Building a life in Shanghai

All buildings need a good foundation. This is what I have done to start my foundation for a good life in Shanghai:

VPN – I set this up before leaving the US. I think it is essential for American expats who want access to all sites that you can use at home. #greatfirewall

Apartment- DH’s company provided excellent assistance with this overwhelming task. We looked at 8 properties, and ended up choosing the first one we saw. It isn’t on a high floor, as recommended by others, but it is elegant and the view is of the park across the street, instead of another high-rise.

SIM – Our interpreter took us to China Mobile to get a local phone number. Plans are different from what we have in the US; the biggest difference, so far, is that many plans don’t include text/SMS because everyone here uses WeChat.

Bank – Our interpreter also helped us at the bank. There are still things we are trying to figure out, such as transferring money from the US.

And now that DH has his Chinese bank account, he can get paid! But this also allowed us to set up Alipay. I will cover this in a separate post, but know that buying things here is easier with Alipay. US credit card are not accepted at most places.

The Bund

The list of “must see” places in Shanghai is short. My travel “bible” is the book “1000 places to see before you die.” I track my progress against that list here:

The Bund is one of two places listed for Shanghai, China. It might be the most photogenic place in Shanghai.

I arrived at sunset, which was lovely; but I’ve heard sunrise is even better.

I think it will be my favorite place to walk.

I’ve seen lots of other pictures of the Bund, but what surprised me the most was the river traffic.

I live near the Mississippi River in St Paul. I’ve stayed on the Thames in London, the Seine in Paris and traveled the Danube river. I have never seen so much boat traffic on a river anywhere else. And I was shocked at how fast some of the barges were going.

I love to kayak. I asked a friend before arriving in Shanghai if I could kayak on the river. She laughed, and now I know why.

After seeing the Huangpu river night I had a funny vision in my head of kayaking “frogger-style” across the river – and losing.

I look forward to exploring both sides of the river.

Chinese Medical Exam

If you are going live in China for more than one year you must submit for a medical exam. They did the following tests:


Eye exam

Ultrasound of liver/stomach?

Blood draw

Blood pressure

Chest X-ray

Health questionnaire


I asked several people about the purpose of these tests; and got a variety of answers. It would make sense to look for communicable diseases, such as HIV and tuberculosis.

I am not sure I passed the eye exam, but I won’t be driving so perhaps it doesn’t matter.

What are they looking for?

How did this happen?

I am moving to Shanghai, China. How? Why?

I have long dreamed of living, at least part time, in Paris, France. But I never actually believed I would leave the US to live anywhere else; much less a country I have never visited before – China.

DH works for 3M and has traveled to China (Korea and other places) many times over the years. I met him in Singapore once, but was never excited about visiting China.

He started looking, within 3M, for a different job, and this 2-year assignment basically fell in his lap. I’ve known for years that he wanted an overseas assignment, but those were getting more and more rare. It costs a company a great deal of money to transfer an employee from the US to another country.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime.

I know that, but it took me several months to get on board with moving to Shanghai. And, I am still not sure I am really there yet; but more to come on that.  I leave Friday for a short visit.