Holy crap people! We are in Shanghai. It’s been wild but we getting settled.
Kyle and I arrived on during one of the hottest periods in 140 years in Shanghai. It was over 40 degrees Celsius and we were lugging our bags across the city. We arrived at our “University Hotel” which was not a hotel at all (not surprised). The hotel was a dirty-ish room with two beds and bathroom. It was great to have a place to go and lay our heads without worrying about where to do that, but we knew we had to find an apartment. We looked at four or five apartments and settled on one about a 25-minute metro ride from our university. It is more centrally located and is a nice light-filled apartment. Viewing apartments was like being on the poorest House Hunters International show.
Our landlord is of course Chinese and while we were negotiating (one young, real estate agent spoke English, so he helped a lot!) I kept thinking about all the bad stories I’ve heard about China. How things are fake, how you’ll get screwed over, etc., etc.…..so I was doubtful that the deal would go through. We made negotiations, gave them a small deposit and were to come back the next day to sign the lease and pay rent and another deposit. We came back the next day with stacks of cash because we don’t have a Chinese bank yet. Stacks because when renting in China you need a lot of money – a month deposit plus three months rent, plus the agent fee…ouch! So we were loaded with money and I was positive we were going to get robbed, but we signed the lease, handed over the money and obtained the keys. The apartment was ours! We moved in and a few days after I kept thinking that if we left, our apartment would be gone when came back (again too many bad stories about China), but our apartment is still here and seems pretty legit (knock on wood).
Food. I feel like I’m on a diet and I don’t want to be. And thank the heavens for Cliff bars. For the first few days food was a little iffy to find. Kyle and I ate some street food and he got especially sick, I was just a little sick. So we ate some more Cliff bars. We have gotten adventurous and tried some more street food/very small restaurants and haven’t gotten sick again. I ate a “beef” dumpling but it tasted too gamey to be beef – it actually tasted a bit like taco meat and I was weird out/blown away while eating it. I didn’t think I’d be eating a taco meat filled bun while in Asia. The good thing is there are a lot of Western options too; the bad-ish part is that you can order online and they deliver to your door so I would never have to leave the house – this is bad for the “diet”. So, don’t worry we are not starving although we are out of Cliff bars.
It’s been an adventure this last week and it will be in the future. I just wanted to give everyone a quick update and let you know I’m not dead and neither is Kyle. We have started school (Concordia) and we also start teaching soon (Monday for Kyle, Tuesday for me).
We will call and/or email soon. Love you ALL!
P.S. Photos to come soon (or sometime…)