Reinventing myself- again

Great resource for expat partners that need to reinvent themselves when moving abroad. See

Great resource for expat partners that need to reinvent themselves when moving abroad. See

The clock is ticking. Nine weeks until the arrival of Beijing baby number 2. And 4,5 months until DB-Day, Departing Beijing Day. Mr Copat’s contract ended a while back, and we will be relocating to a tropical oily backwater after the birth. One person told me she already said goodbye to me mentally.But I’m not ready for departure yet.

Instead, I’ve made a few new friends here in the past week. A welcome change given that all my old friends have either left Beijing or are on holiday for the summer. One is even my new blog buddy! Hence this post. Thanks A Cuppa Ti!

Of course, the upcoming move brings lots of advantages. Clean air! Summer clothes only! Our own pool! But it also means saying goodbye to a beloved city with its myriad opportunities and discoveries, dear friends and special memories- starting my motherhood journey first and foremost. And quitting my job, again.

It is time to reinvent myself- again. In order to prepare for my move, I’ve recently embarked on a coaching journey. To become a professional coach myself that is to say. More about that later. The upcoming move has also made me look back at how I prepared for this move. Here’s some resources that may help you prepare for restarting your career abroad:

  • Career in my Suitcase- Jo Parfitt: this book helped me tremendously 3 years ago, when I was preparing to move to Beijing. Rather than looking at what you are losing, it makes you explore the opportunities that you have, making use of your strengths to create a portable career. I am planning time to re-do some of the exercises before departing.
  • A Portable Identity- Debra Bryson and Charice Hoge. If you have never lost a job before, you may be totally unprepared for the negative emotions that will come up when you move abroad without a job. How do you define yourself when you do not have a (paid) job? This book may help you find an answer.
  • Talk to people who have done this before- This can be really insightful. Through volunteering with my husband’s company, I had the opportunity to interview inspiring women (and the occasional man) who had been expat partners for years. They did not sit around drinking coffee and moan about the air pollution. They started new universities, did PhD’s, wrote books, were volunteer museum guides, became successful photographers or yoga teachers. One Mum in my baby group recently opened Little Oasis, a fantastic family club, right here in Beijing. Allow yourself to get inspired.

I held myself back in my professional development some time because of the idea of my lack of work permit in Beijing, rather than the actual situation which is that there are always things to do, wherever you are. Don’t be put off by your official status, many new opportunities may present themselves. Perhaps unpaid, perhaps on a different path than you trained in. It may be hard work, but you can make it happen. And don’t overlook the fact that not working means getting to spend more time with your family. Because that is one thing that my coaching journey reminded me of: the importance of my loved ones ♥



Pregnant in Beijing, now what?

Beijing has good hospitals, no need to worry about giving birth here.

Living in Beijing and want to get pregnant? Or think you’re pregnant already? Here’s six steps to take when your embarking on the baby rollercoaster.

1)      Check your insurance. Not very romantic but unfortunately necessary. This is something I only found out after moving here: many international health care providers do not cover pregnancy related costs for the first 10 months after you’ve  joined the insurance plan. It is also wise to check the amount covered and whether you have to make any personal contributions, as prices in Beijing hospitals vary enormously. And check whether you need any pre-approval for hospital visits from you insurance company too.

2)      Take your temp: If you’re not pregnant yet, but would like to be, the local pharmacies also sell special “baby thermometers” which indicate two numbers after the comma and you can use them to find out when you are ovulating. If you’re experiencing trouble with your period after stopping birth control pills, look into acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment, as they may be of help in regulating them. Also, start taking folic acid pills.

3)      Buy a pregnancy test at the local pharmacy (Chinese name). or rather, buy two in case you do not believe the first one.

4)      Find a hospital: Positive test? Make an appointment with a doctor in a hospital covered by your insurance plan. A good list of hospitals and costs can be found in the Beijing Kids October 2012 issue. The most popular but unfortunately also most expensive for Beijing expats are Beijing Family United Hospital and Amcare.

5)      Stock up on pregnancy multivitamins. Your doctor can give you a prescription, but should you have any friends of family visiting by coincidence (or expat friends travelling back home), you can also ask them to bring a supply for you. Also see this article with healthy eating tips.

6)      Join an e-group such as Beijing Mama’s for more information and tips on where to get what for kids in Beijing, as well as playgroup information etc. Also check  Beijing Kids for a list of shops.

The kind people at Beijing Kids have 10 more tips, check them out here.