First Couple of Days in Shanghai

This is my first time out of the country by myself and also living by myself, which was a terrifying prospect. The flight was long and mostly smooth sailing for 13 hours except for 5 minutes of death when we were over Japan and the plane hit severe turbulence. After landing, I began to freak out about the next two months. What was I going to do? How was I going to get around? My internship was outside of the city and there wasn’t a metro line near where I was staying, so I was going to have to learn how to use the bus system, which are notoriously confusing. The company where I was interning had someone pick me up her name is Gao Xiao (高晓). She does not speak English, and that is when I realized that my language skills that I learned in Chinese class were inadequate to have a conversation with her and we ended up using our phone to translate back and forth. I found it difficult because she used phrases and words  that I did not know, but I learned a different way to say it. We managed to eat hot pot after my flight and go shopping all while dragging my suitcase around. Because I just flew 13 hours and I don’t know very many Chinese characters my first meal consisted of chicken gizzards and cow intestines and some vegetables. They had an interesting rubbery texture. It was not the worst tasting food that I have eaten, but I would not order it again. We then dragged my suitcase through the street to the grocery store to buy a few daily necessities. The company had sheets and blankets already ready for me. After dinner and the short shopping trip we arrived at my apartment. My room was on the fifth floor, which is the top floor, and we both managed to drag my suitcase up the stairs because the complex does not have an elevator. After that Gao Xiao left and I immediately fell asleep. 

My apartment consists of a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. The kitchen only has a sink and a refrigerator and freezer, so I plan on eating out a lot. The bathroom has a washing machine, a sink, a toilet, and a shower, but the entire bathroom is used to take a shower. When I took a shower for the first time, I was not exactly sure how to position the shower head and ended up getting water everywhere in the bathroom. The apartment has A/C, but it took a while to get it to work because I did not have the remote and I had to ask my boss at work to come with me to pick it up from the apartment office.


Bathroom in my apartment.











On my first full day in Shanghai, I woke up at 2 AM because of the time difference, and I went on a walk at 5 AM around the community that I am living in. There were only a few people up and it was rather cold in the morning as I walked around to find the company’s building. Below are pictures of my apartment complex. The top left picture is a garden where they are growing food between buildings and is one of many around the complex. Many of the people living in the apartment complex were farmers, and I learned from one of my co-workers that if there is an open space they will make it into a garden. I also learned that the gardens are not allowed, but because there are so many of them and the residents just keep making them the apartment management does not do anything about it.  The top right picture is of a street inside the complex. The bottom picture is the street in front of my building. My apartment building is the building on the left. 

One of the many mini gardens in my apartment complex.

A street in my apartment complex with gardens on the left and right.











My apartment building is on the left












I am outside of the city by quite a bit. I am about 40 minutes away by car and about 1 hour away by public transportation. There are no metro stations near me and I have to take buses to get to the nearest grocery store and nearest metro station, which I figured out how to use with the help of Gao Xiao who helped me get to the grocery store. Because if I went by myself I would have been very confused. Before my colleague helped me to the grocery store, I tried to find a grocery store by myself and I wandered around trying to find one, but with no luck. I did get to see another neighborhood and had more chances for people to stare at me. Below are photos of my adventure.

Canal near my apartment

Exercise equipment in a neighborhood near my apartment complex