When You’re All Alone and Far From Home

It’s been almost 2 months since I packed my life up and landed in LA. In this time, I’m not going to lie – it hasn’t been easy. And I think that’s why I haven’t been posting much. I have often found myself stressed, frustrated and demotivated. Don’t get me wrong, I have been blessed beyond belief before, by and since coming here. I just never realised exactly how difficult it would be to settle into a new country.

All of a sudden I can almost understand how first generation immigrants like my parents felt when they up and left China during the latter stage of the economic reform in 1994 and moved to England. Back then, maybe entering and staying in the UK was ever so slightly easier; I can imagine it’s certainly different from here. But at least I already speak the language (more or less, I don’t care what you say – we take out the rubbish bin, put stuff in the boot and drive on the motorway) and we live in the digital era where video calls are just a Skype button away.

Regardless, I now know the loneliness of not knowing many people or having many friends, the anxiety of being in unfamiliar territory, the heartache of having loved ones thousands of miles away and not being able to see them very often and the confusion that comes with culture shock. In a way, that’s a blessing too: another connection we now share – a deep empathy that comes from only having gone through the same experiences and in a way binds us together with greater understanding.

My move was for selfish reasons, but theirs was to make a new and better life for themselves and their children. Especially their children. And now I feel even more grateful for what they have gone through for me.

Not saying I regret coming here or that I’m ungrateful for the opportunity to move by any means. It’s just hard. A couple of days ago we were reminded once again of what happened with the Twin Towers in New York. We’re living post-9/11 and I don’t think U.S. ever tried to make anything easy for anyone wanting to move here, but I can imagine things have only become more difficult since.

However, I thank God that I’ve been blessed with new friends, people who care about me, great people in the shared co-working office space I work at and a loving Church family I’m getting to know slowly week by week.

Some things have happened that I’m not quite ready to share on the blog yet, and there are other things that I’ll have to think long and hard how to write about them, but I will share them all with you eventually, I promise. Opening up about my hardships is really tough. I hate to be a downer and I hate to make you worry. Above all it’s hard for me to be so vulnerable, but I owe you so much more than just fluffy foodporn and photos of the beach.

Thank you all for caring about me, sticking with me and checking in on me. New friends and old, colleagues etc. – thank you all so much. Even just by messaging me a quick ‘hi, how are you?’, depending on how I’m feeling at the time I may not be able to respond straight away but just seeing your message fills my heart with warmth.

Thanks so much for your support. It really keeps me going when all I want to do is just bury myself in a blanket and never leave my room. With that, a small compilation of photos: View Full Post

Counting Blessings

I’ve been terrible with taking photos lately because I’ve been spending as much time as I possibly could enjoying the prescence of friends who have been kind enough to arrange farewell coffees/dinners/drinks with me.

A while back I was stressing so bad about logistics of moving that I hadn’t been able to just enjoy my last few weeks in the UK, but thankfully offers of practical help have been pouring in from Christian brothers & sisters in LA, making everything a lot easier to cope with. I don’t have everything sorted, but I have everything I need.

And when I announced that I was leaving soon, the number of private messages I received from friends wishing me well, arranging to meet etc. was beyond what I had ever dared to hope for.

In the past week, I literally do not remember having a single meal alone. The next sequence of (iPhone) pics & selfies will only offer a faint idea of all the love I’ve been showered with recently, but they will be enough for me to look back and reflect on with fondness forever.

2015-06-28 14.55.30 View Full Post