mental travels of a Chinese-American Hijabi from Arizona.
When I told people I was moving to China, and their jaws dropped, I internally shook my head from what I thought was an overreaction.
After all, I thought, I’ve lived in Nanjing to some degree for about a cumulative year.
And I had relatives, a job and a husband. What more could I ask for? I was used to the weather, the culture (mostly — off days result in a lot of unhappy sniffling in a corner), the people and the job.
But at 22 years old, no summer-camp-esque experience to jet-start me into meeting new people, I have discovered that I am entirely reliant on my husband and relatives to introduce me to new people.
And although I truly appreciate all the help, somehow I feel a lack of autonomy in choosing with whom I’d like to befriend and get to know.
It reminds me a little of when my mom once told me,
"Once you get married, your friends life will disappear. You either become friends with your husband’s friends, or you husband will become friends with your friends’ husbands. That, or a mix of both. And it’s a miracle if you ever find the perfect couple match for both of you."
And to some extent, what with jettisoning off halfway across the world, I’m beginning to find that a little true.
OK — a LOT true.
I’ve been in Nanjing for 10 days or so now, and I’ve met some new people. But entirely through my husband. And it breaks my heart because I know he’s trying hard to ease me into his lifestyle and his friends.
But as an introvert (and particularly so, as I’m feeling fairly displaced with this realization of a lack of friends), I get wiped out very easily and particularly so with making sure I act correctly within the associated cultural nuances.
When it comes down to it, I get along with them, I enjoy their presence and their conversation. But somehow, something key is just missing.
And even though, knowing myself, I much prefer simply being home and sleeping, reading or thinking to myself, I also know that I need a few English-speaking friends that I’ve made in my own time, in my own terms, in my own awkward way, to feel fully at home back here in Nanjing.
It’s not to say that I don’t like and enjoy my husband’s friends on their own, but somehow it’s just not the same as finding someone I like within my own context.
Once I start working. InshaAllah.@2 months ago with 4 notes