Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," said Juliet to her Romeo. And she's right of course. But I don't know if there's another name that would sound as sweet. I'm biased, being a Rose myself!

My father named me Heather because we are of Scottish ancestry and because he liked the name. Many other mothers and fathers in the 1970's also liked the name. I was one of four Heathers in my Kindergarten class. Because the other three had all been in the same school in preschool together and there was already a Heather R., I got to go by Heather Ann, my middle name. My mother gave me that name, which is also her middle name. And of course my father gave me my last name, Rose. In the 1970's, an American woman was still 99% likely to take her husband's last name, and therefore my parents very nearly named me Heather Rose Rose, so that when I got married, I could keep the Rose part. Altogether, I have a very floral name, heather being the little purple flowers from Scotland. Ann, if you add an E could be Queen Anne's Lace. And rose of course, the flower that Juliet thought smelled so sweet. In fact, my bridal bouquet was made up of those three flowers.

Me and my name in flowers.

When I married my husband, I was all of 21. And though I loved him to pieces, I had a hard time immediately casting aside the Rose in favor of his Chase. I adore my heritage and the family name, and after all, I did grow up hearing about how my parents almost gave me Rose twice so I could keep it. I wanted to keep it! Michael supported my position, and never once pressured me to change my name. Oddly enough, he has a sister named Heather, who was Heather Chase before marrying a Young (and I regularly get confused for her on Facebook). The year I turned 25 I went in and somewhat altered my name. I didn't drop the Rose, I added a hyphen along with the Chase. Most of the reason for adding it was social pressure. After all, even though I wasn't legally named Chase, everyone we knew called me Heather Chase.

Toward the end of my 25th year, I had my first son. As babies in America don't get a legal name until the birth certificate is filed, his wrist and ankle bands all said "Baby Boy Rose-Chase" because I was registered as Heather Rose-Chase. I had no desire to saddle my first born with the name I had chosen for myself. And friends who had met me after I was married couldn't find me at the hospital, being unaware that I had a Rose in there before the Chase they knew me as. It was the first time I felt somewhat guilty about keeping the Rose at all.

Interestingly enough, applying for visas as an accompanying spouse when we moved to Japan ten weeks after Nathan was born was no problem at all. It would appear that having the same name as your husband is only a weighty issue in America where the divide between conservatism and liberalism grows ever wider and keeping one's name post-nuptuals throws you at the most liberal side of the scale. Which isn't really where I belong, I'm just a girl who really, really likes her name (and for the record I fall all over the place, extremely conservative in some areas, quite liberal in others, and somewhere in the middle for most. I don't fit labels as well as I fit my name).
The Rose Clan crest, motto, and tartan, which my grandfather Ernest Rose brought back from Scotland, which came to me after both my Rose grandparents passed away. This has hung by the door of every home I've ever lived in, traveling all around the world with me. My parents have the same thing hanging by their door, which will go to my brother. My Dad's two sisters each have one as well. I am the only girl on my Dad's side of the family with the last name of Rose, and my brother is the last Rose in our branch of the family tree.

When our oldest hit Kindergarten we'd just moved back to America from Hong Kong, where once again going by a hyphenated name different from my son and husband's was no big deal. But registering Nathan at the neighborhood school in California provided the school staff with plenty of opportunities to bring up the fact that our last names didn't match on all the forms. Maybe it's a safety issue, but I can't tell you how horrible it felt to have that pointed out by everyone who read the forms to enroll him. Because in this day and age of divorce and remarriage, there are plenty of kids whose last name doesn't match that of their parents. Right?

Once again we are abroad, and this time in a culture quite a bit different from the rest when it comes to names. In China, if you meet a Mr. Lao, you should never turn to the lady by his side and say, "And you must be Mrs. Lao." It is guaranteed that his wife is not Mrs. Lao (though hopefully the woman by his side is indeed his wife!). The women of China keep the name of the family they were born into. Keeping the Rose here is a non-issue. Adding the hyphen and the Chase only brings up the occasional question of which name is that of my family and which is that of my husband's.

I've grown to love all of my names, especially because what got added on is shared not just with my husband but with my two sons, and hopefully with any children they may have, waaaaaay down the line.

