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  1. The future of expat finances in Shanghai Source of intrigue, jealousy and often downright bitter resentment: the ex-pat package. It’s the subject of hearsay and Chinese whispers and someone else has always got a better deal (or, in the case of journalists, everyone else). We’ve all heard tales of the company who caters for every whim – from the villa accommodation right down to your dog’s diamond collar. But the times they are a-changing in Shanghai – and so are the expats who work here. Ten years ago a traditional employment contract would have likely included regular R&R (rest and relaxation) trips to the nearest comfortable place to recover from the ‘horror’ of Shanghai. Today, with a Starbucks on every corner, fine wines in every restaurant and a Zara in every mall, this city is no longer such a stressful place to live. “The R&R trips are virtually non-existent in Shanghai today,” says Kate Lorenz, Managing Director of Ark International, an orientation and housing company. “It isn’t the hardship posting it used to be and we’re seeing many of our clients downgrade the city’s rating as a difficult place to live.” Downgrading the city isn’t simply a way for companies to pay their employees less, though that may be the end result. It is supported by a wave of willing expats who are actively seeking to come here and don’t need the traditional enticements offered in the past. Such expats bring competition for jobs and consequently cuts in packages. For many mid-level employees looking to take a step up the career ladder, Shanghai is the perfect opportunity; people are swapping the package for a promotion. That’s not to say employment packages no longer exist. Other than the R&R trips, Lorenz is not seeing swingeing cuts but witnessing a more subtle change. “More people are becoming what we call half-pats: they take a monthly lump sum with which they pay their own accommodation and school fees and whatever else. Employees can make their own decisions about what to prioritize and the company invariably saves money.” THE WILLING HALF-PAT Beverly Burgess, Regional Marketing Manager for eBayBeverly willingly moved from Sydney to Shanghai in early 2009. “The economy wasn’t doing so well in Australia and so I was looking to move somewhere more prosperous.” Package includes: • Full health insurance, including maternity if needed • A look-see trip to check out Shanghai before committing to coming • 25 percent of salary paid as a bonus to cover accommodation and any other additional costs • All packing, shipping and storage • One economy flight home each year • 40 hours of Mandarin lessons This is the path that eBay has taken in China. “We don’t offer a standard expat package,” says Jing Huang, head of human resources for eBay in China. “Each individual is offered a tailor-made deal, usually with a transition bonus that takes into account their level within the company and situation in their home country.” Employees with families are a particularly expensive option for companies, because they require additional health insurance and school fees. Anna Wethered, China Country Manager for Orientations, a global relocation company with offices in Shanghai, says she has noticed a recent change in the expat demographic coming to the city. “It’s hard to know how much what we’ve seen is a true indicator, but anecdotally it would seem companies are, where possible, opting to employ people who don’t come with two children and an RMB400,000 school fee bill.” THE TEACHERMr. X Teacher at Shanghai American SchoolMr. X wishes to remain anonymous. “Our package is extremely generous. My salary is similar to back home, but all the added extras mean I save much more.” Package includes: • Salary RMB350,000 • Accommodation at Shanghai Racquet Club • Full healthcare, including maternity cover • One economy flight home each year • A place in the school for up to three children • One-off relocation bonus of RMB35,000-55,000 per couple or RMB14,000-28,000 for an individual • Shipping allowance of RMB8,000-10,000 • Fitness allowance of RMB7,000 per year Another recent phenomenon is an increase in ‘localization’ packages where employees are offered a contract with benefits gradually stripped away as they get used to living in Shanghai. This might mean that accommodation is paid for the first year, half-paid for the second year and then not paid at all after that. “We have seen a huge growth in localization packages over the past couple of years. Companies recognize that setting up here is still a difficult task for families, but aim to reduce the costs for the company over the long term,” says