Week 13 – Chinese with … 

3 april 2015

Got into a taxi, and gave it my best effort – but the driver just didn’t understand the address I was telling him to go. I tried, I tried. A common approach is to give them the lukou (you’ll hear them ask “shenme lukou?”) ; but it didn’t work. I just heard him repeat my words without going anywhere. So I show him on a map. No use, the man was 55 (wu shi wu) – his eyes couldn’t read such small letters; and when I tried to zoom in, the letters just stayed the same small size. So repeat, repeat… He had particular trouble with my flawless pronunciation of Shangcheng Lu. “Shangcheng Lu?” – “Yes, Shangcheng Lu”.. Until finally by some stroke of luck he understood finally… “Aahaaaa – poetseng lu; sanseng lu!” (Is what it sounded like to me.) I guess the confusion is not just due to my pronunciation skills though ; the man was Shanghainese – he may speak a dialect… Finally we got on our way. When we pulled up into Shancheng Lu, I managed to indicate he should stop at the gate on the right. Then came the kicker… “Ah, Ju Yuan!” … The darned “chefu” (driver) knew the name of the compound! I should just have told him that instead of struggling to make him understand “sansung lu”… We live and learn!

Also had a Chinese class this week – my second – after 3 months. Review and testing of the vocabulary I had been studying – practicing pronunciation (don’t just say “dianyingyuan” to a cinema whichever way you like – use the correct tones!) and some interesting conversation about the written language, the tea culture of China,… And new knowledge on how numbers and time should be said… Too bad it was over so soon – I quite enjoyed sitting outside in the 20-25 degrees sunshine, thinking only about Mandarin.

All thanks to Jason and the Shanghainese taxi driver who shall forever remain nameless to me.

Week 12 – Parks & Recreation

2 april 2015

Honestly, most I can remember about this week is the nice weather ; waking up one early morning (6:30 AM here while I was used to 8:30 AM back in BE) , and taking my time to walk to a bakery for some fresh croissants, dropping by a coffee shop for not-just-any-coffee. (matcha coffee?? – look it up) Sure I spent the rest of that day in the office, but the tone for the rest of the week was set. Although, there was this brief intermission of rainfall one evening too, just that one when I was in Puxi at an Internations (expats etc) event – it’s a bit more of a challenge to get a hold of a taxi under those weather conditions. (Even more so when I can’t use this taxi app I have on my phone (not Uber); because .. Ugh, my phone bill hadn’t been paid; service was shut off.)

The weekend was nice nice nice; nice enough for sure to venture out into some farther reaches of the city and explore some of its parks.

I thought I had heard something interesting about Fuxing Island, which isn’t much of an island really, it is only separated by a small channel from the mainland. I saw there was a small park – so decided to visit it. I should have read this bit in advance.. The park is small indeed, and not many people go there – I guess exactly because it is small, and in the middle of an industrial area. Took me longer to get there than to walk around the park basically – but, undeterred, I set forth towards another park – that was Yangpu Park. Quite a bit bigger, and (much) more crowded. The crowds were gathered mostly in little and bigger clumps around the park, each of them centered around someone performing a usually singing, but also people dancing to the song & music. You can see some pictures below; but I ought to post some video to, really.

       

On Sunday, more of the same – nice weather that is – and park visits. I only managed the one park though, to the north of the city ; Gongqing Forest Park. The pictures below may not showit, but this was actually a pretty eventful park – lots of people flying kites, lots of people taking boat rides on the center lake, others having a stroll, then some picknicking – but the main sense of crowdedness came from having to make way for the trolley cars that I came across on the major paths ; and them sounding their horns. They were all carrying future brides & grooms and their entourage – going whichever direction the wedding photographer wanted them to go; you see below one photographer got a happy couple to pose on the ledge separating the park from the river. In some ways a pretty sight; in others not so.