In closing, I'll leave you with a link to a galaxy 300 million light-years away from Earth, seen from the Huble Space Telescope. My husband, who loves me by any name, tweeted tonight that it was named after me, Galaxy Rose. I don't know how it smells, but it sure is pretty!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winterizing

Besides small (or non-existent) ovens and teeny-tiny refrigerators, another thing that many flats in Asia are lacking is closet space. Michael moved to Macau ahead of us and picked out our flat there before the boys and I arrived. One thing it had in abundance was storage space. Every single room had wall to wall (sometimes two walls) of floor to ceiling built in closets and cupboards and drawers. There was so much storage that about half the available space was completely empty! None of our previous homes have ever had storage like that, not even in America where we had a garage!

Flash forward to our current flat, which has almost no built in storage. Each room has a wardrobe, and small ones at that. We had to run out to our handy second-largest-in-the-world IKEA to buy extra dressers, shelves, sideboards, cupboards, cubbies, and anything else we could use to find homes for all our stuff. And after six months, we're still not completely unpacked. A record for us for sure!

One thing we immediately had to do was to gather all our winter clothing and stuff it into oversized vinyl bags which fit under our bed. And now that the temperatures have dropped, I've been pulling out all those fuzzy sweaters and flannel pajamas. Which meant it was time to pull out all the shorts and tees and put them into the vinyl bags to be shoved under the beds.

In many books and stories and blogs I've read about doing this exact thing, packing away the summer things to make space for winter. Coming from Southern California, this was never necessary. At least not for us, as we don't ski or snowboard or otherwise regularly spend time in particularly cold places.

 
I am getting that feeling of starting to hate everything in my closet (or under the bed, as it is). Part of it is that I've added almost zero new pieces to my wardrobe in nearly two years. My curves do not mix well with the tiny clothes that fit the more narrow frame of my Asian sisters. And the clothing in the stores specifically stocking goods with Western bodies in mind charge a premium I'm not willing to pay. In Macau we did order a few times from Old Navy, going in with a few other families to spread out the exorbitant shipping cost. But here in China you have to pay duty on anything that comes in, which means I might as well just shop at the local store's prices and be grateful. And take heart in the fact that though I'm sick of my current clothing choices, no one here in Shanghai has seen any of it.

Word on the street is that after ages and ages of waiting, there will be a sewing machine under the tree (or perhaps next to my birthday cake) for me next month. Considering one of the things currently taking up space in this house is the boxes and boxes of fabric and patterns that I shipped from the U.S. to Macau and then up here to Shanghai, I foresee a whole new me-made wardrobe coming very soon! Which is a very good thing as this morning my favorite pair of well worn 10+ year old jeans finally gave up the ghost and ripped in a non-repairable place. Sigh. The one item of clothing I don't think I could have ever become sick of, like an old and beloved best friend. Guess it's time to go find a new best friend. Sadness.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Tree is Trimmed

...as is this post, which I worked on for awhile and then my unfamiliarity with the latest Blogger app update proved too much and I watched the whole thing disappear before my eyes. It is late, so I won't try to rewrite it, but I will say our house is dressed up in its Christmas Party Best, while Michael and I were also sporting some pretty awesome duds for our day of holiday decorating and turkey consuming.

Lucy Rocket is still new to the whole idea of Christmas, as evidenced by the number of times we had to ask her to get the tree out of her mouth. Filling her bowl with turkey certainly helped!

Off to bed now, so I can have sweet dreams of sugarplums and (faux) snowflakes!



Friday, November 23, 2012

Talkin' Turkey

So yes, I'm an American, and Thanksgiving is my uniquely American holiday which celebrates thankfulness through the act of stuffing ourselves with way too much food while watching parades and football. Strangely enough, it has never been my favorite holiday. I feel so unpatriotic stating that, but it's the truth.

I'm not opposed to a day that celebrates gratitude and thankfulness. In fact, I recently ran one of those little programs on Facebook which tell you the words you use most in your status updates, and my top two were grateful and love. And I know myself very well and I have a way of letting my mind wander down negative roads, thinking about grass being greener on the other side, so I practice stopping the negativity by thinking (and evidently posting on Facebook) about all I have to be grateful for (try it, it makes a world of difference). So no, I'll never be against thankfulness. But there has never really been space in any of the family gatherings I've been to over the years to go around and say what we're thankful for. Not that I haven't tried to start it up many times over the years. We did successfully use the going-around-the-table thing as a way to tell the family we were expecting Benjamin, with comedic results (read about that here), but that was it.

