I've been following A Totally Impractical Guide to LIving in Shanghai, also known as Ephemera and Detritus, a fabulous, eclectic and highly personal Shanghai blog written by perpetual traveller MaryAnne Oxendale, for quite some time. She's a great writer who manages to capture the highs and lows, and the swings in between, of Shanghai life in all its manifestations. So imagine my surprise and excitement when she asked if I would be interviewed for her current series on life as an expat, warts and all.
Expat life, exciting as it might seem to those at home, isn't all beer and skittles, when you consider the isolation, dislocation and loneliness, not to mention a lack of lamingtons and Cherry Ripes. Being a perpetual foreigner, being perpetually misunderstood, and being an outsider in someone else's country can be a difficult place to be.
The interview was difficult to do, mostly because it forced me to really deeply evaluate why I'm still here in China, fully fifteen months after I should have gone home. I have a small twice weekly crisis about whether China is the best place for us to continue to live, for lots of reasons - the pollution, the internet censorship, the Nobel Peace Prize winner in prison (now there's a combination of words likely to get the censors excited) and so on. In the main, it's an incredible place, whose people, culture and food (ah..the food!) I love...but....but....the niggling doubts are always there.
You can read the full and frank interview here.