First Week in ShanghaiShanghai, Spring 2012

I have to say that this semester didn't start out as smoothly as last. Last semester I was all optimism and excitement in the beginning. This time around though I was fully aware of how hard living abroad is and while I was on the plane it really hit home what a big challenge I was taking on. When your faced with this kind of thing though you can either try to overcome it or let it bring you down. I got set up here just fine though and after a few days a lot of my fears began to go away.  Which is great because you need to have a calm head when you are... Locked inside your apartment building As you can see, I live on the top floor of my apartment building and separating the 5th from the 4th floor is a gate at the bottom of the stairwell. I don't know why this is there. It seems to serve no purpose except to act as a fire hazard. I think they lock it at night but for what reason? I had time to ponder all of these question the other morning when I was on my way to a student meeting and found the gate to be still locked. At first I thought maybe I just needed to push really hard. I did in fact try all those things but the truth was that I was very much caged in. I tried knocking on my neighbors' doors to see if anyone had a key but it seemed like they had all gone to work already. So I decided that the only thing I could do is sit on the stairs an wait for someone to come by. And pretty soon someone did come by! I got up and in my very best Chinese explained what was happening and asked if they could help in some way. I was met with a blank stare, followed by the woman going back inside her apartment and closing the door. Every few minutes she would come back out to stare at me and then retreat inside again. Thank you woman who lives at the bottom of the stairs for being no help what so ever. What was helpful was my group leader noticing I was very late for our meeting and calling my host mother who then called our cook to go check on me. She found me sitting at the bottom of the stairs and after laughing a bunch was able to let me out. Hooray for freedom!
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  1. Yes, sometimes a lot of things don’t make sense in Shanghai.. I was pissed off for you when I read your neighbor did nothing at all to help you. People’s lack of care for their neighbors really piss me off. Stay strong and optimistic!

  2. Did your host mother or cook ever explain to you about the gate or how to prevent this in the future?

    Sorry to hear to that your optimism was drained so quickly this time around ~~ I think you need a good night of dancing to bring your spirits back up :P

  3. It’s so upsetting when stuff like that happens overseas and the locals don’t want to have anything to do with you. I don’t know if I told you about this already but with me I was lost in, crap, I want to say Tokyo, and when I tried to ask for help people were all “T_T” (<- read as aggravated face of extreme apathy) until finally I may or may not have rudely jumped in a guys path until he pointed to where we were on a map. But hell, it got me get back to the teachers.

    I'm glad you're starting to adjust again though. Sorry this semester started out rougher than last time :(

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