As I lift my pumpkin seeds with chopsticks, I reflect on my first 46 hours in Shanghai…
I’m in Veggie Gather, The all Vegetarian joint that fooled a 17 year vegan. I was traumatized as I ate dinner here last night seeing late in the meal that small chunks of pork were mixed in with my tofu.
I abandoned the rest of my entree. And I never waste food at a restaurant so, embarrassed, I rushed away.
Now, my server–the only one here who speaks English–tells me the place is completely Vegetarian! (caps for V forced on me by autocorrect) The “meat” was just that…”meat”!
I’m so excited to live down the way from a veg place. My new neighborhood is Hongmei Road–a bustling district full of cafes, shops & restaurants. Rolls Royces & Maseratis roll through past golf villas, while apartments just around the bend resemble crumbling prison cell blocks.
I’m still in a nice little hotel now with other teachers new to Soong Ching Ling School. But I’ll soon be in my own apartment…
My first full day here, I, with ample & gracious guidance from Soong Ching Ling support staff:
–got a China Mobile phone number & 2GB monthly plan (only after getting my picture taken while holding up my passport photo)
–opened a bank account at Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, after getting photo taken and receiving a little calculator device to bring home to create new passwords with in the future
–found an apartment with the assistance of a frazzled realtor & her friend, rushing around for days finding places for new teachers. Although possessing a terrifying looking stairwell filled with darkness, broken concrete steps and a big pile of trash, the apartment itself is much larger than expected, has fresh paint and new doors and a bed, table and chairs.
I’m practicing Mandarin a lot and watching Chinese music performances regularly on TV. I ran early yesterday–afraid this is how it’s usually going to have to be– and received a free gym pass today to OriGym, probably the nicest looking gym I’ve seen.