Saturday, July 2, 2011

The End

It’s hard to believe our first year in Shanghai is coming to a close.

We have a big paper on the wall that we’ve been writing our favorite and not so favorite things about living in Shanghai, China. Here is what we’ve discovered throughout the year:

Things we LIKE about living in Shanghai, China:

• ***No tax! (on any items or our income, our school pays our Chinese income tax)
• ***No tipping!
• ***Inexpensive to live here in general (unless you buy all imported/expat items)
• ***Can walk everywhere (my #1 personal favorite!)
• Great public transportation! Subways, taxis, buses
• Taxis are easy to get and are cheap (unless it’s raining)
• Can buy knock-off goods at Pearl City
• DVDs are sold on the street and are cheap
• The Mandarin language (it’s so logical…ask Joey and Hailey about this one)
• If you go out of your way to be friendly – the Chinese will be friendly back (but we must initiate friendliness first – they look out for “self” first – have to, it’s a cultural thing not to be taken personally)
• Chinese New Year is cool! Love all the fireworks!
• Love living up high on 16th floor – great view for fireworks, no bugs
• ***Love our ayi (maid – “auntie”) laundry, cleaning, cooking…
• Music on the sidewalk
• Neon lights everywhere!
• Soft toilet seat covers during winter
• Cool sunsets because of all the pollution (if you can see them between the high rises)
• Inexpensive haircuts/highlights (haircut = $3 - $8)
• Don’t need a car
• No Yard!
• ***Inexpensive massages
• Inexpensive manicures
• Inexpensive flowers
• Don’t need/use postage stamps
• Can download movie/songs for free on computers
• Inexpensive cell phone service – just buy minutes/data from local 7-ll each month ($15/month)
• Make good $ at our school (can save a lot each month/year)
• Good health care insurance coverage, decent health care services for basics
• Inexpensive teeth cleaning/dental work
• No guns allowed (not even the police have guns – only the military) Very safe to walk around at night/day = safe place to live
• Shanghai is a BIG city – the largest by population in the world; I’ve discovered that I love the BIG city and city living. (Who woulda thunk?!)

***Top 6 Favorites! (according to me – Anne)

Things that “BUG” us about Shanghai, China:

• ***Stinks like sewer
• People pee/poo on street/sidewalk/parks (the main reason it stinks like sewer)
• ***People hauk loogies/spit/farm blow nose a lot on sidewalk and in public places – no sense of “private/personal” business
• Boyfriend/girlfriends pop each other’s zits in public (subway/bus) (example of above)
• No sense of personal space – people get “too close”
• People cut in line (especially in front of Westerners)
• No traffic rules (or very “loose” rules that are very “different” than US rules) Buses are boss!
• ***Limited seatbelts in taxis (only in Expo taxis) (no car seats or helmets of any kind = uniformed, don’t know they are important and can save lives)
• Can’t drink the water (it’s not that it’s dirty, just that it has a lot of chemicals in it because it has to be clean because it was really dirty)
• Very little, if any, English spoken here (Thank God I am not afraid to play charades all the time! = BTW, it works most of the time)
• The Great Firewall of China! S L O W internet! Many blocked internet sites (Have to use an internet proxy called a VPN – Virtual Proxy Network - in order to access blocked sites like Facebook and uTube…it’s illegal so don’t tell on us, please)
• No stars (too much pollution)
• No skim milk (well, that comes from a cow and that I like the taste of…)
• No drinking age (18?) so our kids have had to make smart choices and have learned the meaning of peer pressure
• No bath tub (for us anyway)
• Poor heating & cement walls = very cold in winter
• Chinese eat very interesting animal parts and products – it’s quite fascinating, really - but not in my food pallet
• Not advanced Health care = need to go to Hong Kong or Bangkok for surgery or important tests
• Pollution!

***Top 3 for me.

Overall, we like more things about Shanghai than we dislike so all is well. I’ve also learned that a lot of how we view the city depends a lot on our attitude and remembrance to view the culture with fascination, not judgment. This will be remembered as the year I learned to EAT (Shanghai Dumplings), PRAY (for comfort, patience and courage), and LOVE (the Chinese culture and my new SCIS friends). My own personal story of EAT, PRAY, LOVE.

What am I most looking forward to doing in the US?

• Hugging my Mom and Dad and family
• Seeing friends, talking
• Taking a bath
• Drinking TONS of skim milk until I explode
• Eating Mexican food (any and all kinds)
• Eating Thai food (Thin Pan and the place near Walgreens)
• Eating Chinese food (American Chinese food is WAY different than Chinese Chinese food.)
• Purple CafĂ© and Wine Bar in Kirkland – baked Brie!
• A good cheeseburger (Red Robin?)
• Any home cooked food from anyone willing to cook
• Clean air!
• Blue sky (it better be blue!!!) and seeing stars at night
• Seeing Puget Sound, the Beach house, the still and quiet of the beach
• Seeing green, nature, flowers, smelling nature (Shanghai is nicknamed “The Concrete Jungle”- there sure is a lot of concrete)
• Taco Del Mar – make my own burrito! (Mexi again)
• Subway – BMT with ranch dressing! (No Ranch dressing in all of Asia)

Yes, lots of food items will be eaten. Can’t wait! Hope to see you soon. If you want to see us – we’d love to see you…just call the beach house…360-652-7770. We’ll be “home” July 3 – August 4.

P.S. We sold our Kirkland home last month so China is now our “home.” ☺