Wethered. But what of that vast shapeless destroyer, the global recession – how is this affecting Shanghai? Wethered wonders if it’s had much impact. “We have heard a lot of talk about plummeting rental prices and swathes of expats returning home, but this isn’t the reality we are experiencing,” she says. “A handful of people bagged a good deal, but by and large rentals have remained stable – particularly in the popular expat areas like Jinqiao. Already this year we have seen around a 15 percent increase in rental prices.” THE OPPORTUNIST Bevis Jones Visual Effects Supervisor Bevis moved from London with his family last August. “I came here because of the opportunities that simply aren’t available back home. I pay school fees of RMB200,000 a year out of my own pocket.” Package includes: • Salary RMB440,000 • Health insurance for whole family • Economy flights home once a year • RMB4,000 towards accommodation • Optional Mandarin classes during work hours. The schools, often a reliable litmus test for the health of the expat economy, seem to tell a similar story. Harlan Lyso, Superintendent at Shanghai American School, believes the international schools all took a bit of a hit in terms of numbers, but most have recovered quickly. “We are already back up to 2008 figures and we are projecting that the 2010/11 school year will see our highest enrollment yet,” says Lyso. SAS sees the situation from both sides of the coin, as it is currently also China’s biggest expat employer, with more than 300 overseas staff on the books. “We are not cutting back what we offer staff,” says Lyso. “This year we have increased teachers’ salaries by four percent and maintained a comprehensive employment package.” He believes these steps are necessary to attract the very best teachers and therefore keep numbers high. THE FULL PACKAGEMr. X Engineering Senior Project ManagerMr. X wishes to remain anonymous. “I think we get a pretty good deal. I don’t know how it compares with others.” Package includes: •Salary RMB525,000 Lump sum mobility premium 25 percent of salary •All-inclusive health insurance •Accommodation RMB25,000 per month, plus utilities School fees •Car and driver RMB15,000-20,000 •Tickets home for all the family once a year •One month’s salary mobility bonus on arrival and on departure •Appliance allowance RMB20,000 Pet relocation RMB28,000 •One hundred hours of language lessons •Orientation visit Packing service and shipment of all household goods •Spousal allowance RMB17,000 for training or job search costs A recent HSBC report looking into expats’ finances across the globe reported that 30 percent of expats in China have scaled down their spending on essential day-to-day items. This sounds like a significant belt-tightening, but when you compare that with the 79 percent in the US or 75 percent in the UK, China doesn’t look so bad. In fact, HSBC rates China as number 11 out of 26 in the top locations for global expat finances. The scale is worked out by a combination of expat disposable income, savings and luxury items owned. Russia was listed as the number one place for an expat to make money and France was at the bottom at number 26. THE DOCTORDr. Gregg Miller Emergency Physician, Shanghai United Family Hospital.“Expat doctors often make less money here than in their home country. I make two-thirds of what I did in the US. Doctors come here for the experience or as trailing spouses, not to make money.” Package includes: Health insurance Economy flights home once a year No accommodation or school fees Today in Shanghai we are seeing a more integrated expat population, not simply confined to compounds and chauffeur-driven cars. Part of that is to do with the sheer volume of people coming to the city. In the top-level jobs these packages still exist, but what we are seeing now is companies expanding and offering more mid-level positions. The lavish packages haven’t disappeared; they have simply been watered down. “A company bringing in a top level executive is still going to have to provide a package to suit – and that includes an RMB70,000 per month villa, a car and driver and all the trimmings,” says Lorenz. “But the reality for most people is that expat packages have changed forever.” “I won’t come unless….” Real deal breakers we encountered: 1. “… I can bring my horse and parrot.” 2. “… you ship over my Harley-Davidson.” 3. “… there’s a grand piano in my apartment.” 4. “… you move the kitchen sink – it’s bad feng shui.” So it’s true, the heyday is seemingly over. But before you tear up your expense claims and board the next fight home, take a minute to remember why so many of us are still here: super Shanghai, we love you.
