Living In Shanghai as an Expat

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Moving to a new country every two years

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The time that I was living in Shanghai has been incredible. I was fortunate enough to call Shanghai my home for a full year. I miss everything about it, from the welcoming people and exciting nightlife to the lucrative business opportunities and delicious food.

My house was a cute and cozy ground-floor apartment in the heart of the French Concession in downtown Shanghai.

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Fastest moving company ever

When I had to move some stuff to my friends’ place in Shanghai, I had to arrange a moving company.

My friend said, I’ll call a moving company I know just the right one. We were having dinner at a restaurant. I figured the company will come next week or maynbe in a few days since things can move quick in China.

My friend was calling the company. The company asked us if they could come in 30 minutes! My friend said that we were still eating so if they could come in an hour… Now that’s fast!

Can you imagine calling a moving company that’s ready in 30 minutes? even faster than yourself?

French concession area

When the French ruled Shanghai between the years of 1849 and 1946, they called their territory the the French Concession. The neighborhood is like “Paris of the East”. Anyone who has been to Paris will immediately recognize the architecture, iron fences and stair railings.

This trendy neighborhood has been attracting people for over a century, and it has since become a huge metropolis. Numerous hotels and big retail malls are found among many other massive buildings. At the same time, many historic structures and even whole districts have undergone restoration to make sure the area keeps the authentic look.

Xinhua Panyu Road

Our house in Shanghai was in the Xinhua area at Panyu Road. Close to my home are a few bakeries, restaurants and some parcs. It is an absolutely stunning neighbourhood.

The buildings in Shanghai’s French Concession come in a wide variety and are incredibly interesting take photos of. It’s a unique and wonderful experience to be in China while wondering around in this European style area.

Small backyard

I was blown away by the house’s teeny tiny backyard. As soon as the sliding glass doors were opened, it felt like an extension of the main house, almost like having a second indoor living room in the backyard.

Even the cats enjoyed the opportunity to go outside and play (if the air was fresh that day).

Street cats

One night I was listening to music when I heard a peculiar, high-pitched sound that I couldn’t place. I couldnt pinpoint the source of the problem, maybe it was the refrigerator, air conditioner, or next-door neighbors?

After looking for the source of the noise, I found that it was coming from outside. On the blanket there was a mother cat with her four kittens. Omg!

What made them even cuter was that the mother wasn’t shy about showing off her babies. I was able to come close enough to reach out and feed them. Because she had so many young to feed, the mother was very hungy. I gave her food every day and when I left Shanghai, I bought a huge bag of dry food and gave it to the neighbor next door. She would make sure the cats would get enough food.

Extension of the house

At the backside of the house the kitchen was extended. When Chinese friends came over they immediately noticed it and said, that extension is probably not legal! whait… what? My friend said yes, it’s illegal to extend these old authentic houses so the landlord must have really good connections! Right! It’s one of those remarkable things how things work in China.

On to the next country

At the end of 2021 it was time for me to move back to The Netherlands. I was going back for six months and then on to another country. We didn’t know back then where we would end up. It turned out to be Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq!

A man standing on top of a sand dune with his arms outstretched.

About the author

Chris Oberman is the founder and author of Moving Jack and has been traveling the world for over 20 years to 40+ countries.

He lives in a different country every two years which allows him to gain unique in-depth insights and experiences in new places abroad.

Quoted on, NRC Newspaper, Vice,and Feedspot.

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