Repatriating from China – Food & Dining

It’s July and I’ve been living in Boston since I moved back from China at the end of 2013. A LOT has happened over the course of half a year back in America and I thought it was time to check in with AL.ME to recap what’s happened and the hidden challenges of my repat experience. Enjoy installment #3!


pizza at posto
A new regular – an old favorite

I’ve gained a noticeable amount of weight since I got back and from the expected causes – America’s bread and butter issue. My identity has returned to being American, rather than a pseudo-Chinese or something else, and therefore find myself uncontrollably attracted to coffee and sandwich culture. Most mornings I’m drinking coffee with a bagel. Lunches are often sandwich-based, like a subway or a wrap. My dinners are becoming simpler, although I do attempt to make Asian dishes on occasion (toufu, pan-fried cabbage, spicy shrimp salad, etc.). Work keeps my entire weekdays busy and I normally cook for one, which makes convenient meals and snacking much more common.

As for dining out, I find that every meal is either pizza, hamburgers, or a steak. Just the other day I had dinner with my brother, sister-in-law, and father. I happily pushed down a plate of mac and cheese with pulled pork drizzled on it. My only vegetable that night – a fried pickle with ranch dressing.

This is not meant to be an attack on American faire, or on the food choices of my loved ones. After all, no one forced me to order the mac ‘n cheese. It was my choice, I know. But now that I’ve been here for a solid half year and slid into new habits, I can’t help but observe these changes in the way I eat. I probably would ignore it a bit longer if my pants were buttoning up properly… Half of the pants I wore in China are too tight now. *ugh*

As you can see throughout AL.ME, compared to the food choices I made as an expatriate in China, the way I’m eating now is practically night and day. I drink less tea (but I’m working on that), I eat rice about once per week (compared with daily in China), and my vegetable intake is no where near the same. Hopefully, when my life settles back down again, my diet will be able to return to my previous “normal,” but I doubt it will ever be the same as before. That’s just the reality of life as a repat.

READ More about repatriating from China in articles about Renting & Moving and Job Hunting as a Repat.