Line: Shanghai Habits
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Shanghai, etc.
I’m a young Dane who after finishing an internship in New York City in 2012 was offered a job in Shanghai. I had never been to Asia before but had previously lived in London, CPH and NYC and as I just looove adventures I happily accepted. I lived and worked in Shanghai for 10 months and loved it but went back to Copenhagen to finish and defend my Master’s thesis at Copenhagen Business School. In the beginning of 2014 I returned to Shanghai to study fulltime mandarin and as always to practice healthy & happy habits in my daily live.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I have the impression that most expats in Shanghai are becoming and feeling more unhealthy in Shanghai. Both physically and mentally. I am aware that it is a fact that the air quality is very poor here but that does not mean that we can´t practice healthy habits here: eat well, sleep well, exercise, breathe, focus and take care of ourselves. I decided that when I came back to Shanghai this year I wanted to try to inspire other expats to practice healthier habits here. Additionally, I find it difficult to answer friends, family and people I come across when they ask me: what is China/Shanghai really like. With my blog I can express “my Shanghai” which is impossible to do in a conversation where I never know where to begin, what to tell and how to describe my daily life here.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Tell us about the ways your new life in Shanghai differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
In Shanghai, it never feels like “everyday life”. Everyday I stop and think: what did just happen? Being here reminds me that there is other ways to do things and to live life. It is amazing and I feel like I am living more fully every day. Having said that, it can be such a hassle living here. Shanghai is tough. It gets to you. My goal is to practice healthy habits to make sure I don’t loose focus. I want to learn to keep stress down, to “let it go”, and to stay healthy & happy in this environment. I would love to inspire others to do the same and meet and connect with people with similar interests.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Shanghai? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
First time I moved here in 2012 I had absolutely NO EXPECTATIONS. And I was amazed. Shanghai changed my life. I now life in the middle of the French Concession with the man of my dreams (who I met in Shanghai….) and I am so thankful for every day of my life.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Every day is an experience here. Some days are really tiring experience, yet an experience. It is amazing.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Shanghai?
Only 1 tip: Don’t loose focus. It is so easy here. Not many people stay here long-term so I suggest you write down why you are here and what you want to get out of your Shanghai experience. Once in a while you should look at this paper and ask yourself if you are getting the most out of Shanghai and the right thing out of Shanghai. That helps me staying on top here! Direction, focus and enjoy the ride!
How is the expat community in Shanghai? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
It is amazing. It feels like expats here are all “in the same boat” – a little bit lost in China and therefore super friendly, helpful and open-minded. It is the best expat community I have come across when living abroad!!
How would you summarize your expat life in Shanghai in a single, catchy sentence?
Hectic, healthy & happy as ever!