Lisa McClure's China Diary

Our Valentine Portrait
Lara and Lisa
Our Valentine portrait

February 10, 1998

I'm making some real progress in my efforts to go live in China. In fact, it looks as if I may be on the cusp of both selling my house and actually getting a job offer in Beijing. With luck, both items might be resolved this week, and then it'll just be a matter of packing and waiting for the house sale to finalize.

In many ways, getting myself organized to take this adventure reminds me of the wait for Lara two years ago. The main difference is that now it's a lot easier, since I have a happy, child filled life, and the delays are due to my own making. (i.e. the time and work I need to put in to take care of my material goods.)

I've been 'burning the net' getting lots of good advice from Jane Liedtke (founder of OCDF) and a friend of hers who is already living and working in Beijing, about all sorts of domestic matters. I've been learning about kindergartens for three year olds, live-in nannies (that cost about $40 per month plus food), essential household items, and other matters of potentially vital importance.

The reaction to our impending lifestyle change from friends and acquaintances has been very interesting. About a third of them are openly envious. They want to hear all the gory details, and I won't be surprised to hear that they've 'jumped ship' and gone off on their own adventure one day soon. The other 2/3's seem to feel that I've lost my reason and can't understand how I can contemplate moving to a country where people speak a foreign language, eat foreign food, and live without TV football, shopping malls and their own cars.

But I've always wanted to live abroad and learn to speak another language, since I was a kid. And for Lara and me, now is an ideal time in our lives. She's young enough to pick up the language easily, but won't miss any essential American schooling. I'm in a transition period anyway, since I plan to move to Arizona to be near my folks when we return. And I'm not getting any younger, either! I know that if I don't live my dream now, I'll always regret it.

What do I hope to accomplish this next year in China? Well, I want Lara and me to be able to speak some Chinese. I have high hopes that Lara's brain will truly be wired for Chinese sounds, so that she'll have the potential of being fluent in Chinese as she grows up. I want us to build happy memories together of our experiences in China, with lots of photos and stories to tell for years to come. But most importantly, I want us to make friends in China and get to know what makes the people and the country tick. When we come home in a year or two, I want us to be able to think of China as a very comfortable second home, and not a foreign place at all.

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!

Lisa McClure

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