I am back in Shanghai. It is a little chilly, it is sunny and it is absolutely amazing to be back in this bustling city, where East meets West.
Right outside the compound I will be living in with my boyfriend for the next month (which holds a tennis court, a rooftop and a swimming pool) a Chinese guy is sleeping in a beach chair under a tree in the street. Another guy has parked his "shop" - he is selling second selection porcelain from a bike wagon and I just bought two new yoghurt bowls matching the ones I already have at home. 6 Yuan each (approx. 1 $) and they are absolutely adorable! A third man starts yelling in Chinese. It seems like the porcelain "shop" is blocking the street so his "shop" can't pass - he is selling/delivering oil cans from his bike to the small Chinese kitchens you will find everywhere around here on Julu street where I live. Julu lu (street) is known as the taxi street because between 11-13 it seems like all taxi drivers in Shanghai meet here for lunch and a chat. Very chaotic and very convenient when you often use taxis.
This is what I love about living in Shanghai: the "East meets West" phenomenon. A Culture clash.
To have my everyday life and do my everyday things among chaos, surprises, differences and such great diversity. It never gets boring and it never gets "normal". It is almost like traveling everyday and experiencing or at least seeing something new every single day. I do admit though that it can be difficult and challenging to live here. I had friends visiting me who after their visit stated that they could never live here: "Amazing place to visit - amazing place to leave". The funny thing is, that before I moved here for the first time in 2012 I had always stated that I would never live and work in Asia. Travel - yes, live - not so much.
For me the Western (and more civilized) parts of the world have always seemed much more appealing. After studying in Copenhagen for many years, living in London for one year and working in NYC for six months I was sure I was going to end up in one of these metropolis. I didn't and I am happy as ever.
What I have experienced during my expat time in Shanghai is that to live (more) happily in this pulsing city you need:
A great deal of patience
An open mind
A positive mindset
As I like to say: Shanghai is a great place to practice mindfulness
because when it is so chaotic everywhere around you, you really need to find that peace of mind from within. What I have also experienced is that If you do find yourself happily living in this city, you will find yourself among such good and interesting expats with similar mindsets. And in a city where every new day is an experience.