  2. Foreigners who have been around China for a while (and are ostensibly in the know) will tell you that there are lots of “opportunities” here now — and what with the WTO and all, things are only bound to get better! Such optimism is a natural response from expats who have obviously found something worthwhile that has kept them in China this long. Seriously though, it really isn’t too difficult to land a job. But it’s also true that at first glance, the mainland China employment scene may seem somewhat limited in scope. Eager to teach English? No problem. Beyond that, the search for gainful employ is a bit more challenging. It’s also rather daunting if you don’t have any prior contacts in China and you’re starting from scratch. Perhaps even more so than in Western countries, connections — guanxi, usually the first word of Chinese you learn — tend to be the best ways to find out about job openings in China. But you’ve got to start somewhere, so if you haven’t landed your dream job then let the guanxi games begin… If you are a native English speaker (or can pass for one), you’re already amply qualified for one particular set of jobs in China. Teachers are in high demand in both rural areas and big cities. In Beijing, it’s said you can stand at the railway station with a sign reading, “I Speak English,” and you’ll have a job within a day. Teaching jobs for other foreign languages like French or Korean are also available, but English clearly rules. Whether or not you have teaching experience is largely irrelevant. If you can communicate with fluency in English, then you will be hired in most cases. One exception may be if you look Chinese or Asian. Occasionally, there are perverse forms of discrimination: Some schools have a policy of not employing overseas Chinese because they supposedly don’t speak English as well as “real” foreigners, or don’t inspire the confidence of their students. Even blondes with heavy European accents have been known to have an edge over Chinese-looking Americans or Canadians. Fortunately, it’s not a major obstacle if you are determined to teach. There are many positions out there, and the schools that are sincerely concerned about the quality of teaching will not be so dismissive. Just be warned that it does happen. In major cities, pay is typically 80-120 yuan per hour, and schedules are fairly flexible, running the gamut from one hour per week to full-time. You also have options for tutoring individuals or working with larger classes of kids or adults. In more out-of-the-way places, wages may be less (about 2000 per month) but schools frequently offer airfare, standard housing, free Chinese language classes and a more unique experience as an entire package. It is possible to arrange these positions from abroad, either through a middleman organization or directly with the Chinese school. On the web, there are a host of sites offering information on teaching English in China… Appalachians Abroad: Teach in China www.marshall.edu/esli/apa.htmlx Marshall University (Huntington, West Virginia, US) runs this program through its Center for International Programs. One and two-year teaching positions throughout China usually begin from August or March, and applications from any college graduates are welcome. Colorado China Council www.asiacouncil.org The CCC is an educational outreach organization aiming to expose Americans to Chinese culture and history. It is non-religious, non-political and non-profit group that sends college graduates to China for one-year teaching contracts. Council Exchanges Teach in China Program www.councilexchanges.org/18plus/programs/tic.html Positions teaching English to Chinese college students are available through this group. Council on International Educational Exchange www.ciee.org/ CIEE runs several programs for studying, working, and volunteer work teaching abroad for periods of three to six months English Language Institute/China www.elic.org ELIC provides training and placement for teaching English in China, but limited to those of the Christian faith. ESL Web Guide www.eslcafe.com/search/Jobs/Asia/China/ The general web site is maintained by an individual named Dave Sperling, who has compiled a long list of related links. Peace Corps China www.peacecorps.gov/countries/china The Peace Corps’ program in China has been going for several years. The project is recruiting teachers for middle schools in the rural areas of Sichuan province of China. Princeton In Asia www.princeton.edu/~pia PiA sets up internships for college graduates, including English teaching positions in mainland China. Open to applicants from other universities. TEFL China Teahouse www.teflchina.com This web site is specifically designed for and maintained by English teachers in China. You can also join the email list, which is a very active forum useful for advice and conversation relevant to this topic. The site also has tips and ideas for ESL teaching methods in Chinese classrooms. Teach in China Forum www.teach-in-china.com This web site and bulletin board has frequent question and answer opportunities for those is search of China information. Volunteers in Asia www.volasia.org Affiliated with Stanford University, VIA offers seven week summer programs for teaching English, as well as one and two-year long teaching jobs in Asia. Western Washington University’s China Teaching Program www.ac.wwu.edu/~ctp/ CTP is based at Western Washington University and offers teaching placements in China. World Teach www.worldteach.org Harvard University’s program is open to university graduates in all majors. Their one-year teaching commitments in secondary schools do not require prior teaching experience, and besides English as a foreign language, subjects taught include natural and social sciences, mathematics, art and home economics. Limited financial aid is available. Besides teaching, there are still more English-based jobs to be found, but typically only in the larger cities. Publications such as The China Daily, written in English by Chinese writers, hire native English speakers as copy-editors. The East Oriental School (Dong Fang Xue Xiao) and other private companies employ foreigners to edit resumes, personal statements, and reference letters in English. Some writing skills, but not necessarily formal experience, are typically needed for these kinds of jobs. And if you are already in China, there are also opportunities to do English voice recordings, usually for radio advertisements or for English language tapes. Recording sessions are more sporadic, but the pay is usually higher than teaching jobs. Foreign students are a frequent recruiting target for such jobs, so bulletin board postings near foreign student dormitories are good places to check for more information.
