Sunday, June 12, 2005

Day 4 - Meeting American "Ex-Patriots"

This next post will be difficult to create because there were so many days and so many experiences that encompassed this entry. After arriving in China on Thursday evening, the next day I took a trip to the local Rabbi for Shabbos and Shavuous.

When I entered the office, there was a guy working on printing a brochure for the upcoming holiday. I was surprised to hear him refer to himself as an “ex-pat,” slang for an ex-patriot, or one whose family is an a citizen of one country, but who works, lives, and who raises his family in another country. China is full of these kinds of families, as it has been explained to me. The children of these families grow up speaking multiple languages. The teenager I was speaking to spoke Chinese and English, and I thought it was very cute that the Rabbi’s youngest daughter spoke Yiddish, Chinese, Hebrew, and English as her first language.

I found it mesmerizing how most of these people came to China after college or law school because they enjoyed the culture, specifically how China is so much more value-oriented than the high-powered rat-race you’ll find in the United States. I made many connections with many attorneys who were practicing international IP law in China. It seems like I am in the right field.

An interesting occurrence was that at one of the dinners, one of the many guests (there were over sixty) was speaking to this guy from the office. He cracked a joke which in my opinion had truth to it. This guy was “the Napster” kind of techie that you would find in the modern-day computer-hacker kind of movies. He said, “I’m going to go for my MBA in the fall, then I will ask you for a job.” The funny truth to that statement is that the fathers of these ex-pats are the CFO’s and high powered executives of the international branches of companies such as IBM, Intel, and Microsoft. It makes sense that the education and upbringing of these children would naturally lead them to themselves be the next generation of executives. This is the life that they live. I found this to be fascinating.


Rowan said...

Sounds fascinating! Although I've never had any interest in going to China myself, my mother in law (who has been to MANY countries) loved China the most of all! Maybe this country has a future for you? Perhaps it will be easier to find a wife if ideals are different than in North America?

Zoe Strickman said...

You know, the longer I am here, the more I think there is a future, and the less I think there is a future. With all the pollution and the problems with the food and the water, it can lose its charm rather quickly.

Nevertheless, I do like the time zone difference, but it is starting to get lonely on this side of the planet.

Rowan said...

Incidentally, what is the timezone difference?