Sunday, March 5, 2017


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China. You might have heard a certain TV host and president* talk at great length about my new home. People have asked me if I’m dealing with culture shock but my time in Thailand has prepared for me for what I’ve gotten myself into. China.

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I’m as surprised as you are. Things escalated very quickly. One day I’m applying for jobs in Ontario and a few days later I’m on a flight to Shanghai. Why? (direct flights people!) Full time work as a high school English teacher with flights and apartment paid for and the ability to save enough money to get myself out of a little financial jam I willingly got myself into the last ten years. If you gradually spend even a little more money that you earn each year, it really gets you BUT we will stay positive and make a plan. I’ve never particularly cared about saving money due to the fact that I’ve never really made any significant amount of money at any of the jobs I’ve had but I feel like I missed the point in high school. Like DMX says, “Life ain’t a track meet, it’s a marathon.” I felt like I needed a few home runs to become financially well off when I should have been trying for singles, doubles and even the occasional bunt. If only my dad would have warned me and try to instill a love of saving in me…..

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Well we can get rid of one of those jars

I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty of my plan to become a financial mogul or my dreams of becoming a minimalist (ok the second one you will be hearing about) but I will let you into the window that is Shanghai. I live about 35k outside of the core in a rich suburb called Fengxian. I have a two bedroom, one bath, kitchen and decent sized living room that I rock alone and is a nice glimpse into a future of living and dying alone that is unfolding in front of me. I’m on the second floor which helps me avoid taking the smoked filled elevator each morning and evening. Did you know that smoking is still a thing? I come home sometimes reeking of smoke; not the best. My apartment is about a 10 minute drive to the school and there is a van that takes me and a few other teachers to the school every day. I’m looking at bikes to buy because it is healthier and I’m like a little kid who needs a bike to feel independent and not trapped. There are a few malls and cheap places to eat $2-3 dinner nearby. We live right by a river but I can only assume it would mean instant death going within a few meters of it. It isn’t as serious or a strict as I imagined mainland China being which has been a positive development.

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I go to Shanghai proper on the weekends which ends up taking just under an hour depending on how I get into the city but the bus is cheap cheap but good good so that looks like the way I will be entering the city from here on out. There are essentially zero other non-Chinese people in my suburb but certainly thousands more in real Shanghai. Not a ton but definitely a presence. I played lacrosse for the first time Saturday and I’m thinking about making it part of my Saturday morning routine. I’d get to learn a new sport and have access to a huge amount of expats which I am in desperate need of due to the fact that I may or may feel quite lonely. Again, good practice for what is coming.

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My initial thoughts on the food are not spectacular. I found a few dishes I like and my Instragram is quickly looking more and more like an Insta foodie personality but I will try to reign that in in the coming weeks. I think it’s easy to like China but I feel like it might be a hard country to fall in love with. Things I need:
3-Possibly Lacrosse equipment
4-A basketball
That doesn’t seem unreasonable, right?

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What else, what else…? Apparently you shouldn’t drink the water. There’s no Uber here but something less fun and less convenient instead. Buildings exist but many are empty and a few security measure seem only for show. Using Google and Instagram and other sites is a major pain because I need to pay for a VPN and it takes just a few extra minutes each time but that is going to slowly build all my rage that will be unleashed on an undeserving soul. Oh and I’m on my way to being famous:

There’s a Disney amusement park here that I will be sure to be writing a post about. It is my understanding it is illegal to gamble here which might explain why so many guests are in the Niagara Falls casinos. There aren’t any country bars here. Sad face. Bands come here. Some alcohol is supposedly fake which worries me. China is massive and very close to my one true love, Thailand. I may or may not have my next 4 vacations planned out. I was under the impression I had a slight affinity for ladies from this part of the world; I was incorrect. Shanghai has 14 metro lines. 14. 

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 I’m not far from going on a YouTube deep dive on wedding proposal videos. Not being able to speak, write or understand Chinese is going to be an issue. Being back in a place with cheap massages and beard shaves is refreshing. I heard that there is a pretty good wall around here that I should go find when I have the time. Ping Pong is no joke here. I like the show Riverdale more than I care to admit. 

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I enjoy going to work and I’m happy that I’m here. I need a routine and to eat more fruit and be more active but my sleep and reading levels are high and I’m cautiously optimistic I’m in the right place. China.

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"The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you."

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