Trees of Shanghai

Two out of three trees in Shanghai are London plane trees. City planners call it a supertree. Its secret is its peculiar camouflage-patterned bark, which peels off in quick succession, allowing the tree to ‘clean’ itself from pollution. As a result, it has a high tolerance to pests and diseases, and captures smog and carbon […]

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How to survive in a Chinese company

I’ve now been working in Shanghai for over 5 years, and 14 months in a Chinese company using Mandarin as the main working language. So here I list the lessons I took from the past year — many things I should have done better, or things I’ve seen happen in other companies through stories from […]

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A place from fever dreams

China-Europe Street in Shanghai (中欧街). Everything is deserted apart from a Starbucks, and a couple having their wedding pics taken. The storefronts of Hermes, Prada, Chanel, and Gucci are fake. Outside are dozens of food stands though, more popular at night. This place would appear in some kind of fever dream. The statues, they’re of […]

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The edge of the edge

If Chuansha (川沙) — being outside of the outer ring — is on the edge of Shanghai, then this is the edge of the edge. No man’s land, just outside of Chuansha. Some live here in old buildings (but a dog barks me away), others grow crops, and others like me take a stroll. This […]

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Learning how to eat shrimp

Trying to learn how to eat shell-on shrimp using only chopsticks, the way many Chinese people can. Eva is showing me: “So you put the shrimp in your mouth, bite off the head, then the tail, then this…” (everything is happening inside her mouth so I cannot see the key part) “And done! You spit […]

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Searching for a wall

We walked the entire circumference of the old city wall (South-, West-, North- and East Gate Road), but found not a single brick or remnant — except for names and roads that still follow its former shape: a square around the city of Chengqiao Town (城桥镇). Actually, Chengqiao is still often called South Gate (南门) […]

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Fresh again

I actually like moving. Yeah, it’s a bit of trouble, but you get a whole new neighborhood to explore. New roads to cycle, new shops to search for stuff on the shelf, and new restaurants with new dishes to try. Just by physically moving all your stuff (and throwing away maybe 20% each time), everything […]

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Searching for an apartment in Shanghai

A two-bedroom apartment in Shanghai for 3,400 RMB per month (472 USD), yeah it’s possible. A search through several apps, then a broker, then a pasted poster and haggling. I started our search on 自如 which has neatly furnished apartments, but they’re upwards of 5,000 RMB (if you include the service fee). On the 贝壳 […]

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Fengxian District

Again to Fengxian (奉贤区) today. It’s part of Shanghai, but maybe the fact it doesn’t feel that way is the best part about it. So in love with this place. I know my obsession won’t last, but there’s so much to explore. The museum bundles a lot of places we’ve already visited. There’s an exhibition […]

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My Chinese learning journey

In the summer of 2018, I moved to Shanghai and back then I only planned to stay maybe two years in China, so I didn’t consider it necessary to learn Chinese. In Shanghai, it’s OK to get by without speaking Mandarin. You either point at pictures or show the translated sentence on your phone. For […]

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