Last night Russell and our friends and travel companions, Stephanie and Bruce (pictured above) had dinner with a group of expats – teachers for the English speaking International School in Shanghai. This fun group of 6 included a couple from Ireland, two single women one from from Great Britain and one from Ireland and a hilarious Australian woman with her very entertaining British husband. Those two met overseas and have continued to travel, teaching around the world.
We met our new friends on Untour – a food tour of Shanghai street food that we found on
Youtube. The company is owned by a couple of Americans who founded the tour several years ago after years of being asked for restaurant recommendations. Our expat tour guides, Tom from the UK and and Joe from Canada (pictured above in the center – Tom is the tall one), were a ton of fun, the beer was plenty and the food – especially the soup dumplings were delicious. Our guides were excellent in describing what we were eating, what China region it originated and threw in a little history about Shanghai to boot. (See the cool photo of the last remaining bit of the original Shanghai city wall.)
The highlight for us though was meeting the expats. After our first night and the epic order mishap, it was interesting to meet these English speakers who are happily living in Shanghai, but do not speak the language. One of the women told us how much she loved living here and how easy it was to get around. She said she often uses mass transit as well as the public bike system- using an app on her phone to pay. Then she casually mentioned they just don’t eat in local chinese restaurants because of the language barrier! What? It was kind of shocking
to think she lives in Shanghai, navigates public transit, but can’t navigate the menu. Of course the alphabet is so different so if you don’t speak any chinese – I get it. Sort of… Personally, I think if I lived here I’d learn some key words and phrases like beef, soup dumpling (pictured above and to die for), chicken, various vegetables, hotpot, etc!
Still last night will be a highlight for us. The group was a lot fun, and it was interesting to hear about living in China and all of their adventures living overseas. It certainly helps me understand why folks who move to America often stay within their own community, but also kind of makes me sad for our new friends too because it kind of feels like they live as outsiders – even though they didn’t seem to mind. Russell and I wish we had found a way to work in another country early in our careers, but who knows maybe we will try to be teachers one day!
Russell has written his version of our evening here. If you enjoy my blog please like it and follow me. There’s more China to come! I am trying to post daily, but we may not have Internet for a few days starting tomorrow. Stay tuned!