Let me tell you a few things that have been trying since I’ve been in China a whopping 4 days (LOL). If this is the worse that happens to me I'll be thankful- LOL! These are in no order, I’ll just tell you a few things that are different, and maybe a few things we could have better prepared for. We are handling most of it today, and I will give you my opinion on what I think you should do if you move here.
I’ll tell you something that is just going to take some time for me. Not being able to hop in a car and just go. We have a driver, but its not the same as just being able to come and go when you please. You tell him what time to be here the day before, or WeChat him. Yes, I could call a DiDi driver too (China Uber) if I had a phone that worked, but because I am so new to the area I have no idea where to even go to get breakfast, coffee, or workout- in time. My phone has worked 1 time properly since I’ve been here. I need a bike, the entire family needs bikes. Can someone share this blog with Shinola or Detroit Bike Company in Detroit and tell them we need bikes and we will sponsor them while we live here in Shanghai China. This next issue has been a big thorn in my side. My phone not working consistently while I’ve been here. It has stressed me out big time. My wife has a phone because she travels here all the time, but we don’t, and I am limited because of it. You must have a working phone in China, you also need a bank account to make sure you can put money on your WeChat account. For us you can’t just hop on the car and run up to Best Buy, Plum Market, the cleaners, or CVS. What X-Pats do is order most of their supplies or whatever off apps, or sites and have them sent to them- it’s pretty cool. Mary just had groceries set up to be at our house tonight. It’s just a different way of life here. Here is the biggest challenge, the language barrier. I am so kicking myself for stopping with my lessons back home. I would be so much better prepared. I can count and a few other things and that just isn’t enough for me personally. Yesterday we went to the HUB mall, and we for some unknown reason decided to eat at the food court. I probably walked around in a circle for a good 10 minutes and came back to the table where the kids and Mary were at and looked like I was going to cry. Everything was in Chinese and I was starving, all I wanted to do was eat and I didn’t know what to order, or how to order. Tell you what though, it really makes you think about next time you see a foreigner back home struggling to help them out. I’m a foreigner here in China and yesterday at the mall was tough for me. I couldn’t buy a pair of shoes I have never seen in the states because I had no cash and my WeChat is not set up because I don’t have a bank account yet. My credit card wouldn’t work. I was going to put the shoes I wanted to buy on Stock-X.
The list of things I would do before you come to China- if you move here, or visit.
Make sure your credit card company knows you are here even if it’s just to visit.
Take lessons on the language. It’s a must to me, but I saw Mary interview someone yesterday using a translate app, and WeChat. So, don’t believe all the hype you have to speak Chinese. Their are ways to circumvent the language barrier with technology.
Learn how to use WeChat. This is how people communicate here, pay for things, see what’s going on, etc. It is their form of social media
Make sure your phone works and will work when you get here. Set up international calling if you want to call home. For some reason my phone sucks (Android 8 Note). It won’t connect to the internet or let me use data consistently. It’s been very frustrating to the point I might go back to an IPhone which I said I would never do. I switched back to the IPhone since writing this blog two days and I have had 0 issues. Two thumbs up Apple!!
Find as many apps, and sites as you can to find ways to get merchandise, food, cleaning supplies, when you are here in China. They will deliver right to your door the same day. I guess no one goes to the store here, they just have it delivered(lazy). LOL! No fun in that to me, and I am also not computer savvy.
Open a bank account. You can not add money to your WeChat without this from what I have experienced. It’s vital if you want to use your WeChat to pay for things when you are here.
Get a VPN and a network for your home and download one to your PC.
Reach out to people where you are going to live and ask for help. Its been amazing how many people have reached out to us asking what we need to get situated. Its very family based where we are. It’s been amazing how the people have interacted with us trying to help us out. Its been unreal, and very easy to settle in because of the help from other people who are also Expats, and been through the grind before.
Make sure your house is set up before you get here. We planned to have it done, but because of unplanned situations it didn’t happen. If you don’t do this, it going to stress you out. Nothing worse than furniture shopping with your kids and they get bored.
Most important for you, and your family. Be brave, have courage, be strong, communicate, and don’t let any of this break you mentally or physically. You aren’t the first people to move to China and you won’t be the last. Moves like this take time and patience.