And so the Shanghai adventure is at an end. After many weeks of uncertainty, we have packed up, shipped out and are now enjoying the quintessential Tai-Tai experience, Summering.
Summering is what a large percentage of the expat population do just before the mercury hits that point where even your knees are sweating and blinking feels like an effort. It usually takes place in your country of origin and, if timed correctly, allows you to conveniently forget that large parts of Asia are very unpleasant indeed in 40 degree heat. The downside is that, depending on where you are from, you may need to spend your summer in a particularly tedious part of the world simply to avoid heat stroke.
As we are fortunate in the locations afforded us by virtue of knowing lovely people with lovely houses we shall be variously visiting Wales, Cheshire, Bedfordshire and a number of the nicer Home Counties, not to mention lovely, crazy Olympic London. Baby Tai-Tai is very much looking forward to chewing on his Wenlock stuffed figurine and Mr T-T, to watching the Women’s Hockey final or something equally thrilling (damn you, ticket lottery).
For now, however, we are idling in Northern France and I can honestly say that the contrast between here and Shanghai could not be more stark. From dangerous air particles to the faint waft of cow muck on the breeze, from skyscrapers to stone farmhouses, from crazy lunatics hurtling along behind the wheel of clapped out old wrecks to… oh, hang on a minute…
You get the picture. Mr T-T in particular has received so much oxygen to the brain that he is completely unable to remain awake for longer than a couple of hours at a time (although this could be down to the 4 course lunches and Calvados tots with elderly neighbours).
In due course we will undoubtedly get itchy feet (not just due to trench foot in a Northern European summer I hope) and we will be glad to hop on a plane back to our much-missed Hong Kong. However for now, the prospect of fresh air, friends and family to catch up with, and even overpriced Olympic mascots to buy (£23? Really??) is enough to keep us content.
Now pass the Camembert.