Here in Shanghai things are over the top! Everything is so surreal and makes you gawk and stare in wonder. From the added decorations of things, unique buildings (I think every building is different) to the funny way of doing things.
The city is so beautiful and the lights are no exception. It reminds me of the festival of lights in Niagara Falls -but that is only for Christmas this is year round! The school took us, and trailing spouses, for a dinner river cruise last night after our orientation week. It was the icing on the cake! The food was great (they even had good spaghetti!), interesting little desserts (little jelly like cookies that I thought were almond cookies) and the view – spectacular! We got on the cruise around 6PM and quickly everyone was taking photos of the skyline. When the sun went down (didn’t really see a sunset, but we had a heavy down pour as we drove to the boat and it stopped just in time, so there was a lot of cloud cover) the lights came on and WOW! They are not just lights, but they change colour, flash into patterns and some buildings become huge video screens where adverts, pictures and moving images flash across and change. It is quite something to see. It was bizarre how it was dark and you could still see the odd cloud in the sky.
We had speakers all day yesterday for orientation doing all the housekeeping stuff… bit of a yawn. The highlight for me was a pair of gentlemen from the HR department who were funny as they talked about the school and cultural differences. The school’s philosophy is based on Chinese and English. They explained how sometimes we cannot understand the other due to language and cultural differences and how we have “blind spots”. Sometimes our languages do not translate or experiences tell us what is the norm for our culture, but may be very different for another. The bottom line is to keep an open mind. I have looked at this as an adventure and it makes me giggle how they perceive westerners or translate some of our customs and language (like the pitcher of dark liquid with lemon… should be ice tea right? No it was Pepsi! or the ice cream truck is really a street cleaner). Laughter must be the best medicine (as long as I do not offend). Some people at school are feeling overwhelmed or culture shock, but I haven’t. It must all be in the attitude… my spirit of adventure. PLUS as soon as something happens I think I must put this in the blog! It will make a good story! So thank you for reading, being my audience and allowing me to share my (our) new adventures. It helps me feel connected to home while becoming at home in a new place. I truly have one foot in the East and one in the West.
Stay tuned for more adventures… tomorrow we are going to the fabric market….