Q/A With a New Expat

Hi guys!  *waves*

You may or may not know that I recently relocated to Asia this summer.  A wonderful career opportunity presented itself and I jumped on it with both feet.  I'm now living in Shanghai, China.  The past four months have been a serious experience in culture shock and awe.

So for those of you who are interested in knowing anything about a sistah's new life in Shanghai, I'm willing to answer some questions.  Just leave them after the beep.


***To keep the comments thread from being extra-long, and to ensure I'm addressing all questions, I will continuously answer all questions within this post.


Lor asked if I had a "What the fuck am I doing in China?" moment.  The answer is no.  I've wanted to live abroad all my life, and Italy is my final destination.  I started planning to teach abroad back in 2009, but the process is not easy or linear, and it took this long for everything to fall in place.  China was never on my list of countries to live in.  I wanted either Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, or Dubai.  But the interview for this particular job came days after I got my doctorate.  Not to be all cliche, but it was destiny that led me here.

Lor also asked if I plan to get in any traveling while here, and the answer is, "For damn sure."  First stop is shoe shopping in Hong Kong for Xmas.

Meanie asked what I've missed the most.  The answer, immediately, is food.  I'm a junk food addict and never had intentions of going into rehab for my addiction.  Just because they don't get cheesy foods and sugary snacks right, a lot of my usual go-to snacks have been eliminated because they don't taste good.  I will cheerfully murder someone for a Waffle House All Star Breakfast with double bacon, eggs scrambled with cheese and grits on the side.  I'd do obscene thangs for a Popeye's 3-pc and a biscuit.  I'd engage in salacious behavior for an IHOP run.

On a more positive note, I've lost about 10lbs so far.

The most frustrating thing about living here (but with a wonderful side effect) is that there is nothing in this country that is in the stores that will fit my curvy voluptuous body.  I'm not a size eight, ten, or even a 12; my breasts are the size of casaba melons, my ass is built the way a sistah's ass should be, and my thighs don't look like twigs.  I had no illusions about going to the mall over here.  Everything over here is made for skinty girls.  The side effect is that you can have clothes tailor-made.

We ain't gonna even get into how many outfits I've had made...and how often I hit up my tailor's shop...and how damned good I look in my custom new wardrobe.  But I'll still have to leave the country to find shoes that will fit.

Food that I live for: dumplings & hot pot.  Dumplings are life and hot pot is exquisite life.  Yes, I can use chopsticks now.

I can ride the Metro system, buses & trains, very effectively.  Next is the Maglev.

Love my job, but it is busting my ass.  Fortunately I have a lot of ass, and so it won't kill me.  I'm adjusting--with some difficulty--with teaching three different preps.  I'm used to having one or two, but not three.

I've made friends with a lot of other newbies, and am particularly tight with those who live in my building.

Will continue answering questions soon!


  1. After arriving did you get that 'what the f*ck have I done' feeling? What was the biggest shock that you have experienced so far? Do you plan to get in some traveling while there?

  2. What is something that you missed the most at the moment; (Food, clothes, family...). What cuisine have you tried in Shanghai that is a must have? How is your living space? Have you ridden public transportation yet? What's frustrating you the most about living in Shanghai? How is the job coming along and what adjustments have you made?

    Have you made friends yet? What's the easiest experience so far living in Shanghai? What do you think you will not be able to get adjusted to? Have you enjoyed any areas outside of Shanghai yet?

    What challenges do you have concerning the job? What hobbies do you want to take while there?

    I'll just start with these...Don't worry I have more questions. LOL

  3. I just love it when I read/hear about people going to another country. It's because that is what I want to do in the future. My sister is talking about going with my cousin to London this year. What is stopping me for the time being is money, time and my fear of planes. I know it can be a pain about me and my phobias with them,but I hope that I will one day be woman enough to do it..lol! I would like to go to Dubai, Senegal, or Costa Rica.

    First of all, I congratulate you on your journey to China. Far as questions...hmmm..lets see here.. I have millions of them,but I will only ask a couple of them . Here are a few questions that I have for you: Do you like Shangai , do you plan on making it your permanent home. Like Lor just asked about culture shock, what is the biggest one you've experienced and lastly, I've heard that Shanghai is supposed to be the Las Vegas of China. Is it as liberal ( at least for China) as they say it is?

    I may ask a question about the food,but I'll ask you that another time.

  4. Congrats on your new journey! It's exciting!

    How was it moving across the world? Were you nervous about not making it or being homesick?
    Did you learn the language before you came or do you have any plans of learning it? I would think it would be beneficial, but I'm not sure English is a well known...spoken language?
    What do you miss most about back home?
    At this point, what do you think will be a challenge or will take some getting used to?
    From a work standpoint, what are different between the American way of doing things and the Chinese way of doing things? Are there any similarities?

    I hope that things continue to go well for you. Looking forward to more of your posts!

  5. Another question. What is the pollution like? I've seen pictures of some of the cities and how bad it is. Is it bad in Shanghai and if so does it affect you much? I'm a runner so not having good clean air would be a problem.

  6. @ Lor, I can answer your question, the pollution in Shanghai isn't bad at all. Shanghai is the commercial and financial city of China so the pollution is as 'bad' as in any other city

    1. @nanotua nyante-Thanks! I know they always show pictures where its so thick it looks like fog! I remember years ago going to LA and being miserable. Give me clean air any day.

  7. What was the smartest thing you've brought with you from the States?

    How was the Chinese release of Pacific Rim?

    Are you a regular at your hotpot spot yet? lol

    And how is postal service? It sounds like hell. Do you have to bribe people?


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