Conquering Chicago together

When my husband was admitted to his MBA program and I was given the option to join him in Chicago, I jumped at the opportunity. Partly because I was quite sick of my job and needed a sabbatical,partly also cos I had a great experience living in USA previously and wanted to relive the experience. Of course, being together with him while he embarks on a crucial and new phase of life is another important reason.

It never occurred to me then that my presence is crucial as a source of support to him, but now, after experiencing the restarting of our lives, the culture shock etc, I finally understand that there is actually no other alternative, that I MUST come to Chicago with him. Originally I still harbored thoughts of me joining him for only a year, but now if I were to execute this plan, it would border on being cruel I think.

What most people might not know is that being in an MBA program is a bit like being in a battlefield, especially if you are recruiting for jobs with low supply. The minute school starts, you are starting the competition with your fellow classmates who are recruiting for the same internship as you. And given that the MBA program is so expensive, you can’t afford to fail or to end up with no job offer.You are competing with the elites from the rest of USA and they already have an advantage over you just for being American.

Hence it is incredibly stressful and could be a lonely process. Lonely cos your fellow peers, who could be pally and smiley with you, are also your rivals. I guess in such an environment, it is hard to find a real friend, and I don’t believe anyone truly has the intention to find a friend anyway.

As for me, his presence also acts as a source of support for me. Cos unlike him, I do not have the ready-made circle of friends that comes with entering a school. Therefore I have to start everything from scratch, be it finding stuff to occupy myself or seeking out friends(from don’t where).

A lot of people like to say that they are envious of me for having the opportunity to come to USA and so called be a tai-tai. Well, I don’t deny that it is a rare chance and could be a good opportunity for self-discovery, but then again if you are not the very independent sort, it could also end up being a lonely process for you, because you are alone most of the time when your husband goes on his “battlefield” everyday.

In this sense, I feel quite fortunate that I have always been quite independent or rather antisocial. I might be alone but I don’t feel lonely generally.

Both of us are alone most of the time, each fighting our own battles: me trying to do work/attend classes/find friends, while he attends his school and tries to make his mark. But thankfully we have each other, and hopefully we could conquer Chicago together:)