As a kid we would trade off sides of the family to celebrate with. One year we'd do Thanksgiving with the Rose family and Christmas with the Rayners, and then the following year we'd switch. We ourselves never actually hosted that I can remember, both sides of the family complaining that our distance was just too great. I actually used to dread Thanksgiving... we'd have to get dressed up and be on our absolute best behavior and travel for hours in the car to see aunts and uncles and cousins who we only saw once a year. My first cousins are all either ten years older than me or ten years younger. So my brother and I (twelve months and one week apart) were lost in the middle. And unlike Christmas where everyone gets something to play with and then the adults delight in the childlike behavior that ensues, Thanksgiving was about sitting still and quiet and listening to the same stories told every year while football blasts away loudly on the television. Not being into sports at all, I'd bring a stack of books and sit in a corner and try not to make a nuisance of myself.

Once I went away to college, my parents started hosting Thanksgiving for just our immediate family so I could come home to them. After I got married, I hosted Thanksgiving exactly one time. I'd spent the previous several years as a vegetarian, and getting up at six a.m. to stick my hand in the carcass of a dead bird had me stifling shrieks. I vowed that would be my last bird (and it was, up until about a year ago). I also vowed that I would happily accept any invites that came our way for Thanksgiving, and I would be the great guest who brings a load of sides and helps with the dishes. This has led to many wonderful times sharing a meal with all sorts of people. Last year we spent an amazing Thanksgiving in the Philippines with American friends we knew from back in Hong Kong. Another year we spent it backstage at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, where Michael was working and I brought in a stack of pies to celebrate potluck style with the cast and crew who were all far from family themselves. And there have been plenty of times celebrating with Michael's parents or my parents or my extended Rose family. Working in the entertainment industry means you work so others can play, so we had many years of someone bringing over a plate for us to heat later.

There aren't all that many traditions I hold onto fiercely. I think our nomadic lifestyle prohibits us from doing everything like we've "always done it." Instead, we make up new traditions and hold loosely to others. We make a big deal out of birthdays and always get ice cream when it rains. I kind of hope both of my boys marry into families with loads of traditions going back several generations so they can see what that lifestyle is like. Or maybe not. Because I also hope they can be like we are, forging new traditions and discarding others but holding onto what is important, gratitude for the things we have, and love for the people we get to share life with.

But don't fear, Thanksgiving evangelists! Even though we're in China we're not completely left out of a somewhat slightly traditional holiday-like experience, though not on the same day as everyone back in America. Yesterday (the actual American Thanksgiving), Michael worked very late to prepare for a business trip today. I took Nathan to IKEA for a few things, and then got stuck waiting for nearly an hour in the pouring rain for a taxi home. I beat Michael home by only 30 minutes and called in an order at a local Cantonese restaurant for some Hong Kong/Macau style comfort food. Right as Michael walked through the door, the restaurant called to say they'd run out everything we ordered! Which would have been okay except for the fact that our own cupboards were nearly bare. So, we improvised and baked up a potato in the rarely used microwave, fried all the remaining bacon in our house, and made a huge omelet for dinner. We were all very thankful we didn't have to go out into the pouring rain to find dinner!

Michael returns from his business trip late Saturday night, so on Sunday we'll be cooking up a turkey and pulling out the Christmas tree, decking the halls, and making lots of merry. We'll call that our Thanksgiving just so we don't feel we're completely depriving the children. I could have done without a turkey at all (see paragraph about shrieking over touching dead bird), but the online grocery where I do a lot of shopping had a deal I couldn't pass up. It was only 74 RMB ($12 USD)! I thought that was a great price and I figured we'd get a lot of mileage out of $12 worth of turkey. However, when the turkey was delivered, I was in for a shock... the 74 RMB was actually per kilogram. And friends, I think they saved the biggest bird they had for me because I had to shell out almost $100 USD for that frozen, imported turkey. I'm so thankful I had the cash on hand to pay for it!


I just hope I don't mess it up. That price tag puts a lot of pressure on me to get it right, and it's not like I have all that much experience. Thankful to know I have a husband and at least one child who will eat anything that is put before them! Got any tips? Leave them in the comments! One other thing I'm thankful for is my huge-by-Asian-standards refrigerator and the fact that I have an oven at all! Both are somewhat rare here in a culture that doesn't bake, shops daily for fresh veg, and cooks most meals over a stove top.

Happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends around the world! I'm so thankful for all of you who come here and read this little blog, even the posts like this one which go on and on and on... Have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Maytag Delivery Man


This is not even close to the weirdest thing I've seen on the back of a bike (that would go to the guy who had about 50 tiny cages filled with live, loudly clucking chickens lashed together towering above his head and probably 20-30 dead geese hanging by their feet from the bottom row of cages), but it is typical of what I see every single day here in Shanghai. In fact, there isn't much I haven't seen lashed to a bike!

I feel bad for the guy who delivers the giant 5-gallon bottles of water for the water dispensers. He pedals a trike with a trailer along with 20+ bottles of water, delivering them and picking up the empties. My thighs complain when riding the stationary bike on the lowest setting. The water guy must have thighs of steel.

One of these days I'm just going to go sit on the curb with my camera for an hour and take a photo of everything that comes by on the back of a bike. Amazing and entertaining.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Fuyou Lu Christmas

Today I went with four other gals to the Fuyou Road Small Commodities Market. I've been there a handful of times over the past six months. They have four floors of literally any small thing you could think of in bulk. Buttons? Stickers? Hair bands? Miles of silver and gold chain? Socks? Decorations? They have all that and so much more. I was told that come November, the Market would explode with Christmas. I was told correctly!

Christmas is spilling out of the building into the street! I totally need that chartreuse tree peeking out there, don't I?
It's a crazy place anyway, but toss in the traditional holiday decorations from every country in the world (all made in China of course) and it brings a whole new meaning to decking the halls. I love Christmas. It's my favorite holiday by far. Although if you count my Christmas Eve birthday as a holiday, then maybe they would tie, because I love birthdays too. I love decorating for Christmas and add to our arsenal of magic making supplies each year. Though two years ago I went through and seriously culled a good part of our collection as well. Out with some of the old to make room for the new!

I saw every kind of decoration today, from the cheap and tacky to the more classy. They were all jumbled together though, which made sifting through it all a bit of a task. The ladies I was with had a specific list of things they needed. I was more along for the ride, though I certainly didn't come home empty handed.

If Christmas got a tummy ache and threw up, it would look like this.
 The key to all the markets, whether home goods, fabric, or even food, is to bargain, bargain, bargain. I hate bargaining. Just give me a fair price and wrap it up while I hand you the cash. But no, you have to work for what you want. It's part of the process. Today we found ourselves bargaining down crazy amounts and walking away with really good deals. I got two ten foot long pine garlands for 15 RMB, which is about $2.50 USD. Somewhere in the middle of walking away from something because they were asking 4 RMB (.70 cents USD) and I was only willing to pay 2 RMB (.35 cents USD), I had two thoughts. First, how much does it cost them to manufacture these items? And second, in America I would have found the identical product in Target or Michael's for $5-10 USD, which suddenly looked like highway robbery. Some things are crazy expensive here (imported groceries, electronics, clothing that fits an American frame vs. a tiny Asian one). And some things are dirt cheap. But evidently not cheap enough if I was willing to walk away over .35 cents!

My friends are standing in front of stockings on the wall which would sell in America for $15+.
We got an armful for less than $1 apiece.

We managed to get a 6 foot Christmas tree and 20 strands of LED Christmas lights for 140 RMB. A whopping $23 USD. Happy Christmas Dance shall now commence!
But I guess the difference in shopping for Christmas decorations on Fuyou Road instead of at Target or Macy's or Michael's in America is the old adage of getting what you paid for. The product may be identical to what you just picked up this weekend at the mall, grumbling as you were over the Christmas music blasting through the store before Thanksgiving, but it came in appealing packaging, attractively displayed on a non-rusty shelf. In a nice store with wide aisles and heating (or air conditioning). With a lovely (or grumpy, it happens) salesperson who gets at least the current US minimum wage of $7.25 USD per hour. With bathrooms that aren't just a hole in the ground surrounded by cardboard, where bringing your own toilet paper is a necessity. And actual Christmas music instead of the chorus of men coughing and hawking and spitting and women shouting at the top of their lungs while someone yells at you to get out of the way of the oversized cart they are trying to push down an impossibly tiny aisle.

Good grief. When I lay it out like that, I'm so glad I walked away from paying that extra .35 cents. But now that I've seen what they've got, I'm so going back in. Making up my list, checking it twice, and pushing my way into the masses to bargain aggressively and emerge victoriously with everything necessary to transform our Shanghai flat into the winter wonderland it is crying out to be!