  3. Living in a foreign country can be stressful. Expecting a baby can be stressful. When you combine the two, you can easily stop enjoying either one. Since moving to Shanghai with my husband in August of 2006, I have been looking to use my experience as a Labor and Delivery nurse to help couples who are expecting Shanghai babies to avoid unnecessary stress. For a start, I’ve done research (both online and by word of mouth) on the options women currently have for delivering their babies in Shanghai, and I’ve learned what to expect or, in many cases, what not to expect from the hospitals and clinics we have to choose from. As a perinatal educator at Parkway Healthcare (formerly World Link), I’ve listened to the concerns of expectant parents about the lack of organized resources available here. Although there is plenty of information on the internet for moms and dads-to-be, it still can be challenging to sort through everything. And even if you do, it is another question which options and resources would be available to you in Shanghai. As a result, I decided to create this post in order to share information with expectant parents in Shanghai in hopes of making your pregnancy, labor and delivery experience a positive and memorable one. What to bring to the hospital Lets be reasonable, for most women, you are only going to be in the hospital for less than 5 days total (avg stay is 2-3 days after delivery). PACK LIGHT is my motto. 2 bags: one for the labor room and one for the hospital room. Leave your second bag in the car. Your husband or partner can bring more stuff in later. Before you leave for the hospital Lots of moms-to-be (and friends of moms – hint hint): prep and freeze food so they don’t have to worry about shopping, cooking, etc. after they get home with baby. For the Labor Room You can pack this bag early and keep it in the hall closet or trunk of the car. A knapsack or overnight bag is large enough. Multimedia – If you have an MP3 player, bring that with a diverse selection – from classical to Grateful Dead to African drums to chanting; Create your own birthing CD. Also check to see if they have a wireless internet connection that you can tap into while there. May be easier getting in touch with relatives and sending out first photos and less expensive than trying to call everyone at weird international hours. Relax – Try to visualize your ideal relaxing environment. Bring powders, lotions or oils for massage. A good room scent like Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Peppermint. Bring a tennis ball or plastic rolling pin for firm counter-pressure massage in case of back labor. Camera – Please check with your hospital if you are able to take pictures or video of the actual birth. Warm socks and/or a sweater – Many women complain of being cold (or hot for that matter) during labor, whatever you bring know that it may get stained, dirty or just be willing to throw it away after labor. If you want to wear a sports bra or tank top, make sure it has no metal parts (ie underwire or fasteners, etc). Don’t wear jewelry if at all possible – in rare cases you may need to have an emergency c-section, some equipment in the OR may use electricity, so you do not want anything that can conduct current. Wedding rings can be worn on a long necklace and/or your husband can hold on to it for safe keeping. A washcloth – Although the hospital might provide you with one, it’s not a bad idea to bring your own. Lollipops or other small candies – Once you are in active labor, medical staff usually wants to avoid giving you any food (your digestion slows down in labor and increases the possibility of nausea and vomiting – which you may get anyway and is normal. Therefore, bringing in sugarless lollipops or hard candy won’t make you too thirsty, but any lollipop will help keep your mouth moist and provide you with energy. Favorite snacks – Most of the hospitals in Shanghai that Westerners deliver at have mini-fridges in the rooms. Make sure you and your partner pack a little nourishment (they may let you eat in early labor). Please remind your partner to eat, although they are trying to focus on you (for good reason), a partner who faints is not going to be very helpful. Also, bring a few dollars and a Sherpa’s delivery menu if you are not fond of the food selections they offer you. Bring a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider to celebrate after the delivery if you want! A list of telephone numbers – It’s amazing how easily everything else is forgotten when your baby is placed in your arms for the first time, and you’ll have plenty of friends and relatives waiting for the announcement. A focal point – If there is an image you particularly like, such as a still-life painting or a nature photograph, bring it with you to focus on during labor. You may find that it helps you get through contractions. Keep the size reasonable. For the Hospital Room In the hospital after labor and delivery A sweater or nightgown – After a shower, you might want to wear something of your own rather than a revealing hospital gown. Again, be warned that whatever you bring can get dirty. Toiletries – Check what the hospital provides so you don’t have to lug your electric toothbrush, etc.. Even if you are not ready for a shower soon after the delivery, it is amazing how good you feel by just putting on your own deodorant and brushing your teeth. Sanitary napkins – The hospital will provide you with sanitary napkins, but you might want to pack your own. Buy something comfortable and designed to handle very heavy flow. A pillow and blanket for Dad – If your partner wants to stay overnight, he’ll likely have a recliner or cot to sleep on, but linens are hard to come by. Bring some items to make his limited space a little more cozy. Something to pass the time – You will probably be busy and in awe of this new little baby and when baby is sleeping, you really should sleep; however, remember to stay relaxed and if that means packing a deck of cards or your knitting, then go for it. More snacks – Hospital food is notorious for causing constipation. Packs of raisins, nuts or whole-wheat crackers will help keep you regular. Going-home outfits – You’ll still be sporting a sizeable belly (your uterus doesn’t go back down to pre-pregancy size for about 6 weeks), so don’t pack those pre-pregnancy jeans just yet. Bring something that was comfortable when you were about 6 months pregnant. A going-home outfit for baby should be comfortable as well. Bring a kimono or stretch suit, undershirt, booties and a hat. Make sure you have a receiving blanket and heavy bunting blanket if it’s cold. Diapers will most likely be provided by the hospital, but bring a few just in case. Car seat – You can’t take your baby home without one, so don’t forget it! Well, in China you probably can, but better that you have one. Packing won’t take you much time, but putting it off until the day you go into labor is a recipe for disaster and disorganization. Compile what you want to bring to the labor room and your hospital room long before you need to worry about it. Tell your partner where to find your bags and which bag is for which room. After you’ve finished packing, you can go re-fold those baby clothes one more time.
