Surmonter les difficultés, on peut y arriver seul ou pas. N’hésitez pas à parler de vos difficultés, cela pourra aussi libérer la parole à d’autres personnes tout autant en difficulté.
From: Canterbury, UK
In Shanghai: Nine months
Family: Three boys aged 17, 15 and 13
When the excitable Rose Osborne laughs, she raises her hands and sometimes her feet into a full body chuckle. She’s been in Shanghai for nine months, having moved from a small town close to Kent, and seems to take a voracious joy out of everything around her. “I love city life!” she enthuses. “It’s vibrant and beautiful, even the smell of warm sewage and diesel fumes and the washing hanging off wires outdoors… there is a never ending list of things to do and see.”
She wasn’t sure what would happen in Shanghai, and nor were her three teenage boys, but it had to be better than where they were. Her husband, along with 2,500 other people in town, lost his job when Pfizer closed down its research and development facility in Sandwich. With few choices in England, her husband accepted a position in a smaller pharmacuetical company based in Shanghai. Rose left her small event planning business, pulled up roots and followed.
“I had to redefine my role in the household and redefine my own goals and aspirations,” she says. “Coming here, I gave up the independence of an income, decades-long friendships and local knowledge. To release control is exceptionally difficult and it takes a huge leap of faith to follow someone to a different country, especially as one as diverse and different and so far from home as China.”
Rose is also keen to make the point that her family is not on the full expat package many seem to assume, as her husband came as a new starter to the company rather than a corporate transfer. They lack a driver, pay half the school fees, contribute to the rent and pay their own bills. They definitely didn’t get any cultural training.
“Look I’m not whinging,” laughs Rose. “It does annoy me that people assume I have a driver and endless cash to spend on pedicures and trinkets. I think that as the economies in the world retract, that amazing all-inclusive expat packages will be harder to get and Westerners may arrive with jobs and families but be a bit more strapped for cash like we are.”
This also means that Rose’s main job right now is keeping her family happy, as the happier her children and husband are, the happier her life is. “The last thing my husband wants to do after a hellish day at work is come home to a miserable family and a stressed-out missus,” she says. “Sometimes it’s bloody hard to smile and listen all about his crap day but he’s the breadwinner and the finance director in the relationship, so you have to bite your tongue and support him. In reality I rant and rave and bloody moan, but faced with a jobless husband in England or a stressed, needy one here in Shanghai, then here wins.”
Rose seems more than up to the challenges of her day to day life, and it’s not entirely selfless. “It’s all about supporting the lifestyle. If I can keep him happy, it means that I can stay here, and this is the best time I’ve had for a very long while. In England, I would be under a lot more pressure to work. It’s great here because I can always say, ‘Oh, I’m not sure I can get a work permit.’”