Saturday, October 11, 2008

What is your occupation?

A little bit of background on the oft-contemplated name of my blog. Before I dive into that, though, I'd like to answer some questions I think some of you may have upon hearing the name:

  1. This does not mean I'm going to be a housewife forever. (That was mostly for my husband.)
  2. Housewife is used in the most loving way possible. I wear the (possibly temporary) title proudly.
So, how did this witty title come to me? Well, Vin and I went to our local HSBC branch here to open our Hong Kong bank account. (HK Fun Fact #1: HSBC stands for Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corp. It's known here as "Hong Kong Bank.") The very nice Chinese man, whose name was, strangely enough, Caleb was going through all the necessary paperwork and questions to set up our account. "Can I see your passport?" "Would you like an ATM card?"

And then came the doozy: "What's your occupation? Are you working or are you, um, uh... a housewife?"

Looking back I realize there were a few emotive reactions I could've had.

I could've gotten indignant -- "No, I'm not merely a housewife. I just finished up a decade-long career in Public Relations in New York City and handled the careers and campaigns of people like Prince and Michael Jackson, not to mention blue-chip brands like Coca-Cola."

I could've started crying.

I could've stared at him blankly and made Vin answer the question for me.

Instead, I started laughing. Uncontrollably, maniacally laughing. Caleb must've thought I was crazy. Then I said, "Um, yeah, I guess you can put me down as a housewife." (Hong Kong Fun Fact #2: If we were really wealthy, I'd be called a Tai-Tai. Alas we are not there...yet, so I'm a mere housewife.)

And so it is, my friends and family, that I present to you Jessica Ann Brenner Birardi, former PR maven, current Hong Kong housewife.


  1. I very much enjoyed the beginning of your blog! Very clever! As a temporary "housewife" myself not a tai-tai(I think that is what it is called), I found myself giggling-a lot when I read about your bank experience. I look forward to reading more on your blog!

  2. Thanks! I wanted to make sure that all my American housewife friends didn't take offense to the name. It's been a hard adjustment (particularly since we dont have any kids yet), but one i'm secretly hoping to continue (at this point).

    how are you???

  3. Jess I love the blog. What a great way for us to see your "life" As far as the "housewife" story......enjoy.... plenty of time to WORK! I am just finding now what I want to be when I finally grow up.

    Looks fabulous! Have a great time.

    Aunt Denise

  4. we love this and are riveted...waiting to hear what you have up your sleeve every day
    be sure to fill us in on how the move goes
    oxox mom