2 Years in China

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do” -Mark Twain

The quote didn’t inspire my move to China but I have seen it floating around social media. I like it. My quote usually is “do it while you can for one day you won’t be able to “.  One day I will be too grumpy to handle traveling across the world, live in a foreign country, and tolerant cultural differences. So here I am and it has been 2 years ago that I moved to Shanghai. It seems like yesterday that I started this adventure. The adventure that separated me for over a year from Todd (don’t feel too bad for him.. he was in Hawaii and here now) my dogs in the US, my house, my friends, my family to move to China.WOW! 2 years already.

What Has Changed Living in China

  • I eat food from the street! I do love street dumplings.
  • I can eat peanuts with chopsticks. In my 3rd year I hope to catch some flies.
  • I have friends from all over the world and they work for a variety of companies
  • Anywhere in the US has become “home”. California, Hawaii, Florida, it is all “Home” (Except Arizona and Arkansas I can’t handle some of the crazy they have going on there)
  • Traveling in Asia you don’t need to pack a toothbrush they are provided with other toiletries like a razor and shaving cream.
  • I have more clothes that don’t have labels than clothes that have labels. I have visited the fabric market way too much in 2 years. The labels are a problem for sometimes you don’t know which is the front or the back of an item, labels can tell you which is the back.
  • I drink more than I did in the US. Not that this is a good thing, it just happens for you don’t have to drive home or need one of us to be a designated driver. You walk, take the metro or a cab home.
  • C.O.D. I can get everything cash on delivery from food, wine, soda, ice cream, and paper towels.
  • I love a good massage and they are everywhere and very inexpensive compared to the US
  • Some cars/buses/cabs have curtains like in a motor home to keep the sun out

 Things I Still Don’t Enjoy or Understand

  • Spitting, snot rockets, and nose picking and yet when sick surgical masks are worn. I don’t understand.
  • No soap or toilet paper in restrooms. With above, really no soap? and you wear a mask when sick. Any wonder why you may be sick?
  • Public Nail Clipping & Grooming (I have added grooming to the list for picking your boyfriend blemish on the  metro is a creepy so is shaving with an electric razor, bzz bzz)
  • Public urination (in a city with lots of public restrooms, why do some have to pee on the sidewalk or in the bushes?) I  know why people take off their shoes in the house, it is because walking outside is disgusting between the spit, poo, pee, creeps me out and no soap!
  • Lack of any traffic laws. Green means go, red means go, yellow means go and seeing a pedestrian means hit the gas and go. Buses never stop.
  • Bikes and scooters on the sidewalks and they blow their horn at you to get out of the way. I want a horn to blow when I am walking on the sidewalk.
  • Loud talking in public, especially when on cell phones.
  • No voice mail or silent mode on phones. Cell phones are always on audio and it is loud and with no voice mail the caller just lets it ring and ring and ring. When it finally hangs up, they call back for the person didn’t answer. Maybe they didn’t answer for they were not near their phone? They need to call back and it starts all over again. Most annoying in the office, it is very distracting and I believe productivity would go up if people used silent mode or there was voice mail.
  • Spooning in the metro & elevators, there is no reason to crowd, push, cut in line,  it is not the only train or elevator another one will come.
  • It is hard to find skin products that do not whiten/bleach which causes me to hoard when I go back home.
  • Chinese has to be the hardest language to learn. The tones are what get you. The same word can be used many different ways to say a variety of things with a slight tone change. My ear has yet to pick up on the slight difference and I think everyone around me is saying 10. Learn the characters that is how you tell the difference I am told. I really don’t want to they are little drawings, do you see the sun? No I don’t see how that looks like a sun and then means morning.  I understand why some people take years off and just study Chinese. That I think it what is required to learn it.

Overall, I enjoy being in Shanghai. It is really the city that doesn’t sleep. Just the other day, we walked down a street and it is completely different new shops and restaurants opened,overnight. So much change happening. Lets see what the next year will bring.



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara Skibiski
    Sep 14, 2012 @ 22:17:35

    My advice is leave your shoes at your apartment doorway, seek new adventures, relax with a massage, enjoy eating “street” food, continue shoppping the markets, …and do all the things you find amusing and enjoyable. Have a wonderful third year traveling in a new culture.

    Cousin Barbara


  2. Ben Reed
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 13:52:37

    I can’t believe it’s been that long. I read every post and love it. Here’s to continued success!


  3. Rebecca
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 21:42:39

    Hey Ben! WOW a professional blogger like yourself takes the time to read my little blog. I appreciate it. Come to Shanghai!!


  4. Caanan @ No Vacation Required
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 23:09:34

    We just returned from Beijing and Shanghai (so bummed we didn’t get to meet you) and had similar reactions to a few of these. I have 0 patience for cultures that treat pedestrians like they are targets. It is bad enough when there are simply no traffic laws, but when there are crosswalks and cars STILL try to take you out. K&C don’t play that game. We ended up playing chicken with cars – just standing in the road with our hands pointed at the green crosswalk sign. 🙂


    • Rebecca
      Oct 11, 2012 @ 05:55:02

      Next trip to China! I think there are traffic laws and it is just go and hit pedestrians. I also think buses have an automatic horn connected to the accelerator. Any time the pedal is hit, the horn honks. Did you know I got hit by a car while in Shanghai crossing the street on my green walk sign? YUP. I did a post last year (Hit by a Car) about my adventures getting to the hospital we both have the hospital experience under our belts. Glad you are well!


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