  4. Whether a first time visitor or long-term resident, it is easy to be charmed by the atmosphere of downtown Shanghai. Quiet, tree-lined avenues criss-crossed by bustling lanes lined with almost every imaginable variety of architecture form what was and remains the essence of Shanghai. This version of Shanghai is best exemplified by the area of the old French Concession, still called by the Shanghainese “Fazu Jie,” or Frenchtown. Shanghai’s French Concession was born out of French Consul M. Montigny’s agreement with the Chinese authorities on April 6, 1849, to establish a French settlement on the Huangpu River, nestling cozily between the walled Chinese city to the south and the British settlement to the north. Shanghai’s explosive growth over the subsequent years led to the settlement’s expansion westwards. Over the next century, the area south of Boulevard Edouard VII (today’s Yan’an Lu) was a district characterised by tastefully designed parks, handsome villas and Russian brothels. Unlike their Anglo-Saxon neighbours to the north, the French always knew how to enjoy the best of life. Much of Frenchtown’s distinctive flavor remains today. At the core of Shanghai’s former French Concession lies today’s Huaihai Lu (once known as Avenue Joffre), now celebrating its centennial. Among Shanghainese, this, and not the touristy Nanjing Lu, is the street to be seen on: Day and night, the trend-setting youth of Shanghai throng the Huaihai strip, scouting out endless boutiques in search of the latest in urban living. More than just a glitzy manifestation of global consumer culture, Huaihai Lu crosses some of the most interesting neighbourhoods of Old Shanghai. Those willing to venture a bit further from the main strip will be rewarded with glimpses of Shanghai life barely touched by the ravaging development of the late ’90s. Huaihai Lu stretches seven kilometers across central Shanghai, from the former walled Chinese city in the East, to Hongqiao Lu in the West. Most of the key sights, however, are strung out along the middle portion (Huaihai Zhonglu) and are within easy walking distance from the three Metro stops that serve it. A few years ago, the eastern stretch of Huaihai Zhong Lu, near the Huangpi Lu Station, was a massive construction site. Now the scaffolding has come off to reveal a string of shiny new office-mall developments. Venture just a couple of blocks south from Huaihai Lu, however, and you’ll find yourself back in 1920s shikumen territory. These buildings, recognisable by the ornately carved stone arches that mark the entrances to their alleys or longtangs are unique to Shanghai, and were built by foreign developers around the turn of the century to accommodate the massive influx of Chinese migrants. Enjoy these neighbourhoods while you can, as many are slated for destruction. A plan drawn up by Chicago architecture firm SOM calls for their replacement by yet more shiny office towers. Only the area around the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will be partially conserved, in the form of an upscale shopping development. Westward along Huaihai Lu, past the impressive new elevated highway, lies the shopping avenue’s more intimate side. Street front boutiques, restaurants, and bakeries harken back to when Avenue Joffre was the favourite haunt of Shanghai’s leisure