      

   

On the way back home I got a little hungry; and when I saw a group of people all waiting around this one barbecue, I just had to take a look! I managed to order, and get served. Though service was a bit slow, people – including myself – didn’t really mind – sometimes you just have to wait your turn, and apparently some of the people queuing had ordered some 20 satays easily. And while new meat kept getting sliced and pronged, the city’s hustle and bustle just kept going on around us. I could have stayed longer to just see this scene further unfold, but decided I should just continue my march homeward. I don’t recall what happened afterwards… A good night’s sleep, for sure!

  

Week 11 – S is for ..

22 maart 2015

Studying, again. Just a little bit more seriously too, this time. Meticulously copying and comparing Chinese characters, remembering and understanding them. I already told some about the character for “him” (他), now here’s the one for “her” -  她 - how similar! And if you recall what I wrote about 好 (“good”) you can so easily remember “her”! – On to other pronouns, I got particularly intrigued with the character for “I” or “me” - 我 – and noticed some similarity with 钱 (“money”) … Digging deeper into my trusty translation app (Pleco) I find that they do build up from the same radical, but it’s hard to understand how 戈 – dagger/axe/spear/lance.. ever became part of “money”. For “me” it’s a lot more obvious; the other part to 我 is 手 – “hand”. So we have a hand holding a dagger/… Who’s holding it? Well I better hope it’s “me”! Sure I won’t forget that character now!

Sunday tea, too. A nice walk around Jing’an Park and into the French Concession ; and a stop for some well-deserved tea. Only wished it wasn’t English tea – ah well. Maybe at my next stop it won’t!

  

Week 11 – Fresh

21 maart 2015

- Spring is here! – Didn’t look like it would, but it really has arrived.

- Finally visited the nearby food marketplace – and bought some stuff too, obviously. Understood the numbers they mentioned (as in how much I had to pay) but next time I ought to be able to say some too! There’s no fun in just pointing, picking and paying.

- Recognizing more characters (when walking past a school it’s quite normal to see 学 – “xué” because that’s “school”), and learning a few more words (手机 – “shǒujī” – “mobile phone”) , but might soon want to go for a more structured approach to learning… That said, I am watching a Chinese movie, with Chinese subtitles. Can’t say I understand much, but it’s good practice nonetheless, trying to put sounds to characters – and finding many characters are recurring. It’s an action movie of sorts, set in the 19th century – if that helps you imagine anything. Wait, here, it’s “Rise of the legend” with Eddie Peng as Huang Feihung … A folk hero martial art grandmaster if the Wikipedia article is anything to go by.

- Home delivery ; a must-have skill? It sure is made easy by Sherpa’s (www.sherpa.com.cn), delivering from a number of restaurants in the vicinity – I’ll be getting some Nepalese food delivered shortly.

- Tea … Oh let me write about that another time, Sherpa’s at the door!

Week 10 – study

15 maart 2015

Pollution strikes the city – a good time to stay inside and catch up on some movies that I have amassed over the past month. I enjoyed Whiplash – and with 4 down, there’s still 4 to go now .. It’s tempting .. But on the other hand I also really want to spend some more time on studying Chinese (from the textbook) – and pay a little more attention to the characters too, because they are simply fascinating.

Consider for example 火车 , meaning “train”. The first character is actually “fire”.. so I come across it quite often – as here in the building on the fire hose/hydrant. The second character is for “vehicle” (and even that is actually composed of two characters it seems). Well now, what vehicle might have been so closely associated with fire? The train of course!



So 火车 .. train.

What about 好 (hǎo), meaning “good”? I see two components here … The first is 女 (nǚ) for woman. The second is 子 (zi). This last one also reminds me of 王子 (wángzǐ), meaning “prince” or more literal, “king son”. So what does that make 好 ? Woman and son? Is that indeed the picture we should see when we think about what is “good”? Wow – mind blown!

Here’s another one: 他 (tā). I recognize the character is really 亻and 也. The first one is a form of 人 (rén), indicating we’re referring to a person or to people, and the second (yě) meaning “also/too” (and other things too). So put them together, we’re talking about someone else; another person? Yes, 他 (tā) means “him”!

