It's about time I gave you an update on Shanghai so far. This will mostly be about 'life' here. In my newsletter at the beginning of September, I'll give an update on 'work' stuff. Okay, I realize that I've been here for 7 weeks now and the title of this post should actually be "Shanghai | Month One-point-five", but I've been meaning to write it for the last 2 weeks, so...close enough.
In short, life in Shanghai so far has been busy, interesting, challenging, and fun.
I arrived on the evening of July 4 and immediately started up with an intensive Mandarin language course the next morning, which lasted for four weeks. The class moved really fast and I learned quite a lot for such a small period of time. My ability to communicate with people is still obviously very minimal, but the few words I know have definitely helped me get around town a little easier, and I'm learning every day as I go along.
The first several weeks here, I was staying at the home of the Zielke's, a generous CISS (Concordia International School Shanghai) teacher couple. They live close to CISS, which is located in an area of Shanghai called 'Pudong' and is on the opposite side of the city from where my class was located. Shanghai is split by the Huangpu River into two main areas: Puxi and Pudong. The names literally mean 'west of the Huangpu' (Puxi) and 'east of the Huangpu' (Pudong).
In addition to Mandarin class last month, I also spent time searching for a suitable permanent apartment. I was successful! I found a great place with two bedrooms and an office, which is perfect since I'll be working from home this year. I've been here in the apartment for a few weeks and have been searching for a roommate to take the second bedroom. That search is over too; if all works out as planned, Ryan (a Canadian English teacher) should move in at the beginning of September.
About a block and a half away from my building, there is this great little local shopping corner, where I grab essentials, like:
Just to the south and to the east from my neighborhood is the "French Concession", where the French settled when Shanghai was developing into a global commercial center in the mid-1800s. It's one of Shanghai's more pleasant areas, with tree-lined streets, nice architecture, and a lot of great restaurants and bars. This is a few blocks south from my building:
I'm also happy to say that I've found a nice English church to attend. It's not too far from my building; I can get there on my bike in about 15 minutes. It's one of the few English congregations in the city, so it is a large community and the services are typically filled to capacity.
Between folks from church, from class, and from my co-worker Josie's network, I am meeting a lot of people, making new friends, and making good connections. My experience here in Shanghai has really been a pleasant surprise. I'm enjoying life here so far and am excited by the opportunities for the year ahead.
Stay tuned for some more specific 'work' news in a week or so.