class. Yandang Lu, leading into Fuxing Park, was fully pedestrianised a few years ago and quickly taken over by trendy Taiwan-style tea houses. Plenty of local color remains as, on warm nights, families emerge from the nearby longtangs to playing cards or mahjong on folding tables. Fuxing Park, formerly called the French Park, in the early morning becomes a riot of dancing couples, moonwalking men and strangely agitated retirees (don’t worry, they’re only practicing qigong). If you’re lucky, you might catch an impromptu jam session among neighbourhood musicians or an old-school storyteller. Outside the west entrance of the park is a tranquil neighbourhood of art-deco villas, now subdivided and shared among multiple families. Nearby are the former residences of revolutionary hero Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and the late Premier Zhou Enlai. The area immediately around the Shanxi Nan Lu Station is a non-stop swirl of activity, where Shanghai’s consumer frenzy reaches its peak. The pace doesn’t slack even when you venture deeper into the surrounding neighborhoods. Dodge bicycles along Nanchang Lu on a weekday morning and head for the produce market between Shanxi Lu and Xiangyang Lu, where residents stock up daily groceries. Xiangyang Lu itself offers a great taste of the pre-mall shopping experience in Shanghai and is littered with a bizarre assortment of shops, including a two-story electronic-goods bazaar at Xiangyang and Fuxing Roads where you can get your very own pre-owned cell phone at a suspiciously low price. At night, head to Maoming Nan Lu, south of Fuxing Lu, currently the epicenter of Shanghai’s young club scene. Clutch a cheap bottle of beer from the Lawson’s round the corner and enjoy the people watching. Despite all this hustle and bustle, residents continue to live in the typically laid-back, if congested, Shanghai style. Wander down Lane 987 of Huaihai Lu for a view of this lifestyle. Huaihai Lu becomes a little more relaxed around the Changshu Lu Station, except for the carnival of Huating Lu. This infamous street market is a great place for cheap clothes and brand-name knock-offs, but shopping here can be an uncomfortable exercise at the height of summer. Shanghai authorities have decided to move the stalls into a bland, air-conditioned concrete mall in the near future, so experience it while you can, and hold on to your wallet while you do. Nearby on Donghu Lu sits the Donghu Hotel, formerly an opium warehouse, a movie studio and the haunt of Du Yuesheng, Shanghai’s greatest gangster and philanthropist. Today, lesser pleasures can be obtained along Julu Lu, near Huashan Lu, where a cluster of bars of varying degrees of seediness have sprung up to serve the expat pub-going crowd. More local color can be found down maze of back alleys behind Huaihai Lu and Fuxing Lu. Enter through Fuxing Lu Lane 10, across from the park, or Huaihai Lu Lane 1412. The area around the French consulate on Huaihai Lu used to be an exclusive, upscale neighborhood, and many of the old garden mansions are still standing, though they’ve seen better days. Along Dongping Lu, however, some of these grand houses have been beautifully restored and turned into restaurants and bars where you can rest your feet and treat yourself to some of Shanghai’s reemerging international flavor.
