Friday, 27 August 2010

Bon Voyage

I guess I should get the apologies out of the way first and ask forgiveness for not posting over the last couple of weeks. I had written a pulitzer winning post about my holiday in Cornwall, only to discover my daughter had deleted it from my iPad - please add a trash bin to the next update Mr Apple! Losing something you have written is like losing a friend or a relative, yes you can remarry, adopt or try DNA cloning, but it never has the same passion, the same emotion or energy. Of course you should always make several copies - but as Dr Johnson said in Blackadder the Third - "Making a copy is like fitting wheels to a tomato, time consuming and completely unnecessary".

I couldn't bring myself to re-write the account of my holiday frustrations and memories of my childhood adventures. Sitting in our lounge overlooking Carbis Bay, St Ives and Godrevy Lighthouse provided inspiration, and conjured up memories of camp site discos, hours on the beach, and glorious moments in penny arcades that the back of a Virgin Atlantic seat simply cant match.

Yes you guessed it my inspiration for this weeks blog is another long haul trip on one of Richard Bransons finest. Although this time my journey is quite different, as I am joined on the 12 hour journey from hell with my family, as we are all moving back to China. When I started this new blog, I had intended not to write about myself or my family, but more about my thoughts, my ignorance and my observations whilst returning to the UK after a 4 year absence. I never expected to be sitting here writing about the move back to a country I thought I had left for good only 12 months earlier.

Of course the move has been on the cards for some time, and discussions started some 6 months ago when I was asked to help spec. a job in China for the Group Purchasing organisation. The resulting job spec. meant that apart from the twin brother I don't have, I was also the ideal candidate, ticking every box I had helped form, led to some heated conversations with both my current boss and the family. I thought I had got the Asian bug out of my system, whilst living there I had lived life to the full and had either encountered, observed or endured all that China could throw at me. My time in Nanjing saw me tasting real China, the frozen winters and the scorching summers with little in-between, the strength and power of people thrown into similar circumstances what it is like to have true friends, and how the desires and ambitions of a few individuals can turn dreams into reality when backed by the power of the state. Shanghai was quite different and introduced me to how destructive the differing desires of the west can destroy a company when clashing with the needs of the East, the extremes of China's super rich vs the super poor, and the worse excesses of expatriates.

For all of these and many, many more the decision to embark on another 3 year secondment to China was not taken lightly, my children are growing older fast, as are their grandparents. The need for an expat posting on my CV had already been achieved, and a further 3 years would only prove to pigeon hole me even further - one recruitment expert I talked with about the move even went as far as saying that I would be virtually unemployable in the UK if I returned after another 3-4 years. My son had found girls entertaining, and my daughter had just got to know her grandparents, we had moved to a village where locals still used the pub, horse riding was a job, and Sunday bikers still hadn't found the surrounding lanes exciting yet.

Perhaps it was unfinished business? I hadn't exactly left on my own terms last time and I knew I could offer more. Maybe it was the opportunity to escape a country which has turned into a cliche of itself, with increasing taxes, unemployment and reality TV shows. Everything I love about the UK has an equally annoying counterpart. Stephen Fry Vs Katie Price, Democracy Vs the Nanny state, Proud vs Yob, Class Vs Tattoos and Nationalism Vs Racism. Of course all countries suffer from the same in varying degrees, however maybe its the small size of the UK that leads to enjoying the beautiful gardens or gallery of a stately home, whilst trying to ignore or endure the tattooed, foul mouthed, frogmela and her broad of equally revolting overweight, uncouth brain dead offspring that leads to the feeling that the country isn't big enough for the both of us! Of course there are many things I equally hate about China - but at least I can put that down to them being foreign!

So here I am, flying towards a new job in an old city, moving back to the same home and the children starting back at a school they left last year. I cant promise that it will be as exciting as previous years, I wouldn't go as far as to say that it will be as adventurous, suprising or entertaining, but I am sure that it will conjure up plenty of material to keep me writing.