I have been busy the last few days getting prepared to move out of my current apartment (15 square-meters in Paris. No comment). So don’t talk to me about housework. But now, it’s very zen and has quite a nice echo (of which my neighbors are really fond of).
The positive thing is that I had plenty of time to think about China, what my expectations and apprehensions are and so on. I wanted to write them down, foolish or naive as they are, and have a look at them after some time in China and living the real thing.
Going there and the very first days
- The plane is booked, my boss will pick me up at the airport, I have an apartment (#408, death and fortune, a “Get rich or die trying” presage?), so no worries there. As usual, until I set foot on the plane, stress will build up (I don’t really care about many things that can happen to me but fear of missing a train/bus/plane/appointment is a near heart-attack issue for me)
- The Z visa (work visa): still haven’t received it. All needed paperwork is either in the hand of the visa assistant or between China and France. If everything is going according to plan (hmm!), I should have it by next thursday.
- Another visa issue: once in China, I’ll have to change the visa to a multi-entry one and I expect it to cause the same amount of paperwork as for the first one. And this time, I will have to go to Guangzhou (about 3 hours by bus) for the medical exams, form filling, …
- Then, getting used to the new apartment (about 120 square meters. I intend to sleep in the bathroom at first to get used to all this space, more than my last three apartment combined) and the neighborhood, how to come and go, what is there around. For this last part, I can’t use Google Maps (and Bing is even worst): it can’t parse the address I have, the resolution is awful, even compared with the most remote part of France, and there is no Street View. I will have to learn everything a l’ancienne.
- Don’t know what to expect there. Totally unknown
- I read many things about guanxi and face and I must admit I’m eager to experience it. Strangely, all the “face” thing doesn’t seem this far from the way I was bred so I’m not this scared about it. Maybe I should.
- In some way, I fear the expat community there (about 30 French, other nationalities unknown), fear to stay in a kind of french nucleus surrounded by Chinese. I don’t want to become, by convenience, what I hate in France. I don’t mean throwing away French people but this is not Paris and only meeting and socializing with expats in a clear no to me.
- I will work in a newly built workshop (even though the Vincente typhoon un-built part of it) for a company starting from about scratch in China so many work to be done there.
- It’s a new work, new responsibilities for me and clearly a promotion. I hope to be up to it.
- I have worked on projects with Chinese and for a Chinese customer in a former job but never faced them a day to day basis and from what I read, the Chinese way of management is really different from what I know. On the other side, being quite new to management, I can only learn from this experience and haven’t many habits that would need rethinking.
For those who move to another country, do these seem legit? And for those who are or spent some time in China, what would you say?