Sunday, 30 November 2008

Shanghai surprise

My sister has some hard decisions ahead of her over the next few weeks (although I think in truth the decisions have already been made and it is more about living with them). About a year ago she became re-acquainted with a former flame and the romance has re-bloomed. Jon is now a divorced father of two, who has his children every other weekend and has a successful career in sales. There-in lies the difficulty. Supporting two children is expensive and making a living in sales over the next couple of years in Europe is going to be difficult.

After he parted company from my sister 14 years ago Jon traveled quite widely throughout Asia and hence when his company saw an opportunity for developing a new market in China I think his name was top of the list. As the year has progressed what started as a romantic dream has moved towards reality and slowly the potential problems have been weighed up and now he is seriously contemplating taking a two year job in Shanghai. The implications for my sister are that she either goes with him or faces the end of the relationship and as they both seem quite happy at the moment the latter has not been an option for either of them. So, as it stands Jon will most probably go out to Shanghai in January followed by my sister a little while afterwards, once they have sorted out their respective affairs here. For my sister it means giving up her job, her way of life, her friends and her contact with her family and starting anew in a new country, where her role will be primarily that of supporting her partner until she can find a niche for herself there. During trips home she will no doubt be involved with collecting and caring for Jon's children as well as trying to look after their respective UK homes and somehow try to fit in her family commitments; especially to my mother, who has become quite dependent on her since she moved. Whilst I can see that this could be a great experience for her to see a different culture and to travel I think that it is quite a lot to ask of someone who has never lived outside of Middlesex and still has the same group of friends that she went to school with. When talking about it, she gives it an up-beat and positive spin but I know her well enough to see that underneath she is quite worried.

So when she announced to all of us that she and Jon were getting married next year as well, we did not automatically respond with messages of congratulations and great joy, our concerns at the trade off that she has had to make between being with someone that she loves and giving up everything else that she knows perhaps being paramount in our minds.

1 comment:

Michael House said...

That will be a huge upheaval for your sister, but then, I never thought you would move out of London and now you are off to live in France. I'm sure your sister will be equally resourceful, but it must be daunting. You will have another place to visit...