The first thing my interpreter told me when my husband and I arrived to GuangZhou, China with a 4-year old boy was the fact that I should organize my schedule to visit the various international schools that were in the neighborhood. Back in 2009-2010, Tian-He district was a hot location for expats from all countries and we ended up there, as well. It was the only “safe” move we decided to make taking into account that, to begin with, we didn’t arrive to that country like most expats do – Neither of us were transferred by our companies; considering we were both self employed, those decisions rested purely on our shoulders. But we didn’t want not to take risks; we didn’t want the international school for my son. We wanted the full-on cultural experience, with all its ups and downs; we wanted to live all the things that were out there to love and hate.
While savoring a deliciously juicy hamburger during a nice Southern Utah afternoon my husband turned to me and explained how the real estate market was already crashing; nobody was buying so the only thing he could do was keep on accumulating properties until the economy turned around. OR, he could go to China to try to talk to some real estate investors that could be interested in acquiring properties in the U.S. Seemed logical. We understood the market and we thought we had a pretty decent grasp of Asian culture (as if studying for a M.A. in Global Studies would prepare me for it!) The million-dollar question was whether for him to go by himself for extended period of times in order to cultivate and strengthen the relationships he would create along the way or if both my son and I should go with him. It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made; a year in China would most definitely enrich my graduate studies and would give my son a sense of diversity – something we weren’t achieving by living in Southern Utah -.
In a 2-month span I became a U.S. citizen, got my U.S. passport, our business visas, sold EVERYTHING we owned, packed 2 bags each, and booked 3 tickets to Shanghai. I know how it feels to be an expat in a foreign land. Crazed by all the new things that will be discovered and the people you will meet. The angst of the unknown that consumes your thoughts until the situation is no longer unfamiliar. Add to that the fact that I had a 4-year old under our care and all these feelings of anxiety and excitement truly test your sanity. Jenny Feldon, author of Karma Gone Bad was able to put these feelings down in writing in such a precise way that allowed me to live once again my own experiences page after page.
As I told Jenny Feldon via Twitter, I hated her and loved her.
I hated her for hating everything and everybody during the 1st part of her stay. This was a woman, a yogini, who was giving the incredible opportunity of spending some time in India and didn’t even bother to visit a yoga center. This was a woman who the only positive things she had to say about her own environment were told during her visits to the food store where she could find some “delicatessens” from back home. This was a woman who spent 6 months or so staring at the ceiling, literally. What a waste! I despised Jenny for all this and more. She ended up leaving India and going back home for a while. Eventually, when she realizes that her entire life is crumbling down in front of her eyes, she actually puts herself together and goes back to India to finish what she committed to do months before her break down.
The “renewed” Jenny was a delight. I loved every single decision and endeavor she pursued. She even decided to tackle the language! And, what I loved the most, is the fact that she understood she had to stop being so full of herself and actually went out there and did something for kids in need, she did something for somebody else besides herself. It is difficult to believe that a person can change so radically in such a short time but, when life tests us, most of us usually step up to the challenge… it’s human nature. Even when the beginning of the path appears to be quite precipitous.
A simple book that could touch many hearts, raising confronted feelings. I hated and loved Jenny Feldon through her writing mainly because she reminded me I hated and loved myself when I was put out there to live a similar experience. She put in writing all that I was never able to do and for that I’m grateful to have discovered Karma Gone Bad.
“[W]hen you can only accept life the way you’ve always known it, when you fight back against every deviation from ‘normal,’ your mind is closed.” - Jenny Feldon, Karma Gone Bad
* Read more about my yoga journey at AccidentalYogini.com.
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