Shanghai to Seattle

Seattle hipstersAfter flying all night, I arrived in Seattle this morning for a quick layover before moving on to Las Vegas.  I’m going to be in the US for a month on business, just one day after moving into our new apartment in Shanghai.  Thom is staying behind to hold down the fort and hopefully get the hot water working before I return.

Already I am sitting in Stumptown coffee on Capital Hill in Seattle and reflecting on the immediate and striking differences between Seattle and Shanghai.  First, the internet is blazing fast and I don’t have to VPN out to get on social media.  Yipee!  You don’t realize how buggy and slow wifi is in China after awhile-you just get used to it.  So, score one for Seattle but, wait because Seattle falls short in cleanliness–the streets here are just dirty.  In Shanghai, there are government workers on every block sweeping up debris.   Here, the leaves have fallen (and it is much colder here!) and no one seems to care.  Clean up your act, Seattle!!!    Then, there are the Seattle hipsters, dressed in skinny jeans, scarves and facial hair, bringing their large dogs into the coffee shop.   What?   I can only imagine the tirade that would cause in China–dogs might be the entrée but they certainly aren’t allowed to be customers in restaurants.

I haven’t driven in China, obviously because I value my life, so getting behind wheel of my SUV here was weird and the drivers here actually follow the driving rules.  That’s just crazy talk!  I immediately went into a grocery store and was shocked at all the cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pies, etc.–no wonder Americans are so fat!!!   Honestly, I was brave enough to go to WalMart and Carrefour this week in Shanghai and their few bakery items are in the back of the store not upfront like in the US.  No, in China, they feature fruit up front-weird, crazy ass fruit that can smell just awful but I am sure is better for your health than red velvet cakes galore like here.

Street scene

Seattle seems like such a small, quiet place now.  There aren’t hundreds of apartment skyscrapers housing millions of people.  There aren’t scooters and the bicycles you see in Seattle are very techie and not outfitted with baskets for groceries.  In Shanghai, the bicycles are used for commuting but also for commercial business-it’s incredible what they can haul around town. Thom and I saw the bike pictured above hauling a household of furniture on the streets of Shanghai.  Amazingly balanced!

I’m excited to experience the US now through a whole new lens.  I will appreciate many things that I have taken for granted I am sure.  I have a weird feeling though that this is no longer my home. I miss Shanghai-even with all the chaos, I can’t wait to return  and continue our great adventure.  That is, if Thom can get the hot water working….if not, I may have to extend my stay here…

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