December 2018 Update

I have been too quiet on this blog. That will change next year.

What keeps me busy in Shanghai?

I meet with my Mandarin teacher (Hanyu laoshi) 1-2 times per week. It is a difficult language to learn, but I keep working at it. I spend time every day listening to native speakers…hoping to be able to understand part of what they are saying. I can usually pick out individual words, but full comprehension just isn’t there yet.

I am the board secretary for the American Club Shanghai (ACS). This is one of my volunteer positions. ACS is a great group, and I expect to take on more responsibility next year.

I am on the editorial team for Courier magazine, which is the publication of the Shanghai Expatriate Association (SEA). This also is a volunteer position. My role will change next year, and I expect that transition (top secret for now) to give me an opportunity to expand my skill set.

I play mahjong every Friday with SEA. Not only is this a fun social experience, but it is also good “exercise” for my brain as I strategize each game.

I play “may I” every Wednesday with Brits Abroad Shanghai. It is a card game similar to rummy and “phase 10.” This also is social as well as more brain exercise.

I have done some traveling. I just posted some of those stories to minnesotatoshanghai.com. I have more to post.

As a shy introvert I need to push myself constantly to find more opportunities to meet people. Making friends has been harder than I expected, but like the language, I keep working at it. ACS, SEA and Brits Abroad all offer a variety of events and activities every week.

And lately, I’ve been attending all of the parties put on by the expat groups, in addition to a few private parties also. Here some are pictures from holiday parties.

 

I made an unplanned trip back to Minnesota in November. My husband went home for emergency eye surgery. He is healing well and hopefully will get most of his vision back. Because of this trip I was able to spend Thanksgiving in the US. I really enjoyed spending time with my dad, brothers and their families.

I leave Shanghai Thursday so I can spend Christmas in Minnesota. I am very excited, but I will miss my Shanghai life, and Dave, as he is staying in China for the rest of the year.

Just before my husband flew home for his surgery his boss asked him if he’d like to extend his work in Shanghai beyond the originally planned two years. I surprised myself by immediately agreeing that we should stay longer. I agreed to this adventure because I want to see all of Asia. One more year just won’t be enough for me to do everything I want to do. There are others reasons also I think we should stay, but I will work those into more content to post here.

More to come in 2019…..

Happy holidays!!

Will I stay? Or will I go?

I moved to Shanghai, China just over a month ago.

I will be back in Minnesota next week. And then to Vegas for a long weekend. The Vegas trip was planned long ago. It is to celebrate my brother’s 50th birthday. 

I do not have a ticket to return to China. 

I left corporate America to make this move. What have I been doing with my time? Reading, writing, doing research, and trying to get used to the heat.

While I have enjoyed setting my own schedule, working for myself; there is a downside. For the first time in my adult life I am not going to an office every day. This means I really need to make an effort to meet people. There is an unofficial/unorganized 3M expat group, and I have met a few people that way.

I’ve been to events sponsored by the American Club Shanghai and the Shanghai Expat Association, but it is summer and lots of trailing spouses are back in the US. I’ve made a few acquaintances, but have not made any friends yet. I know this takes time, especially for an introvert, but spending too much time alone is one of my biggest challenges.

One of the reasons I agreed to move to China was so I could travel. I made my first trip – a long weekend in Tokyo – but Japan is suffering through abnormally high temperatures. I spent as much time inside as possible, as the heat really drains my energy. Please see my previous blog post for additional details on this trip. My next non-US trip isn’t planned yet, but I am close. G’day mate! (That is your hint.)

I brought two diet Mountain Dews with me from the US. I recently drank the first one. It was easier to forget about my habit than I thought it would be. Maybe I won’t even want to drink the other one.

I miss home. I miss my dad, my brothers, and lots of other family. I miss my dog and my cats. I miss my house and my Target. I miss my friends.

The language barrier is really frustrating. I have practiced some with my limited Mandarin. But my ability to speak a little does NOT mean I can understand what people say in response to my requests or questions. My tutor asked me this week if I wanted to learn how to read Chinese, and I rolled my eyes out loud. I need to spend more time practicing. I know this. My tutor knows this.

My first month has been a struggle. I sometimes think I am in danger of becoming a recluse, but I know as soon as the heat breaks some I will be outside as much as possible. I love the park across the street from my apartment. I love riding bikes and how easy and cheap it is to do that in Shanghai. I will get busy with the expat groups in September. There is so much more of the city that I want to explore. Fall is my favorite season, and I am excited for it arrive here.

I know I have the potential to be happy and healthy in Shanghai. I will return in late August or early September. 

The main reason I haven’t booked my next ticket back to China is because I am now missing a front tooth. (Most of it anyway – just a small, discolored nub is left – the result of knocking out the baby tooth as a child.) I tried to have my veneer replaced with a crown right before I moved here, but the new crown didn’t fit well so my dentist sent it back to the lab. Instead of delaying moving here, we decided to wait on the new tooth since I already had a trip scheduled back to Minnesota. But if that new crown doesn’t fit, I am not returning to China until I have a fully functioning tooth. I was given a temporary, but that fell out a couple of weeks ago. It is inconvenient to not have a proper front tooth.

There are things about living in Shanghai that drive me crazy, but I need to give it more time before I make a final decision.