I’m having so much more fun figuring out and remembering these characters in addition to learning the pinyin versions (what I provided between parentheses in the examples above). That does mean progress is slow.. but there’s no rush, so we’re all good!

Week 10 – good and better

12 maart 2015

Good: was just walking down Pucheng Lu towards Camel bar on Weifang Lu, when I spotted an iPhone 6 on the pavement and a City Super Gold membership card. No hesitation, picked it up – and thought of ways I could try to figure out the owner’s identity to inform them of the phone’s whereabouts. Why bother though, when I just had to wait for someone to call and explain to the caller that the owner could come retrieve it at Camel bar. Then I realized the phone was set up in Chinese and I might not be able to explain the situation to whoever was calling – so, thanks to the helpful staff at Camel the owner showed up 30 mins later and was pleased to find her precious safe and sound. Good job!

Better: I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather these past two weeks – a cold of some sorts – it didn’t help to sleep so little (compared to what I’m used to) but looks like I’m finally pulling through – together with my pals “tea” and “honey” I’m sure I’ll beat this!

Week 10 (intermezzo) - Kěyǐ?

9 maart 2015

Jumping ahead a few weeks here, just to share the amazing sense of accomplishment after having dropped off some shirts to be ironed and – here’s the deal – it was all done in Chinese! (Apalling Chinese for sure, but nonetheless – it’s another small step!)

Week 5-6-7? – Xin Nian Hao!

2 maart 2015

Spacetime is warped in Shanghai – I can’t think of any other reason February is already gone.. Surely back where you are everyone is still enjoying February! Whatever the case may be, here’s an update on what’s been going on..

Week 5: mostly work 

Week 6: mostly work

Ow that doesn’t sound very nice, does it? Well, it is nice and exciting work! I’m just not going to divulge much of what’s happening there – this is a place for non-work-related experiences (or borderline). Still, yes, besides work and sleep I’ve also definitely discovered/done something else in those two weeks.

Here, for example, from week 5, is a screenshot of the Baidu live capture translation of the user manual to my Baidu Shadow Stick – a Chromecast-like device – i.e. HDMI dongle.

I noticed only after an hour that I had been looking at the side with instructions for setup on an Android device while I was trying to connect with my iPhone… Ugh – well, you live and you learn! – Then it has taken me at least an evening to understand how to access the builtin streaming apps, how to use tablet/phone as remote control, how to … use it. I’ve yet to figure out how to store some videos on it so that I can play them directly off the device.. Probably I just have to hook it up as USB device and transfer the files the old fashioned way… Anyway it’s working fine!

(Ok – have been writing this in the taxi on the way to work… Now I’m at the office I wonder how long before I manage to finish this post.) 

(Back at home after a long day’s work.)

What else, what else.. Oh in week 6 I went to a Taekwondo class – just as a spectator, to get a feel for it. I need to get some exercise pretty soon or I’ll explode from all the great/exciting/curious food that you can find here.

I also had some Chinese yoghurt – a bigger barrier than you’d think – dairy products are dangerous! It came with a spoon that wells too short to reach the bottom – and it’s a glass bottle.. I wonder where the empty bottle went too; it seems everything just goes into either the ‘recyclable’ and ‘non-recyclable’ bin. I hate to think of the person who might have to sift through the garbage and re-sort or further refine the separation…

And then … The big moment… 

Week 7: mostly holiday – Chinese Spring Festival (incl Chinese New Year) and my youngest older brother visiting!

Look! On New Year’s Eve we went for dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel (Pudong) – the same buffet basically as on Sunday brunch, except for these tasty aptly decorated desserts and the typical red envelopes (‘hongbao’, look it up) on the table (with chocolate coins inside).

Then there was the firework… Enjoyed a great view of Shanghai from a friend’s apartment – and as I went home there were still many bangs to be heard.

All I saw though were the scattered remnants of what must surely have been a hell of a lot of bangs… And just outside my compound, the people were cleaning it up already.