P.S. In Mandarin Chinese, the word for road is lu. My ability to speak coherent English is eroding and blending with the small amount of Mandarin I've absorbed to the point where I messaged a friend in the States that the place they were looking for in California was "on Sepulveda Lu and Hawthorne Lu." They replied "Is that like Skip to my Lu?" And I, completely confused, not realizing what I'd messaged, said, "You can skip if you want, but driving is preferred if you want to get there some time this week." Awesome. But at least that explains why the name of this post is A Fuyou Lu Christmas. I know you were wondering and thought I'd answer before you asked. Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Shanghai Falling

It's been so incredibly cold here over the last couple of weeks. If we go out after dark, it's so cold my teeth hurt and my eyes sting. This does not bode well for the coming winter if it's only November and too cold for my taste. I told Michael our next move needs to be somewhere warm year-round, like the Philippines or Thailand! He threw in "Or Turkey?" Um, no. After a quick check, it snows heavily from November to April and gets well below freezing in winter. It doesn't snow in Shanghai though, so I will cling to that silver lining. Winter in Macau was short. I don't think that will be the case here. After all, we moved here in May and it felt quite chilly for the whole first month.

It doesn't feel like there has really been a fall season here. It went from a few weeks of tolerable tee shirt weather straight to jackets. Not much transitional sweater-but-no-jacket weather. And, as directed by the guards at our complex, I finally put away the flip-flops and pulled on my other favorite choice of footwear, my tartan Doc Marten boots. Of course I adore them to pieces, but it's no fun unlacing and lacing up boots to take them on and off when going in and out of homes here. I may have to find a second-favorite type of winter footwear option that is easier to remove.

The leaves here didn't really change color. A few of them started to, and then a week ago we had a rain storm and a wind storm, and in the morning many trees which typically change color in fall were stripped bare. I still come across the occasional huge leaf on the sidewalk, like this one, which makes my US size 9 feet look absolutely tiny!

My Aussie friends are writing about how they are having lovely spring weather after a long winter, just as we are entering winter here in this hemisphere. Hmmm, maybe we can find some way to spend half the year here and half the year there, and avoid the cold altogether? I'll ponder that a bit while I go dig out the rest of the winter clothes from beneath the bed, swapping them for the tank tops and capri pants currently taking up space in my drawers. Because bare arms and ankles are so last season...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Birthday Abroad

We're halfway through our second loop around the calendar of birthdays spent abroad. I love birthdays and will do anything I can to make them special. Ben had his first Shanghai birthday right after we moved here, so he had no friends yet to celebrate with. If you recall, we did actually run into the one person that he did know, so it was still pretty nice for him. The Krispy Kreme Doughnuts we'd been deprived of for over a year helped too!

Today is my firstborn's 12th birthday. Nathan is the one who changed my name from Heather to Mama. He's a pretty special kid. We celebrated with a weekend of fun. Yesterday we invited half a dozen boys to go to a local Laser Tag place. We rented a van and driver for the day so we could go collect all the kids, take them out to the place, and then bring them back for pizza and cake before taking them all back home again. I miss having my own car. The boys had a blast!

In every photo, all the boys are trying to look tough while Nathan smiles. He knows his smile is his secret weapon!
Thanks for "tagging" along... heh heh

 

After laser tag but before pizza, I caught a photo of the boys in their natural state. Which is to say attached to a game-playing device (in this photo there's a Wii, a DSi, a GameBoy, an iPhone and two iTouches).

I was all ready to order a cake from one of the many bakeries on our street. But Nathan had other plans. He requested a "mom-made lemon cake." I joked with my friends, asking if they knew any moms who wanted to make it! But it's not often Nathan asks for something, so I took it seriously and tried out a couple recipes before settling on a winner (thank you Barefoot Contessa!). It was just what he wanted and I was happy to oblige. I ended up making him two cakes, one for his birthday party yesterday, and one for today, his actual birthday, which we enjoyed over at a friend's house with a gathering of a few families we know from our neighborhood. Lucky boy getting two cakes! Tired Mama baking two cakes (actually, a total of four if you count the samples...).

Cake the first (or #3)
 
Cake the second (or #4)
We ended today with a viewing of Disney's latest animated film, Wreck-It Ralph. Seeing it in 3-D in the theater set us back $75 USD for tickets alone. The pirated DVD is already on the corner for less than $1 USD. It's no wonder that whenever we go to the theater it's nearly empty!
The movie was in English with Chinese subtitles.
For the record, I cried at the end. Very well written!