  5. Shanghai Living met up with English teacher Susan Brooks to ask her a few general questions about living in Shanghai. Tell us a little about yourself. My name is Susan, a single 38 years old female, born and raised in London, UK to a french mother and english farther. I love learning new languages, traveling and experiencing new cultures, especially in Asia. When did you move to Shanghai and what brought you here? I moved to Shanghai in 2008 just before the Olympics, I remember as it was very difficult to obtain both tourist and working visas at this time. I came here because i have always loved traveling Asia and with China’s economic growth it has created new opportunities for teaching. Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where? I spent 3 years working and teaching in Paris but i wouldn’t call that a expat adventure and i spent 1 year in Spain working, I have traveled a lot around Asia but only worked in Shanghai. The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Shanghai ? When you are doing something for the first time, be patient and dont expect the process to be the same as back home. Research online to find support communities as there are a lot of networking groups in Shanghai which can help you answer questions and get things done. What surprised you most about Shanghai? How fast things change, buildings are built so fast, fashion changes daily, I remember once walking home from work and i walked past a shop which sold eye glasses, the next morning whilst walking to work the shop had been totally cleared and re-fitted to a very high standard and was now selling wedding photographs. What area do you live in? When i arrived i was living downtown in Jingan which is where i would call central Shanghai, but now i am living in Pudong near my workplace. If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Shanghai? In Xintiandi, but i would probably spend too much time drinking and dining if i lived there. Your favorite Chinese word or phrase you have learned so far. Huan Ying Guang Lin 欢迎光临 (Welcome) all the store assistants repeatedly say it, i sometimes even join in or hear it in my sleep, spend a day shopping in Shanghai and you will know what i mean ! Your least favorite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Shanghai. I dont even want to say ! What has been your best experience in Shanghai to date? On my Birthday, somehow my students found out when it was and arranged a class room party for me, it was very touching and reminded me why i love teaching in Shanghai. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday? I like hot places and in winter Shanghai is extremely cold so i try and escape to Thailand or the Philippines for Chinese new year. Who is the person you most miss when you are in Shanghai? I miss all my family and friends back home, but i also love the adventure and experience of living in Shanghai and having stories to tell them when i go back home. What is your favorite restaurant in Shanghai? There are hundreds of restaurants in Shanghai, I like M on the bund (when someone else is paying) but usually i try cooking and eating at home. What grocery item do you most miss from your home country? Moms cooking is what i miss the most ! most grocery items i can get in Shanghai although they can be quite pricey. When friends and family visit you in Shanghai where will you absolutely take them? First stop all of the touristy places, the Bund, Nanjing road etc.. but i would also like to bring them into my classroom and spend a day teaching and meeting the locals.
  6. I am a 36 year old Chinese who has overseas living experience, I have a small business in Shanghai with a stable income to support myself. I would like to find a older foreign man for dating that could lead to romance and eventually marriage and starting a family. Please only contact me if you are seeking the same future goals. I will be happy to provide more information about myself, lifestyle and pictures. Vivian
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