Well, hello there!
I’m won’t lie, I’ve been thinking about how to start my very first blog with Urban Family for about two months now and settled on that opening sentence so I hope you’re impressed. And if you’re not, you should pretend to be to save my feelings, because now that we’re friends, that’s what you should do. You know, just so we start off on the right foot.
My family and I moved to Shanghai in January 2013. I would like to say that I arrived with big bright eyes ready and eager to face a brand new day with my (at the time) one kid, Kai, and husband, Ben, who were just as ready and eager as I was to leap into this crazy new life experience we had ahead of us. Instead it went a little more like this:
Ben: Are you going to throw up?
Me: I think so…no…yeah, I think so.
Ben: Is this morning sickness throw up or general nervousness throw up?
Kai: Mommy be sick!
Me: Did our driver just hit a pole in the parking lot!?
Me: Are we supposed to get in that car?!?!?!
Kai: We go home now!!
I was about seven weeks pregnant when we arrived with my second son Oren. Although I was excited to be here, I felt like all I wanted to do was roll up into a ball in bed with the covers over my head, have someone feed me bread products, and then GO AWAY!
I remember being bewildered by this big grey city, full of people that spoke a really difficult language that I had no idea how to navigate. All my life I had lived in Toronto, Canada, so I mean, I’m used to cities, but never had I lived in somewhere so absolutely sprawling - and confusing.
My first few weeks here were tough and i found myself asking the following questions:
Why do I have to shop at three different places to get my groceries done?
Look a Walmart! Oh no, don't go in that Walmart!!!!
How much did I just pay for carrots?
Look cheap milk! What do you mean don’t drink the local milk? I've been feeding that to Kai for a week!
Learning some sort of elaborate sign language to communicate with my driver cause whatever we’re doing right now is NOT working.
Where. Am. I?
Now, after being here for a year and a half, I have to say I’ve got things down, and I finally know how much to pay for carrots. So, if you’re just arriving here at the start of the school year, know that you’re not alone in your confusion and it will get better. Give it time, walk around, and talk to other expats. Seriously, I once struck up a candid conversation with a woman about tampons! I never saw her again…but all I’m saying is you have to put yourself out there! Pretty soon navigating the Shanghai landscape will be much easier…not simpler…man, never simpler, but easier.
I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to be sharing my thoughts and experiences with you and hear back from you in the comments! Man, I can’t wait to come up with an even BETTER opening line. I’m a professional. Until next week!