The next day I started wishing everyone ‘Xin Nian Hao!’ (Happy New Year) – went for a walk and a drink… Laid back! I think I might even have gone to a jazz club later on that evening. Smooth! (Fast Train reference)

The day after we made our own dumplings – well, the dough and the stuffing were bought from the market – we just joined the two in holy matrimony and sealed the deal by boiling some and frying others.

De-li-cious!

There were also some other ‘typical’ Chinese treats – and of course I tried some! 

Still, the real treat was my brother visiting – I’ll get into more detail on that in a separate post. Here’s just a teaser..

 

:-)

明天见!

Youku 1

5 februari 2015

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XODc1NTE2MDcy.html?x

ik weet niet hoe ik dat kan embedden
of omschrijven
bekijk het maar gewoon

“Little Apple” by Chopstick Bros

Week 4 – Forget about it

5 februari 2015

Oops! Forgot to post an update this weekend!

Well, let’s say perhaps I’m keeping in line with my “lucky” streak of forgetting things. Let me explain..

Last Monday, I take the last metro that left at Jinhai Road station, which is only a brisk 20 minutes walking from the office. My transportation card (Shanghai’s down-to-earth name for an Oyster Card) is in my wallet, so I took my wallet out to enter the station. The train (do you call it a train?) is already there, so I get in, sit down and enjoy the ride to Jufeng Road while reading up on the latest news from Belgium (hey, have you spotted any military in Antwerp yet? – sigh). I get out at Jufeng Road, as that’s where I need to transfer to Line 6 (as if you care, well – I’m writing it down anyway) – and just when I reach the top of the stairs I notice something’s gone awfully wrong. Where’s my wallet? I didn’t know then if I had forgotten it myself or if was slyly taken from me by the person sitting next to me – as it’s just as likely for me to just have carried it in my coat pocket as having put it beside me on the seat – careless. By the time I had ascertained I definitely didn’t have it on me anymore, the train (I’m calling it that) – the last train for the day – had already left for the next station. My last and only refuge was to approach someone of the Shanghai Metro (SHMetro – great name) … who doesn’t really speak English, nor Chinglish. He keeps apologizing for not understanding while I was not particularly happy having to explain again and again – a colleague of his sort of understood what was going on but I couldn’t make sense of the feedback I was giving. At one point he was pointing at a map, indicating I should go to the next station – and I interpreted it as ‘sorry, we can’t help you – you can report your lost property at the next station’ – which seemed of little use to me. Finally another colleague approached and her English was amazing. She told me ‘everything is ok. we found your wallet, you can go pick it up at the next station’ – what a relief! – next challenge then was that there were no more trains to the next station that evening and I didn’t have enough money on me to make it home by taxi to then go pick it up the next day. Ah – but wait – that next station is still open and nearby – she gave me 20 RMB and helped me catch a taxi to Donglu Road. Obviously I just happen to get a taxi driver who doesn’t know where to go – even after he had received instruction from the SHMetro lady. Good thing I can show him on my phone where he needs to go. We do finally arrive and when I approach the customer service desk to ask ‘do you have a black wallet?’ just for a second I think she’s not going to understand or know anything about a wallet – but she says ‘yes, wait one minute’ ; calls a colleague and as he’s walking I see my precious in his hands – I pull out my camera to snap this picture. Then we laugh and laugh and all go home with a good story to tell.

image

But wait, didn’t I say I was on a streak of forgetfulness? Yes, I did… What started me off happened when I had just moved into my apartment here – really, only 1 hour after. It was a Saturday, must have been the 10th. (That reminds me, rent is due.) I went out for a stroll, checking the area – to the bank, depositing some EUR, and to the nearby metro station to then withdraw some – yes even forgot to do that while I was at the bank. As I leave the metro, on my way home, I notice I’ve no longer got the entry card to the compound. I had used it to exit the gate, so surely I had lost it somewhere! After only 1 hour, can you imagine? What do you do – well you retrace your steps, obviously.. walked back to the bank – where they luckily speak English – but no luck there, nothing was found. Around the block to the compound gate and scanning every square cm of pavement for a white plastic card, nothing nothing nothing. Last hope, the ATM at the metro station. As I approach it… I can’t believe it, it’s right there!

