Friday, June 29, 2012


As I sit watching Wimbledon it never amazes me that wherever you are in the world there are always things that draw you back home. I was however thankful Andy Murray did it in four sets, three would have been better, but as it was almost 1-00am when it finished I think I did well. Another set would have seen me asleep on the sofa! However if he does make it all the way I will sit up until whenever in the hope of seeing a Scot lift the title. Go on Andy.

Mostly it will be of a sporting nature that makes you think of home, what man won't sit up into the wee small hours, watching football, or be tempted to watch F1 as it runs well into the middle of the night. Of course the odd jubilee or Royal Wedding will also do the trick. Even, if when at home you wouldn't watch, there is something which draws you in. A bit of the familiar, a feeling of not being so far away I guess.

Last week I found myself celebrating Ladies Day at Ascot here in Shanghai. Not a horse in sight, but plenty of hats on show. I was lucky enough to win prize for best hat. I knew fascinators were a no no this year so went with the regulatory hat. It was cobbled together from a very old hat and some feather boas removed the night before from some lamps, and stuck on to the hat. Can't believe I've caught myself thinking about next year's hat. You get sucked in.

The day consisted of Champagne and lunch. It was held on a restaurant roof terrace, and looking back across the river I was able to see my apartment, well the building at least.

All the ladies looked amazing and we had a fun day in the beautiful sunshine. I believe the weather did not shine on Ascot itself, so maybe here was the better option. 

So the Olympics will be the next big sporting occasion when people will gather here to cheer on any Brits who can bring home a medal. Although there will be plenty of gatherings before then I'm sure. I'm not so sure the sport is the real reason for the get togethers, but it is a good excuse, if one is needed.

 To get together with people who are experiencing the same things as yourself, people who understand how life really is here is a real bonus. Most of the time it's amazing, exciting and challenging, and a lot of fun. But it is nice to have someone to call on for advice or information when despite all your best efforts   you can't solve the problem yourself. There is always someone to call on who knows the best tailor, hairdresser, bakery or whatever it is you need. Invaluable to an expat in a strange and faraway place. I like to think we are all there for each other. 

After three months I am no longer the newbie, there are lots who have arrived since me, and lots gone home, or moved on. I am living in a very changing society, people coming and going, so the support we offer each other is very important to all of us. It is easier for some than for others, fortunately I am finding it easier than had imagined it would be, let's hope that continues.

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