新年快乐 (xīnnián kuàilè): Part II

We last left off with yesterday’s post about the big lead up to Spring Festival (better known as Chinese New Year), our adventures around town, my first squat toilet experience and an offering of blessings of love, hope and good fortune for 2016.  According to the Chinese calendar, it is year 4714 and the Year of the (fire) Monkey.  Just like any culture and religion, there are many symbolic things to do, food to consume and rituals to perform.  With that being said, Paul and I were extremely excited to take in as much as we could and to fully immerse ourselves in the moment. Continue reading

新年快乐 (xīnnián kuàilè): Part I

For the week leading up to Spring Festival, or commonly known as Chinese New Year, there has been an exciting buzz around town. The grocery stores are jam-packed with shoppers getting ready for the week long celebration. It is customary for people to thoroughly clean their home on the eve of Spring Festival Eve to get rid of bad luck and to make way for incoming good luck. Houses are decorated with red lanterns and entrance doors are adorned with wishes of luck, happiness, wealth, good fortune and longevity. Chinese believe that the color red means Continue reading

Our new address = MUCH happiness!

After looking at 11 different properties, discussing which best suits our wants and needs, exploring what the location has to offer and selecting our top 3, there was one that clearly stood out for the both of us. If you recall, 3 weeks ago (on January 8th), we went house hunting. You can read all about it here.  Before I spill the beans on which location we went with, let me show you a few Continue reading

Xiaolongbao, flowers galore and a trip to the hospital!

In our previous blog post, we mentioned our stellar relocation counselor named Claire. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to spend a full day of city orientation with her. I can’t even express our excitement leading up to this day! Claire showed up at our (temporary) apartment at 9:30am…ready with an awesome map she had written all over of things to do and places to go that she thought would be of interest to us as well as Continue reading

Searching for a place to call home

With Paul’s job relocation, we’re allotted 60 days in temporary housing, so we made sure to jump on the hunt right away! Prior to our feet hitting the ground on January 3, we’ve been in contact with the home search coordinator from the relocation company. She asked us a few questions to get a feel of what we liked and wanted. Having at least 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, outdoor living space, no high rise and amongst as many locals as possible is key for us. We were then emailed a map, with Paul’s office and my school plotted, along with Continue reading

Adventures in grocery shopping!

Although we arrived 3 days ago with a small basket of fruit in our place, that wasn’t nearly enough food to curb those “hangry” moments that we both suffer from now and then. So on Monday, it was off to the grocery store(s).  We did a little research of supermarkets in the area and went to the front desk to have our choices written out in Hanzi (written Chinese) to show our driver, Mr. Jia.  He knows about as many words in English as we do in Mandarin, but that doesn’t matter…Google Translate and Pleco App to the rescue!  It’s fun to muddle through conversation with him Continue reading

Shanghai: The First 24 Hours

With a 3:00am wake up, a 4:00am driver pick up and a 6:00am flight time, we were on our way to Shanghai!  Our route took us from Cleveland to Newark (with a 2 hour and 22 minute layover) then a direct flight eastward bound to our new home.  Our driver showed up 10 minutes early…which was nice and all, but it cut in to our saying bye to Gomez time.  Which sucked.  I mean reeeeeally sucked.  I was an udder mess and Paul was using his sleeve to wipe away his tears.  Continue reading