Hey, 2 cases don’t make a streak! You’re right, it takes 3, at least. So what about the Sunday of week 2? I had bought a new rucksack the day before at the fake market at the ‘Science and Technology’ metro station. Out I go, for a quick walk, getting something to eat and to buy some dvds. I didn’t realize until the next morning that I had taken the bag with me and forgot to take it with me from the Ajisen Ramen noodle place nearby. Didn’t even occur to me when I bought those dvds later on. Luckily on Monday I realized, and in the evening I went back.. “have you seen a brown rucksack?” is what I had Google translate for me ; I show it to a staff member and there it is : they instantly recognize what I mean and a mere 10 seconds later I’m reunited with my bag.

Surely this is enough to call it a streak, right? Well, I can add one more! Latest occurence was this Tuesday (yes, the day after the wallet incident), when I had been working late in the office. I left at 9:30 PM, just in time to catch the metro. One hour later I finally reach home, and notice I don’t have my key on me.. forgot it at the office! – Well, solution here was simple – back to the office, explain to the taxi driver I’d also need him to wait and drive me back, explain to security what I’m waking him up for and fetch my key. By the time I get home it’s nearly midnight. Ugh.

Today was fine – but who knows how long before I manage to add another episode? I try my best not to let that happen!

Week 3 – wwwhere?

26 januari 2015

Another week has passed – time for a brief update!

While things at work start getting serious (bringing our Australian company live on AX and working out plans to do the same for any other ones in Asia-Pacific that currently aren’t), let me keep the focus this post on something else: IT & electronics.

The apartment has a nice Chinese tv (SkyWorth), but no DVD player, no cable (for Chinese TV), so all I could see was a nice blue screen. Now while I didn’t bring anything with me from Belgium to watch, there sure are evenings when I’ll just want to sit back and relax (in the sofa which has now gotten its new covers last Saturday!) with a good movie or show. Problem is getting that content, and getting it to the TV screen. I did bring a ChromeCast with me, but that just doesn’t work here (at least not now)- silly Google-blocking China.

I quickly figured out that there is a Chinese alternative to the ChromeCast, and indeed offered by the Chinese counterpart to Google: the Baidu Shadow Stick B-100. Here’s the official website. I have no idea what that page says (aside from “Baidu Shadow Stick” (百度影棒) over and over again, and the prices). Figuring out if it really does work the same way the ChromeCast does is another thing though. Where do I find a useful tutorial? Colleagues at work don’t have experience with this device either.

Other source of entertainment: DVDs. I’ve dropped by a nearby DVD store when I was here last year and it’s still right where it was then. The DVD’s are cheap.. say 13 RMB a piece – and as they’re offering movies which have only just hit the box office, very likely “less than official” releases. So DVD’s – done deal! Playing them on the laptop(s) is no problem – but how do I get to see the movie/show on the TV? A DVD player you say? That’s what I thought. I have gone to a nearby electronics store (Suning), and they do have some DVD players – but considering the size of the store, it’s really a small selection of DVD players. Same at another electronics store (Gome) that I visited yesterday evening. Lots and lots of TVs, phones, tablets, fridges, aircos, .. but hardly any DVD players. IMG_20150111_173313 I also saw read a newspaper article mentioning ‘Metro City’ (see picture on the left) as THE place for electronics. First time I went there, I actually went into the ‘Metro City’ mall, while I found out yesterday that the electronics section seems to have a separate entrance by the side. There is a lot on offer there, but it was closing time so I didn’t get a proper look. Still, mostly Apple, Samsung, HTC and Chinese smartphones. Not many DVD players, if any. Another place I visited was at ‘Kerry Everbright City’ (see picture on the right). IMG_20150124_153852Described as a ‘big electronics market’ in the same article, I had some hope of finding DVD players there. No luck though, 5 floors of iPhones, iPads and SIM cards – more or less. So.. maybe the Chinese get their DVD players online! Or already have one. Or don’t need one. Point is, I stopped looking – for now.

