The Tooth Fairy paid us a visit last night. Isabelle finally lost her wobbly bottom tooth while we out to dinner. She was so excited about putting her tooth under her pillow to see if the Tooth Fairy travelled as far as China. After a discussion about the fact that she probably would, but she would have to deal in the local currency, she was reassured that there would be something under her pillow.
So, I got woken up this morning by an excited little girl waving a 20RMB note under my nose, jumping up and down and proclaiming that she had lots of money now. 20RMB is about £2/$3 and is apparently the going rate in Shanghai.
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I have no idea about the forms I filled out to open a bank account, but I have a debit/credit card. I am used to passing money over to deposit when opening a new account, but here you have to wait for 7 days to be approved and then you are officially good to go. When my security device arrived (for Internet banking) I could not remember the password I had set up. So, I did the usual password request email, completed the process and then got a message telling me that I had to print the confirmation off and bring it into the branch for verification!!!!
We arrived at the end of March and it was already warmer than in the UK. When it rains here it really rains, but the advantage is that it clears the air and then you have beautiful clear days (until the pollution builds again!!). You can see a visible difference in the air quality from downtown and the suburbs.
Today it is a glorious sunny warm spring day. The blossoms are out all over town and it is just beautiful.
Shanghai began as a fishing village in the 11th century, but by the mid-18th century it was an important area for growing cotton and by 1800 it was becoming the largest city in China. Foreigners came to Shanghai due to foreign trade after the Opium Wars. The British, along with the Americans and French, were allowed to live in certain territorial zones without being under the Chinese laws. As a result of all the foreigners, Shanghai became greatly influenced by Western culture, but things changed dramatically after Communism took over. During the 1900s, opium sales along with the gambling that went with it brought in very big profits. After the end of Shanghai’s subjugation by the Japanese, the Nationalist Chinese government was given control of the city. The foreigners no longer had control and by 1949, Shanghai was transformed by the Communist Chinese government. As the foreigners left, the businesses that were left behind were one by one taken over by the government. After losing ground during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, Deng Xiaopeng’s open door policy allowed advancement back to being an international force in business and finance.
Shanghai is situated at 31’14’ north latitude and 121’29’ east longitude (similar to Seville, Spain and Savannah, GA). Bordering on Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces on the west, Shanghai is washed by the East China Sea in the east and Hangzhou Bay in the south. North of the city, the Yangtze River pours into the East China Sea. It also assumes the central location along China’s coastal line. Thanks to its advantageous geographic location, Shanghai has today become an excellent sea and river port, boasting easy access to a vast hinterland.
A warning for anyone who is thinking of entering China to work and live. DO NOT do your medical before you arrive!
Owen and I spent a great deal of time, effort and money running around in the UK to get blood work, chest x-rays and ECG completed. Multiple visits to multiple places. After all that, it was not sufficient for China so we had to do it all again anyway. But, how efficient it was: in the facility at 8.30am out by 10.00am – completely finished. It is like a conveyor belt of doctors – you start in one room for height and weight and general questions, move into the next room for chest x-ray, next room for blood work, next room for eye test, next room for ECG, next room for abdomen ultrasound scan. Done! I was so impressed and then so mad at myself for wasting time in England when this process was so easy and straightforward.
The medical report is a critical step in obtaining a residence permit and every foreigner over the age of 18 must have a certified medical report to move on to the next step in the process.
I am surprised and amazed every day by the things that I see being transported on the back and front of bicycles. Everything from McDonald’s delivery to glass windows and their frames. Check back here often and I will update with photos!!!
First Day of School
First day of school for my little angels! They were nervous, scared, excited and apprehensive about starting at the British International School Shanghai (BISS). Just like me on my first day in the office here!!! We had been to visit for an orientation and to get school uniform when we first arrived, and they had both met their teachers and seen the school. It is a HUGE change from their little environments in Chalfont St Giles, Bucks, UK.
Owen and I rode the school bus with them this morning – 50 minutes from our apartment complex and makes the day soooooo long for them. We had a meet and greet with the headmaster and the PFA (Parents and Friends Association) right after drop off. It was lovely to meet some people who had been here a while and could answer our questions about where to go shopping, find the best fakes, best hairdresser and good restaurant recommendations, etc.
To my relief, they both got off the bus at 3.50pm with big smiles and positive chatter about their day. They both “found friends” and are looking forward to going back tomorrow – I will take that as a good sign!
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