due to Mike's work schedule, the first opportunity we've had to really talk in a long while. We don't often discuss our personal struggles with each other because they're rather rare and usually temporary, gone with the day, but we really should change that behavior because when we do have real conversations they're very therapeutic and often enjoyable.  Last night we were able to have one of those real conversations.

One of the things we discussed was my recent sad post and my belief that the adventure is now over for us because we're back in the US and that we're just supposed to pick up where we left off and carry on as before and how I'm having a real hard time accepting that.  And, because the fight in me comes back every once in a while, why do I have to accept that?

Adding to this new idea that I don't have to accept that the adventure is over, Mike's new job isn't working out.  He's tried his hardest to make it work but the guy he works for is a maniac and treats him terribly.  Additionally, my job isn't working out either.  Of course, mine isn't as bad as Mike's but it was supposed to be my dream job and is instead just a huge disappointment.  We both still love New York as a city but the professional culture here is light years away from what we have experienced or expected and it's just not a good fit.

Earlier this year, when we were pretty sure New York was going to be another failure for us and we were about a month away from packing up and moving to Mike's parents' house, broken, weary, and poor, where we would be ensconced in their safe arms and be able to forget about the cruel world for a time, Mike's brother suggested an alternative: why not move to Taiwan (where he has lived for most of the time I've known him)?  Though we didn't seriously consider it at the time, because burying our heads in Mike's parents' house sounded so much better than trying and failing yet again, the seed was planted.  Now that we're a few months removed from those dire days and have found that we can survive in New York but we're questioning whether we want to, we're revisiting the Taiwan idea.

Taipei 101, circa Jan 2010
If we did decide to move, this might be our smartest and best move yet.  We'd probably target the latter half of next year, so we'd have at least 14 months to prepare.  Mike would have a job prior to our moving (teaching English), so no mad rush to find employment upon arrival.  We've also been there before (we visited Mike's brother there in 2009) and would have family nearby, with plenty of experience to help us navigate.  Seriously, this just might be our best move yet.

Having just started this line of thought last night, I'm already feeling so much better about everything.  This possibility has given me a new perspective on our last few years.  If we hadn't given up everything to move to Scotland then Mike wouldn't have his degree and moving to Taiwan wouldn't be an option.  If nothing else, I'm no longer feeling like a failure.  I feel like an adventurer again.  It's a good feeling.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Missing Europe and What Could Have Been

Mike enjoying the fruits of his labor
(yes, that is a bride at a bar mitzvah)
Mike has been working some crazy hours.  We think this is what happens when one becomes an adult.  We don't like it but we're accepting it, for now at least.  Since Mike started his job in mid-April, he's been working six days a week and at least 12 hours each day.  Crazy, right?  Happily, this past weekend was the last event he has on until September and yesterday we received word that the end of these crazy work hours just might be nigh.  More importantly, we're looking at the possibility of actually getting some paid time off over the July 4th holiday.  I was initially very excited upon hearing this news because I love to plan our holidays but, after just a few hours, my excitement has turned into a whole bunch of other feelings.

I'm not sure if I've discussed the utter devastation we experienced last year when the UK eliminated our visa scheme, essentially destroying our 20 year plan.  Perhaps due to the mind switching into survival mode, and all our efforts being focused on our forced return to the US, I may not have mentioned our heartbreak, or at least not harped on about it.  But, now that we've come out the other end and staunched the downward spiral, I would like to state, for the record, how utterly devastated I am that we gave up everything for only a two and a half year experience.  I could've accepted the absolute loss for a 20 year adventure but for just two and a half years?  Perhaps time will change my mind but right now I'm not fully convinced it wasn't an absolute failure.

To be honest, Dundee was horrid.  Even with my sweet government job, we were still two people living on one person's very low salary in a horrible small town surrounded by scary hillbillies.  We lived in almost complete isolation during this time and, with the bulk of our two and a half years abroad spent there, this may explain my feelings of resentment, remorse, and anger.

Once we got down to London our fortunes changed immensely and, had we not had to save every penny for our imminent transatlantic move, we would've been living quite comfortably.  We had an apartment we liked, great friends, and jobs we both loved.  We were able to experience what could have been for about 6 months, and it was very nearly perfect and exactly what we had hoped it would be.  Losing that reality is no doubt the source of my sadness.

The Plan had us living in London for two years where we would've, with no doubt in our minds, been very successful.  If The Plan had been allowed to continue I would've accepted every sacrifice as having been worthy but that's not what happened and today we find ourselves worse off than we were as newlyweds, back in 1999.  I can't help but compare where we were to where we are.  Living abroad is different; because we had never been there before we had no basis for comparison.  But, starting over in an American city; we've been here before.

As I begin to plan our first real holiday since returning to the US I can't help but recall our recent past and how it could have all been very different.  If we'd gotten to stay in the UK, I'd be comparing Portugal to Croatia or Finland to Austria.  Instead I'm comparing Boston to Providence and Maine to Vermont.  There was a time when our current situation - living in New York, comparing east coast cities for upcoming holidays - would've been acceptable and exciting but after everything we've been through I can't help but feel like a giant failure.
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