IMG_20150126_224721 Instead I chose the very low end solution. Took me some time to find one – but a simple VGA cable now connects my laptop to the TV. The laptop acts as DVD player, and is also used to stream online content.

Yes, besides the DVD store, I think I might be getting a lot of content from one of the (many?) video streaming sites. You’ll have heard of YouKu, the Chinese version of YouTube – which offers ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ for a mere 5 RMB, not bad at all! I will need to set up a YouKu account or such though, which will takes some effort if I’m to figure it out by myself. Alternatively – there seem to be some (a few? less than before?) English-spoken TV series available on streaming sites. Here’s one for example.

Only thing that could be better is the sound… which is now coming from the laptop.. if I want to improve it, I’ll probably go order something online. Keep you posted on how that goes!

Zhongguo

20 januari 2015

image

Wǒ shì xuéshēng, Mike shì wǒ de lǎoshī

18 januari 2015

Chinese with Mike
Zhè hěn hǎo! Tā hěn cōngmíng! Xièxiè Mike lǎoshī! :)

Week 2 – already?!

17 januari 2015

How time flies – in the previous post I wrote next post would be on Sunday (11/01), instead it’s now almost a week later… Definitely time to post an update! Starting with an account of the search for an apartment.

A few months ago I started looking at Shanghai apartments for rent online, just to get an idea of what it would cost and, as Shanghai is a pretty big place, to figure out in what area I’d want to rent. First decision, “Pudong or Puxi?”, meaning which side of the Huangpu river. Puxi is the older part on the west bank of the river, with more historical landmarks, many nice restaurants, most of the (expat) nightlife; whereas in Pudong, the east bank, major development only took off in the 1990′s. As you can imagine, the atmosphere can be quite different – look for some pictures online, you’ll see. As much as many people would advise, nay, recommend living in Puxi, I still made the decision to rent in Pudong. I could go into reasons, but won’t so much – it just makes more sense, practically, with the office also being in Pudong. Next decision then: “Whereabout in Pudong?”. Closer to the office, in Jinqiao, in an area that is apparently known online for housing many expats? Or closer towards the river & Puxi, in Lujiazui? Or somewhere in between perhaps, near Century Park? Or elsewhere along the river, again somewhat closer to the office? Well, though rental prices can definitely be staggering in Lujiazui, I decided to try my luck of finding an apartment there that fit my budget. Online, it seemed that I would very much be able to find something very very decent for that kind of money, but (oh my!) – real life is quite different from what’s offered online. The management assistant had arranged for two agencies to show me a few places. She had asked me for my requirements (furnished, Lujiazui, 1 bedroom), budget, etc.. so off we went last Monday (6 Jan). The very first bit of information: there are no single bedroom apartments available. ‘There was one this morning but it’s already rented out to a Japanese guy.’ – oh well, if they’d show me 2 bedroom apartments that still fit every other requirement that’d be fine. Then I was shown a first apartment at the ‘Jianglin’ compound at 377 Pucheng Road. (Oh hey, if that link doesn’t work.. China.. :) ) — it was so disappointing. Sure, it was in a nice area, but the apartment itself was very unappealing; the furniture was no good, it didn’t look very clean. The real shocker came when they named the asking price; well above my budget. Well, good thing prices and other arrangements are negotiable in China, but for this one they’d have to lower their price quite a bit and/or refurnished the place before I’d have said yes to it. The second apartment then; an absolute beauty. Very recently reworked, spacious, clean, great furniture – oh if only the asking price could be lower… then the agent said some magic words that stuck with me for the rest of the next 48hrs: ‘We can get you a discount of 2000 RMB.’ – unfortunately, that was still (just) above my initial budget, but close enough to make want to reconsider my budgeting. On to a third apartment; which was also very nice – with a few quirks – but – do you start to see a pattern here? – again above the budget I had set for myself. And a fourth, across the road (at the ‘Juyuan’ compound), upheld my experience so far. Yes, my research online held so much promise for finding a decent place at a reasonable price, but here was the cold hard Chinese truth. We also went to see some apartments near Century Park, just for comparison. Well, suffice to say I remember walking out of those apartments thinking ‘What is wrong with these people?’ (the owners) – asking so much money for such bland apartments. The next day, we were going around with an agent from a different agency, the first apartment she wanted to show me was one I had already seen the day before at ‘Juyuan’. This did not bode well. My mind was therefore still on the second apartment then, and seriously considering… so I had the company assistant who was with me as translator call up the agency of the day before and ask about that place. That option got scrapped as soon as she was told they wouldn’t be able to give the discount after all. Disheartened, we set forth to see a few more places at ‘Juyuan’. Finally some good news, the prices were right around my budget! The apartments were still rubbish, mind you. Typical Chinese style furniture? Not really for me, thank you. Eventually though, we visited one that had only become available the day before. Quite cozy, definitely clean, with a good kitchen, flatscreen TV, normal furniture… aside from a pink couch. IMG_20150107_100047 There were even other people visiting the place at the same time and saying how much they liked it. In Chinese. I don’t know if they were for real. I can imagine agencies here gently giving a laowai (foreigner) the impression he’s going to have to act fast or he might miss out on the chance to rent it. More so if the alternative is that he would ‘have to’ go for one of the more hideous ones he has been shown so far. I dismissed the place and we went to see another one. Very spacious living room.. because it was mostly empty, with a widescreen CRT TV and some old couches. The kitchen was big too, but not very convenient. Anyway, the floor looked nice, and as I wasn’t too happy about the furniture in most other places I’d seen, I imagined I could at least make this one work by adding some things of my own. I had to think about it. Later on the same day, the assistant got a call. The pink couch apartment would be rented out to the other couple, unless I’d want to rent it. We went to take another look in the evening; and the moment I walked in, it felt more like a home than any other apartment I’d seen. Had another careful look around; pointed out some things to be fixed, asked for the couch covers to be changed to something else. And then I said ‘yes’ to a one-year contract.

