Moving to Shanghai: The First Week
We stumbled off the plane bleary-eyed after a 15-hour journey that catapulted us into a new time zone. After months of waiting around for that all-important sticker (AKA a visa) to be pasted into our passports, it seemed quite surreal to finally have arrived. We managed to navigate the Shanghai Metro system successfully and find our hotel. The ‘little nap’ we decided to take at 1 pm that had us zonked out until 9 pm was a tad less successful.
It’s now a week later and we are fully adjusted to Shanghai time. It has been a whirlwind of meeting people, hunting down our schools, seeing new places and trying new things. It’s everything that comes with trying to work out how a new place works in a language you haven’t even the slightest grasp of. Though we are working on that, nĭ hăo (hello). So what are my first thoughts after moving to Shanghai?
1 ) WeChat
WeChat is love. WeChat is life. It is in China anyway.
To make up for the distinct lack of the traditional social media, the Chinese have WeChat. WeChat at its simplest is a messenger, but it does a whole host of other useful stuff. This app can be linked up to your bank account so you can use it to pay in shops. Hungry? Use it to order food. Bored? Use it to watch TV. Moving to Shanghai? Get WeChat.
2 ) Dog gatherings
This makes me happy. In the early evenings, a few times this week, I’ve seen reasonably large groups of people with their dogs gathered together, just out on the street. Just like a little dog hang out. Don’t know what its about or if its a regular thing but I’m clearly gonna have to get a dog to find out.
3 ) Dumplings. Everywhere.
You can’t move in Shanghai for dumplings. And they are so tasty! Shanghai is famous for its XiaoLongBao, or soup dumplings. They are traditionally filled with pork and steamy hot soup, so eating them can be slightly hazardous. In this week alone I’ve seen many people bite down into a dumpling to have the soup violently shoot towards some unlucky bystander. I think the trick is to bite a small hole and suck the soup out first!
4 ) Nowism
A guy I met this week who has already been in Shanghai a while introduced me to this term. Seeing as we have only been here a week and we already completely understand the concept says a lot. Nowism is the idea that giving people advanced notice of things is unimportant. A good example is being given a weekend load of classes to teach on Friday evening. Luckily it is a concept that we are used to after living in Vietnam, where they also follow Nowism.
5 ) It’s not as crowded as I had anticipated
As the worlds most populated city with 24 million people living here, I was expecting the crowds to be really bad. It was the metro that I thought we might suffer on, but so far I haven’t found it much different to the London underground.