Shanghai..in the beginning…
Ok, here is the 2 week update. It has to have been longer than that. Well, anyway, The flights sucked, but you might remember those posts. Yes, eventually we did all get seats together on every flight, but the very idea was ridiculous, as was the idea of no food or entertainment on a 5 hour flight, and not even a blanket! We would have had $7 for a blanket! Then, of course, one big bag was missing. The one with all of the girls’ toys. It did show up at our hotel 2 days later at4am. What I did love was the Shanghai airport. I didn’t have to wait in lines,or go through customs. I had a police officer helping me with my luggage and he just walked us through.
Which shows you immediately my impressions of Shanghai! I know I keep saying it, but I have never been so in love with a place! I have loved visiting Galway and Montreal, but living here is the best. I barely did any research before coming here, and I didn’t know it was the biggest city in the world until a few days before I left. It is safe, easy and comfortable. You can walk around at night with no problems at all. No one I know has a car or needs one; the metro is excellent and there are taxis everywhere. We live right next to a metro station and everything is next to a metro station.
One thing I didn’t expect is that the city seems centered around high-class shopping. On every corner there are 4-5 floor malls. It is easier to find Jimmy Choo shoes or a Louis Vittion bag, than, let’s say…vegetables. However, all of that shopping comes with great eating! I have never eaten so well. Another big surprise is that the most popular meat here is not pork, like I would have thought. It’s lamb. I have been eating it like crazy.
Our only semi-bad experiences eating, were Chinese food. One time, it was just from being annoyed because every staff member in the dumpling place stood around our table and stared at us. The other time, it wasn’t bad, just expensive and tasteless. Which brings me to another thing, there is no salt or soy sauce used here. WTH! So we tend to eat a lot of Western or Arabic food.
However, I have a nanny starting tomorrow who is from Hunan and a great cook –so I can’t wait to eat good Chinese food! And I can’t wait until she starts! I found her myself, and as I said, her name is Elana, she speaks perfect English, she’s 26, and used to be a nurse in a small village in Hunan. I immediately had a great sense about her. She will also do cleaning, laundry, cooking and grocery shopping. Plus, she will, of course take the girls outside to one of the many parks or play areas around.
Which brings me to our great apartment. It is near Shanghai Stadium. In fact, we can see it from our 25thfloor window. It’s only two bedrooms,but it has 2 bathrooms. In China, it’s hard to find three bedrooms since they have a one child policy. It is really nicely furnished and it has a glass-enclosed balcony which is kind of the girls’ play area. Also, they have made lots of friends in our complex already, so they have play-dates at other apartments. And there is a park and a playground in the courtyard where all the kids play from 4-5:30 every afternoon. There are ponds with fish, and fountains, and a wooden bridge, and then a walkway to a swing and an outside table and chairs,and then a playground.
On our first day here, the girls had a water fight with three sisters from New Zealand, and ever since they have been great friends. Their mother Jodie has been a good help to me too. Oh, and their father is a film-maker. This is a filming Mecca, and I have been told that I shouldn’t be surprised if the girls get “found” and end up making more money than me.
My job is awesome. I didn’t have a clear understanding until training. It is almost like being a trainer at gym –that’s how I keep thinking about it. There are college students and business people who sign-up for classes. They can come whenever they want, so some come every day, some just on weekends or whatever, and some don’t show. We hold classes as they need them. When they are ready for a certain level, they sign-up and the class is scheduled. I could have 4 in a class, I could have one. I could have 4 classes in a day, I could have one. All the rest of my hours are for prep, but I don’t have to be in the office. I can’t go home or anything either, but as I said there are 4 malls at every intersection. (Each mall probably has 2Starbucks, by the way). However, I work with great and interesting people from Michigan, Texas, England, Australia, and Belfast, so I like sticking around and talking to them too.
Kristina works with some pretty awesome people too, and we actually had a dinner party two nights ago. I made chili, and it was just really nice. Her friends are from Maine, and Barbados. Ok, well I spent quite sometime writing this, and it’s all just the basic tips of the iceberg. I need to get my phone fixed, and do a few more things today. Maybe I’ll have time to get into more of the fun details later.