We recently hit the one month mark of living in China. It was a tough one last week and Zane kept saying ‘It has to get better, doesn’t it?’ We still don’t have internet at our apartment which has been frustrating to not be in communication with friends and family. We finally got our passports back this morning with our residence visas in them which means we can sign up for internet tomorrow! Dealing with more administrative items, stressing about being observed at school and both of us being affected by the air quality or a poor night sleep didn’t help the matter last week. Hitting the one month mark has really helped us both mentally though.
We had a great 2 days off to rejuvenate and now this week has been better. But it really still is day to day, one of us will be up and the other down or visa versa. We suspect it will be like this for a bit longer. But to know we are not chained here and can leave whenever we please is a good feeling. Some of our co-workers are from Spain and Russia and have no choice but to be here. The unemployment rate in Spain is outrageous and we have realized many people are here teaching because they don’t have opportunity in their own countries. This makes us feel very lucky to be here by choice.
We have been reminding ourselves of the reasons we decided to do this. To live in another country and experience their culture for an extended period of time, to live in a large city, to meet new people who like to travel, to expand our skills, to experience being outside of our comfort zone to grow in character and to save money to name a few of them. We are confident these things will happen if we give it some time and patience.
For the first time last week we went salsa dancing. It is harder than you would think! We had a great time trying out our moves. We spent another fun evening at Shanghai Brewery with some of the managers from my center for a welcome dinner. My center is much more laid back and likes to have fun more than Zane’s but they have adopted him as one of us. Last night we had a team building at KTV. KTV is the most popular nightlife activity to do in China. It is karaoke in private rooms with drink and food service. No one cares if you can sing and the Chinese ladies love to belt out number after number. It turned into a dance party and was a lot of fun. Felt like we were in our twenties again.
We spent an afternoon strolling along the waterfront of the Bund on one of the rare sunny days. There is a lot of history with the first buildings of Shanghai being built in this area. We checked out the Yu Garden area, were you can buy anything Chinese; tea, silk, clothes with pandas on them, chopsticks, you name it. You can haggle on the price, which Zane has gotten good at. We got to try soup dumplings for the first time which are large dumplings that you drink the liquid out of the middle with a straw. They were delicious. We hope to post pictures of everything soon for everyone.
Big hugs to all! Thanks for everyone’s notes and emails, they really are appreciated.