Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Alan Weighs In

(posted by Alan)
Click on pictures to see them full size.

76kg (167lbs in American language)

In a tribute to my friend Eric at www.ericweighsin.blogspot.com, I'll be keeping track of my weight while I'm here in China. But unlike Eric, I'm trying NOT to lose weight. My first year in China back in 2003, I dropped 10 pounds despite still working out regularly and eating plenty. There just wasn't enough meat in my diet to maintain muscle. Eggs and tofu are NOT a substitute for meat. But that was in a small town in Henan province. Here in Shanghai, meat portions still aren't as bountiful as back in the States, but there IS decent meat here. It's going to take some effort and my small stock of protein bars that I brought with me, but I think I can maintain.

Sorry for the lack of updates. Our excuse is that the last 5 days have been spent searching, securing and setting up our new apartment. We got a great place, right by the subway in an awesome area. For anyone that knows Shanghai at all, we're right by XuJiaHui, the Herald Square of Shanghai. We're right in the former French Concessions, a former French settlement in the 18 and 1900's that kept it's distinct architecture and is now a popular area for its shopping and international makeup. We're on the top (25th) floor of a high rise with two bedrooms, so we have a place to stay for anyone that comes out here to visit. We even hit up Ikea and got a really comfortable fold-out bed. My favorite part about the apartment besides its location are the unobstructed views to the north and the east of the entire city. I'm going to wait until we have our place more set-up before I show you pictures of the inside, but a picture of the view is below. To the right in the distance, you can see the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Jin Mao Tower and the brand new World Financial Center, which has the highest observation deck in the world.
So within one week of arriving, we've made alot of good friends and contacts. I've joined an expat basketball league, we've played Ultimate Frisbee, found an apartment, discovered some awesome local restaurants and got to know the city really well.

Shanghai really is a dynamic place to be. We've marvelled at how interesting the people here are. It seems like every other person we meet has an interesting story as to how they ended up here and what they're doing. People are here from all over the world. Add all of that to the experience of learning and exploring another country and culture. Things here are SOO different and although I've lived in China before, there's nowhere else in China like Shanghai. It has a culture unto itself. Who knows how long we'll be here, but there's one thing we know for sure about our time here: it will definitely NOT be boring.

Check back soon for more frequent updates from now on. And as always, pictures:
IKEA Shanghai (the couch i'm testing is NOT the one we bought)

1 of many awesome noodle shops. 5RMB (75 cents) a bowl.

Daisy w/HaiBao. The 2010 World Expo (in Shanghai) Mascot.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

fan yi

(posted by Daisy)

Day 5. What to write, what to write. We've been busy battling jet lag (which is pretty much gone!), exploring the city, meeting new people, and learning "how-to-do" just about everything, like laundry. Well, thank goodness "there's an app for that." We were able to translate (fan yi) it into English! Our iTouch translates everything for us.

I've been looking for seltzer water or club soda here. I thought I found it but it turned out to be carbonated SALT WATER! It's got the same bubbles as seltzer and club soda, but that's it. If that's your thing, there's also bubbly lemon flavored salt water. Today I saw plum soda! Looks so deliciously purple so I had to try it... it has a bubbly sweet taste followed by a slightly bitter grittiness? I thought it'd be like Rubina for some reason...

A few more pictures from the last few days:
(Alan + Papa Johns = below photo)

(The Chinese at our local park love the Mets too?)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 3....

(posted by Alan)
*click on the pictures to see them full size

We're settling in nicely here. It's only been 3 days and we've already made a ton of new friends and done alot. I'm writing this from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf using free wifi and eating breakfast sandwiches from Burger King. Yes, we're still in China. We're spending the day here job searching with a friend.

Right now we're staying in a temporary apartment close to the middle of the city. Its a small 1 bedroom place and its good enough for now. Costs about $500 USD a month, which is actually a bit expensive. We're hoping to find a 2 bedroom for about that much sometime soon, so we'll have a guestroom for all of you who come visit.

view from our window and some shots of our place

We met alot of people when we attended our friends Bble Study group on Saturday. The expat community in Shanghai is great. Odds are that people took care of them when they first got here, so they take care of others when they first move here, so alot of people have been helping us out with job opportunities, advice, what to do and where to go, etc. I kind of already knew it was like that, but its just really nice to experience it.

Up next for us:
- Find jobs
- Find apt (after we find jobs)
- Become fluent in Mandarin
- Join flag football and basketball league

Ok, enough talk for now. Here are pictures*:
Skyping with the kids and a protein fix at Metro City foodcourt

Daisy's favorite magazine and me representing

Daisy and Lina (Houston, TX) at Mister Donut. Yes, those are donuts.

Friday, April 17, 2009

We're here...

Hey everyone, just letting you know we made it here safely. Check back soon for some updates, including video and pictures.

Our emails are:
Alan - agong029@gmail.com
Daisy - daisydaze@gmail.com