Ups and downs

Great day off

23 May 2013 at 02:41

As you can see from the pictures, we had such an awesome day off with Kristina.  And there have been many great things that have made this time exciting.  But we have run into our share of snags too.  I”m beginning to think they are all for the best though.  I was thinking that I wrote an e-mail to my supervisor yesterday, and this might explain a lot…

Dear Ivy,

Yesterday was a very confusing day for me.  When I woke up I got a call that my nanny’s father has cancer and she has to leave.  My nanny’s agent is named Ivy too, and I had been on the phone with her several times also.

In addition, I wasn’t thinking clearly about my first week here.  When you told me that apartment was too far away, I declined it.  It was really beautiful, but we picked one that was 2 exits closer two days later after looking at about 12 apartments altogether.

You did offer to help me, but up to that point I had never rode the metro, I had no way to figure out how to get to you, and I only had my past experience as a reference.  At the same time, I had luggage that had not arrived, I was trying to find a nanny, and I had to eat and sleep and take care of my girls  There was a lot going on, and I have to admit, I felt very isolated.

By the time I moved, I was actually behind schedule, but I hoped that everything was ok.

I didn’t not know a single thing about Shanghai before I arrived.  It didn’t matter where I lived.  My suggestion however, is that if someone is coming fresh off of the plane, that you put them in a hotel and train them in the area you want them to live.  Or at least take them to that area and show them apartments.

From all of the cities I have lived in, the metro is not even more than one hour long, and since this apartment was in the middle of the line, I couldn’t imagine how long the ride could be.  I hadn’t been on the metro before I got this apartment, and I hadn’t been to a center to work.

This is an added thing that isn’t really your problem, but I was also told to get a tourist visa.  I have been to more that 10 or 11 countries and I have never needed a visa BEFORE I arrived.  When you are in the airport, they ask you why you are there and you tell them that you want a tourist visa.  When I was at the airport and ready to get on the plane, I was denied because I did not have the visa ahead of time.  I have found out through friends now that there are only about 3 countries like that.  This cost me over $3,000 that I probably won’t get back.  I have been fighting with the airlines since I came home from the airport.

Also, I am having a very hard time finding a nanny who will work the hours I work.  In fact, I haven’t found one.  If my friend didn’t come home earlier than me, I would not have childcare right now.  And the fact that my nanny cost 4000RMB, was quite a shock to me since my plan for coming here was to be able to save money.

Most of these issues are not your problem at all, but I have only been here 3 weeks and this is what I have been going through.

You can forward this e-mail to Marry if you wish, and I would love to hear other suggestions.  I have a year visa now, which I hear is very rare, so there is a lot of time to work this out.  I do understand your problem Ivy, and I came here specifically for you, but I only had one very jet-lagged week to make a lot of decisions on my own, and now I have to work with what I have.

Thank you for listening,
Besides all of this, really, I still love living here.  We took the girls to this amusement park that was just “The best day ever!” according to Rumi.  And then we went to a temple, and hung out in a completely different area.  What’s funny is we ran into a friend who also was not from that area, right on the street.  So it’s a huge city and a small world at the same time.
In addition, I did get my third nanny today, and three’s a charm as they say.  For the record, I loved number 2, but she had to go because of her dad, and she had issues, the other two I interviewed didn’t have.  In fact, this agency is the absolute best!  I was mad at the agent because I really couldn’t chose.  The agent has been invaluable to me for the amount of help she has given me that is not nanny-related.
I’m not that worried about work, because I have gotten plenty of offers this week, and it’s not like I don’t have a job right now.  I just refuse to spend 4 hours traveling.  So…who knows how everything will play out.  I do LOVE what I am doing, and I love everyone I work with.
Do you know what else I love?  Last night, we ate a buffet of left-overs to clean out the fridge for the new nanny, while watching Dancing with the Stars, and looking out over the Shanghai skyline, and just knowing life is good even when you have no idea about tomorrow.

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