Over the last couple weeks, my Twitter and Facebook feeds have been filled with blog posts proclaiming, “I’m leaving China.” These are mostly from long-term expats, not the English teachers who stick around for a year or two and move on.
Other expats have expressed a mixture of disappointment and anger at these posts. Some are upset to see friends and acquaintances leave the Middle Kingdom. And others are just angry at the seemingly self-indulgent posts that vaguely state reasons for the departure without actually providing any interesting details. There are also jokes about all the expats leaving–yes, this is apparently a trend. There’s even a parody post on how to write an “I’m leaving China” post.
I thought this would be a perfect time for me to state that I left China before it was cool to leave China.
That’s right, I was the trend setter here for all those departing hipsters. I left back in 2009. I got the idea from thousands of expats who left before me, but who weren’t cool enough to blog about it (or maybe they left before every expat in China had a blog). Of course, when I left China, I didn’t write a long post about my reasoning–I also didn’t say, “So long and thanks for all the
fish dumplings.” I did have a going away party that included a 14-lb. roast lamb, beer, and foot massages.
My favorite leaving China post is Unbrave Girl’s Dear John letter to China. Much more entertaining that than the mostly dry posts from the long-time expats with Chinese business interests.
Update: Even The New York Times picked up on this trend: Heading for the Exits in China. (Thanks to Unbrave Girl once again for this.)