And finally, one more photo I took of Nathan this morning in his new birthday shirt a friend just brought over from the States. Nat's the one who held out his hand and said, "hey Mom, after you take the photo, can you Photoshop in a big 12?"


Why yes, son. Yes I can. And happy birthday to you, Nathan!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Guarded

The apartment complexes in Shanghai are like little suburbs in the sky. Instead of a sprawling neighborhood, they just go straight up in the air. For instance, our complex takes up an entire block with eight buildings, and each building has between 30 and 42 floors, with two to three flats per floor. That's a lot of people living in a single city block!

Our complex has two entrances, both are heavily guarded. Each building also has a guard around the clock who sits at a desk in the lobby. When we moved in, all the guards were pretty grim faced. That's their job, I suppose. I mean, they aren't there to serve as ambassadors for unauthorized people to go strolling around the grounds. I, however, am an ambassador. An ambassador of the expat community. So I've made it my job to make sure to pause, look every single guard in the eye, smile a dazzling smile and give each of them a cheery ni hao (hello) each time I pass one of them.

At first, the guards would just grunt at me. But after a month of persistence (or typical Heather-style stubbornness), I broke their gruff demeanor and now I get a huge smile, a cheery ni hao back, and many times, a salute! I cannot tell you how much this lifts my day, especially when the person walking in or out of the gate behind me gets the standard grim-faced grunt.

I knew I'd made a big impression on the guards when last week a friend of ours from Macau (we've had a lot of guests from Macau in the last two weeks! Hooray!) was in town and wanted to stop by to take me to lunch. She had my address but not my building or apartment number. When she approached the guards at the entrance of the complex, she explained her predicament (in Chinese) and told them her friend had red hair. She says they lit up like Christmas trees and pointed her to my building. She told the lobby guard the same thing, and he actually escorted her to the lift and punched in the code for my floor. I think it helps that my hair is really, really red right now. See here:


So I stand out just a wee bit more than the average expat in Shanghai, and certainly more than anyone else in my complex. Although I hope it isn't just the red hair but the friendliness I try to convey that makes me memorable! I know they care, because today I went out to the corner to meet a friend for coffee. I was all nice and bundled up against the 53F/12c chill except for my feet, which were in my usual flip-flops (You can take the girl out of Southern California, but you can't take the Southern California out of the girl). Did I get scolded by every single one of my guards? Yes. Yes, I did. Nice to know they guard our safety right along with my health and well being!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Macau Fringe Festival presents Anni Ha

Hello readers in Macau!

May I quickly draw your attention to an event about to take place in your area? The Macau Fringe Festival takes place at various locations throughout the city during the month of November. You can see the full line-up here. But what I really want to draw your attention to is one particular act, called The Other Ex-Pat. This is a one woman show put on by the incredibly talented Aussie actress Anni Ha.

Anni, like myself, is living abroad because of her husband's job. They were newlyweds when they moved to Macau, and Anni has really dug into the expat community. One story she heard over and over again was that of the accompanying spouse and the search for an identity in this role. Many accompanying spouses have left full-fledged careers behind, putting their partner's trajectory above their own, resulting in a transitional period of figuring out just who they are in a new country, with new friends, new expectations, and new challenges. This story, heard over and over again, coupled with Anni's own experience, was the inspiration for writing The Other Ex-Pat.


From the website description:
Leah is an engineer, or at least she was until her husband’s work moved them to Macau and she couldn’t find a job. As time went on every label –engineer, career woman, social butterfly – was stripped away and the question “who am I?” became unavoidable. With no external labels to define her, she had to look beyond the labels and begin to know the person underneath. Now, after he is unexpectedly dismissed and they are forced to move again, she sorts through the mess of packing to try to define the woman she has become through the lessons learnt in Macau and to somehow bring that real person into the new journey.
 
There are two performances, Friday November 16th and Wednesday November 21st, both at 7:30 PM at the The Oriental Club, 568 Avenida Olimpica, Edf Ind. Va Nam, 2/F, Taipa (a block over from Cuppa Coffee). For tickets and information, please go to the website here.
 
I'm personally very sad that we won't be in Macau ourselves to see it. However, we may be the luckiest people in the world as Anni and her husband Luke are actually coming to stay with us in Shanghai this week, and Anni has promised us a sneak peak from the comfort of our very own living room! Don't be jealous! But if you are in Macau the week of the 16th, do go support Anni and accompanying spouses the world over!