Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Goodbye Shanghai, Hello DC

It was a tough decision in January to give up my role working on a strategic project in Shanghai with lots of travel and a large expense account for a more "typical" role on a plant leadership team in the States, but it was the right move to make.  I needed to manage people and work in plant operations after having 3 division roles with no direct reports.  I also needed some time away from the complexities of state owned companies and minority-owned joint ventures in China.  The last few months transitioning into the new role have admittedly had their own level of complex and hectic, and have been without the allure of the business travel to the orient, but it is teaching me new things as I get to know a new location:  the DC area.

Moving to a new area has it's usual challenges, but at least I get to live in a metropolitan area on this go-round.  The Pros:  A) Diverse ethnicity offer a wide array of restaurants, pubs and food trucks.  B) It's close enough to drive to NYC, Baltimore, Annapolis, VA, and a slew of other interesting places.  C)  Large airports make for decent travel prices for Soeren and myself and we come and go.  D) Cultural offerings make for more creative date nights then what could be found in my previous location.

The Cons:  A) HIGH cost of living caused me to more than triple the rent I was paying in Michigan.  B) Regulations are particularly strict and costly to do things like register a car, pay taxes, etc.  C) Cameras are everywhere! (Says my three tickets I received in the first 3 months.  Thank goodness they don't include points.)  D) Traffic.

As I've been getting used to living in the States again, the migration of my Beijing friends back to the US has made the process more bearable, knowing that I'm not missing out on as much as I used to!  At least 5 of them have found jobs in the US, started MBA school, etc. and moved on from the China chapter of their lives.  We all do it eventually, either when we've tired of the Chinese culture or have decided that we've had too much fun and need to re-enter the real world to seek out the next life challenge.  Regardless, I know my parents are happy to have me somewhat closer to home, and I am enjoying reconnecting with my friends on this side of the world.  Now...if only I could come to terms with the most terrifying part of this transition: that I will lose my 1K status on United at the end of the year because I don't travel as much as I used to.  Better live it up while I still have it through December 31!

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