An American from the Midwest, I’ve been living in a small Chinese town (population about 1,000,000) since 2005. I started out teaching highschool and college English classes, had a few visa and job issues along the way and am now a freelance writer and blogger.
The inspiration for this blog and website comes from numerous emails that have gone back and forth between me and several women who were preparing to move to China for their or their spouse’s job. Sure, there are public forums, but those are too often filled with negativity and people who respond to questions about bringing one’s dog to China with “you don’t have to bring your own; most markets carry fresh dog meat.” Um, yeah. Those kind of people.
I love answering questions about China for people, but after awhile I started wishing I had a master document to just send each person. This will be that document. Always expanding and offering additional knowledge and advice from someone who’s lived in China for nearly a decade.
The only caveat is that my situation is a bit different from a lot–and dare I say, most–of the expat women in China: I’m married to a Chinese man and we live in a rather small town of about a million with just a handful of expats, most former Chinese citizens. On average, I see a foreign face two or three times a year.
That said, I feel that most of the information I have to offer will apply no matter which country you’re from–though I’m American so I do write with that culture in mind–or to which city you’re relocating. And since my husband earns a modest Chinese salary (to give you an idea, we spend about 2000 yuan a month on living expenses) and my income as a freelance writer is allocated to my retirement investments and the kids’ college funds, I’m very budget-conscious. I’ve always been that way, and my husband was born near the end of the Cultural Revolution so he was raised by parents more frugal than my own grandparents who were raised during the Depression.
I’m always eager to chat with soon-to-be, new or seasoned expat moms, so feel free to comment on the posts or drop me a line at CharlotteEdwardsZhang (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll do my best to reply as quickly as possible.