All you hipsters out there are familiar with #whitepeopleproblems.* Those who are arguably less hip…essentially, white people problems are non-problems. From Urban Dictionary:

a. Events or situations which are deemed overly taxing to only white people.b. non-issues and scenarios which are deemed dire enough by white people to vent about via facebook, twitter, therapy sessions, and any other time they may have someone else’s brief attention.

Example: My god. I have had the longest day of meetings and phone calls. It’s 4pm and it took the Baristas – Who KNOW I come in at this time every afternoon – 10 minutes to make my triple machiatto with extra dry foam…. And honestly, the foam wasn’t even that dry.

Some people are really good at noting “white people problems.” Others, I think, need to hear from someone else that perhaps, their problems aren’t so dire. It’s easy to see when others are complaining about “white people problems.” But sometimes, I think, when you are guilty of doing so, you need others to point it out to you (kind of like chewing loudly or talking through movies). I don’t do that…do I?

So I’ve been having one of those weeks. Luckily, I am so self-aware, that I can see the ridiculousness of my distress. I call them “expat problems” and they are as follows:

1. My Ayi is really loud when she makes our dinner. I mean, do you really need to chop vegetables like a sledgehammer chops asphalt? And what’s with the slamming pots and pans? Is that, like, a Chinese thing? You’re going to be sorry when the kids wake up crying from their naps too early and you have to go comfort them.

2. She’s always vacuuming right where I happen to be. Are you trying to make me feel bad for trying to relax? I work hard to pay you good money to do my cleaning. Well, I mean, my husband does but it’s really “our” money. And hey, I work hard too, playing with my kids. And sometimes, I want to put my feet down. It helps me to stay grounded.

3. The delivery guys – who bring me fresh, clean drinking water, wine, my fancy, imported, organic groceries – get all bent out of shape when I don’t have small bills. I’m sorry but I happen to carry a lot of 100 RMB bills. It’s all the ATM dispenses. You deliver goods and deal with cash transactions all day. How am I the bad guy for not having the right change? Isn’t this, like, your job? Ugh.

4. The playground was still wet, HOURS (at least one, maybe) after the rain stopped the other day. Where was the crew that makes sure the grounds are clean and dry for my little angels? Isn’t this where part of my rent goes? Stop hosing down the wet pavement get over to the playground. (Seriously, they hose down the pavement when it’s raining. We can’t figure this one out but it happens every time.)

5. The internet? OMG. Don’t even get me started. SOOOOOO annoying! It’s soooooooo slow. I can barely check my email, let alone stream my fave shows on Netflix. And this whole business with the internet police makes my life unspeakably difficult. There are days and days that go by that I can’t check Facebook and can’t update my blog. I spend countless minutes trying to upload pictures only to be bounced off the internet when I’m 80% there. Who knows how many, “dear so and so, I hope I get a lot of ‘likes’ with my faux funny letter,” status updates I’ve missed because someone in cyberspace is monitoring my bizness. If you’ve posted something fabulous and I have neglected to “like” it or retweet it, now you know why.

6. I was trying to find kids’ beach hats for our vacation and NO ONE at the store spoke English or could understand what I needed. Not a baseball cap. Not a snow hat. Not a visor. Look at this pale, white, red headed baby. You expect him to last 10 minutes in the gorgeous, hot, Balinese sun? How does no one here speak English?!?! Everyone in the world speaks English. It’s like, so easy.

7. We have to take a connecting flight to get to Bali next week! Really? No direct flights to one of the premiere vacation destinations in the world? I just don’t get it. SUCH an inconvenience. Thank GOD, a Mercedes SUV will be waiting to whisk us away to our luxury resort when we land.

So. Dear China, Although you sometimes give me serious cause to pause, what with your air pollution and dead pigs clogging the river ways, you also make me realize that expat problems are good problems to have. And please don’t ban me from the internet for saying so. K? Thnx! 🙂

(But seriously, no post next week…off to Bali!)

*For my senior citizen followers unfamiliar with hash tags, you can read up about them here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashtag

4 thoughts on “#Expatproblems”

  1. My wife and I have been expats for almost a year, 6 months in Ireland and now the Netherlands. I can sympathize with having #expatproblems (are you on twitter? they’re account, @ExpatProblems_ is full of RTs from fellow expats) When things go wrong for us we call them “fail days.” Isn’t it awesome how when something so small like successfully using a bank card in your new country makes you feel like you’re on top of the world?


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