So I’ve been in China for almost two weeks now. No prospects on a long-term visa but I have a few leads for tutoring and writing gigs.
I’ve spent a bit more money than I anticipated in my first few weeks here but it wasn’t until I picked up a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon did I figure out how and why.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Korea, there were a lot of things, namely foodstuffs, that I just flat-out didn’t have access to. The plethora of Western-style bakeries, grocery chains, bars and restaurants have given me access to things I wouldn’t otherwise find in Korea. As a result, I’ve spent quite a bit of money buying things for their sheer novelty.
For example, last week I went to City Shop, a chain of Western-oriented supermarkets around Shanghai. They have a deli with inexpensive meats and cheeses produced in China. I bought Italian sausages made from Chinese pork, fresh brie, baguettes and even beer from North Coast and Rogue Breweries. It all came at a price, of course.
With Korea being a much smaller country, and arable land much more prized, the markets cater to the direct needs of the Korean people. Getting fresh bread is possible, the effort and price often outweighed the novelty. In Shanghai, however, it’s all readily available. It’s especially the case now that I live more centrally-located than I did in Korea.
So, until I get a job, my goals are to begin living more cheaply. I can get Halal noodles from a shop down the street delivered for $0.90 a meal.
It’s the microbreweries and avocado-laden sandwiches at places like The Boxing Cat that get me into trouble. I think with time though, I’ll be able to get into my groove and know how to manage everything once the novelty wears off.
John is a Technical Success Manager at WP Engine. Before moving to Austin, John lived in South Korea and China for the better part of four years. His life as an amateur Chinese web censorship expert, traveler, map nerd and beer geek can be found on this site.