The movers are here at our apartment as I am writing this, sending all our stuff by sea and by air. Some things like my beloved yarn stash, we won’t see for at least 3 months. Makes you wonder, if you don’t have something for that long, if you really need it at all. Well, obviously, the yarn, I need!
This post also happens to be the 100th post of my blog! It will also be the last post of this particular blog as it seems that I have reached my maximum free capacity for pictures on this blog and must pay a hefty price to get more space. So, if I continue, it will be under a different name. Such a shame, as I had more pictures to show you! Also our vpn disappears in a day or two, so I won’t be able to post from Shanghai, even if I want to.
It seems appropriate at this juncture to reflect on all those things that I will miss or won’t miss as we leave Shanghai and start over in Denver.
Update to this post: Mark reminded me of my experience the first week I was in Shanghai. I had been taken out to lunch by a couple of the mothers from Meredith’s school. They had been in Shanghai 3 to 4 years and both anticipated leaving within a year. I asked them what they were going to miss about Shanghai.
Finally, after an interminable pause, one replied, “well, I’ll miss being able to send my kids out the door to play and not worry about their safety, because we live in a gated compound. I really feel like my life has been on hold ever since we’ve been here.”
It was my turn to be speechless. Really? They’d been here for that long and couldn’t think of one, real positive thing about the place they’d been living. It was clear that their world had been either the school or their guarded compound (And really, the crime rate is very low here. I’ve never once felt unsafe.) It was at that point that I decided I would not be one of those expats who stays in my compound for 2 years waiting for it all to be over.
As miserable as that lunch was, I have to thank those women for inadvertently giving me the best advice anyone could have given me: If you don’t stick your nose out your door, you have no one to blame but yourself if you have a miserable time in a foreign country.
I hope I’ve lived up to that. And so…..
What I will miss about Shanghai:
1. The Chinese people. The people we have met have been wonderful and kind and giving, and we’ve enjoyed everyone of them.
2. Chinese babies. They are just too cute and always make me smile. I also love the obvious devotion of their parents and grandparents.
3. My wonderful expat friends, especially those in my book group and knitting group. How I will miss all of our lively discussions, which are peculiar to expat women. So proud to be part of the “expat club”!
4. The food. In our apartment complex alone, there are 6 fabulous restaurants. We now know what actual Chinese food tastes like, as well–it’s going to be tough to eat the American kind again.
5. The hustle and bustle of big city life. Step outside your door, and you’ll more than likely see something you haven’t seen before. Every day is an adventure here.
6. The beautiful clothes and shoes that Chinese women wear. And, the funny things that people wear, like pajamas and slippers on the street.
7. Our apartment, especially the kitchen. While most kitchens for expats are tiny and non-functional, we’ve had the perfect kitchen here. And, the best refrigerator I’ve ever had.
8. Having a driver. Wednesday, Chen shifu took us to Hangzhou, about 2 1/2 hours away, and it was so great to head home at 9pm and not have to do the driving.
9. The subway system. Even though we have a driver, I rarely used him as I can get almost anywhere I want to go on the subway. It’s fast, clean, and efficient, and nearly everywhere.
10. Chinglish–always makes you smile.
11. The Avocado Lady, who made shopping at a street vegetable market so easy. And cheap!
12. Seriously cheap fruits and vegetables from the markets.
13. The huge, but overwhelming markets for anything and everything. Being able to have things made for you for extremely affordable prices.
14. Really nice yarn for a dollar a ball.
15. No tipping!
16. The elevator flowers and the abundance of flowers around the city.
Things I won’t miss about China:
1. Having to use a vpn for the internet.
2. Tiny waste baskets and super thin, cheap trash bags.
3. Being at the bottom of the food chain, when crossing streets.
4. Chinese electrical outlets. They require great force to plug in to and then snap and pop at you–scary!
5. Stupid Chinese rules, especially at banks. Forget your password on your on-line account–you have to put in an appearance at the bank to get a new one. Take a little too long at the ATM machine, it takes your card. I could go on, but that could be a whole post!
6. Store clerks getting in my personal space and following me, tighter than my shadow, while I’m browsing. Insisting they must personally show me all the laundry detergent options or mascara’s or whatever it is I happen to pause and look at, in rapid Chinese, which I, of course, don’t understand.
7. Air pollution–nuff said.
8. Not being able to read food labels because they’ve stuck an extremely sticky Chinese label over what I want to see.
9. Squatters and bathrooms without toilet paper, and realizing you forgot to bring along tissues.
And finally, I managed to delete enough photos from my media library that I hadn’t used in a post to upload these last mail envelope and elevator flower pictures.
Shanghai, you’ll be sorely missed.