IMG_20150107_102257 On Wednesday we met up again to fill out the paperwork, which was both in Chinese and English (but probably only the Chinese text would hold up?). While in their office, someone came by to let me choose the fabric for the sofa’s new covers. I’d move in on Saturday (one week ago) and have first month’s rent transferred by then, including a deposit – which meant I had to go open a bank account. The agent helped out a lot, including with the paperwork at the bank, which was only in Chinese. She’d also arrange the internet connection, and help me out with any bills that need paying. On Saturday morning we met up again to have another check (internet connectivity, airco,..) and hand over the keys, a cardkey for the entrance gates to the compound and one for my mailbox. Actually, someone came by to completely replace the lock and handed me all 6 keys that came with it. Knowing me, I’ll sure lose a few of them. (Funny story coming up next!) — I haven’t checked my mailbox so far, come to think of it… and do I even know where it is?.. :-) I spent my first night here on Saturday.. but kind of forgot I didn’t bring any sheets or covers.. got some on Sunday, and some more this past Thursday. The sofa’s covers haven’t been replaced yet, that should happen this coming week. I didn’t get much else yet either, except for some bare essentials – still it’s a home.

I have some more pictures, but gotta run! It’s Sat evening!

Week One – in brief

9 januari 2015

Oh boy, my first week in Shanghai is drawing to a close – and what a week it has been so far.. The search for an apartment, concluded. Bank account, and online banking, taken care of. Internet subscription, check. Temporary residence permit application, completed. Commuting between the office and my bed, by taxi or joining with the company driver. Lunch out, dine out. Meeting with my team!! Working, working.. Meanwhile picking up some words here and there… Loving it!

Tonight, Friday evening, dinner & drinks – tomorrow moving into the apartment and arranging some essentials for living, incl grocery shopping – Sunday brunch etc

Next post will likely be Sunday evening then; finally detailing the quest for the right apartment…

再见!