*I began this post in 2019 while I was still in Shanghai. As of now, February 22, I am in the United States because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and I do not know when I will be going home!
Moving to China
Frankly, just arriving in Shanghai was a *moment* because I took a leap of faith and moved half way across the world. I knew a little bit about China, the culture and life in the country but there were so many moments that I had to get used to. It hasn’t been an easy move, if I’m being honest, but I’m glad that I told myself to take this leap. In the long run, it has taught me so much about me and what I’m capable of.
Visiting the Great Wall of China
I still can’t believe that I’ve had this experience! This will stay with me for the rest of my life and I’m beyond excited to see what else I’m going to experience here! I wrote all about it here if you want more information about that trip!
Living Away From What is Normal
I would be lying if I told you that social media wasn’t a big part of my life. Even though I’m not always on apps on my phone, I do enjoy the access I have to Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. It allows me to connect to friends and family from all over the world and it was easy access to information. Coming to China and equipped with a VPN, I was fascinated to see how a culture that isn’t seeped in the Western social media functions in their own way. Even though Twitter and Instagram aren’t used in China, Chinese people have developed their own form of social media.
Using Your Phone for Everything
I was shocked to see how much people in China do on their phone. Since moving to Shanghai in September, I have effectively stepped using a card to pay for anything. The only time I have the card in my wallet is when I have to go to the bank. I pay for food and shopping and just about anything else through popular Chinese apps and it’s very consentient. I do have thoughts about how easy it would be for hacker to access your identification through your phone but the strict control the government has on all areas of life, I can understand how people don’t mind.
The Work Ethic is Very Different
This was something that I was aware of because it is very similar to how people view work in India but I have realized that I’m not made for it. I work full time but I work incredibly hard to not bring work home. I know many people work extra hours, do work at home, and do other tasks that aren’t asked of them but I’ve come to learn that I’m not like that.
Public Trasnprotaiton Should Be In All Cities and Afforable
I love public transportation and I will miss this if I decide to go back home to South Carolina after my time here. I love the ability to get on the metro and go anywhere I want to. I know that New York City has had a lot of issues about the subway not being affordable there which is not an issues I thought I’d be so passionate about. When a city has an affordable public transportation, it allows people from all socioeconomic backgrounds to be able to commute especially if it might be their only form of transportation.
Food is Cheap but Not Always Accessible
It has been really hard for me to eat as a vegetarian in this city but otherwise, food is cheap in China. If there’s one thing my friends love about the country is the accessibility of food they are able to enjoy. It might also be because I can’t eat salads and other such things that I find it so hard to eat in China. Thus far, some of my favorite places have all been western restaurants and non-Chinese cuisine.