50 Photographs of Suzhou: The Venice of the China

10 Jul
by Ami Sanyal

One of the best features of living in Shanghai is that we can take quick trips to many nearby cities and countries. Here are 50 images from our first venture out of Shanghai.

This post includes:

  • Traveling to Suzhou
  • The Suzhou Calm Garden
  • A tour of a Suzhou silk factory
  • The Beisi Pagoda
  • Life on the canals
  • and our overall impression of Suzhou

Continue reading


4 Reasons Why Our Chinese Home Beats Our Vancouver Apartment

12 Jun

Ni hao!

Some people have been asking me about our new apartment in Shanghai so I thought I’d explain why we love love it!

Apartment Hunting In Shanghai

The apartment hunt started a few short days after landing in Shanghai, and our initial search was incredibly disappointing. The first places we saw were very ghetto-esque, with filthy buildings and dingy apartments the size of bread boxes.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, work quickly became too intensive for me to continue house hunting; so Ami had to go it on his own. Luckily, his solo search was successful and he found our apartment within five days of our arrival!

With me occupied at work, Ami was forced to sign our lease before I had seen our new home, but I was over the moon with the place he had chosen as soon as I stepped foot inside.

This new place is much nicer than our past apartment in Vancouver, and we’d love to find a space just like it when we come back to Canada.

Here’s why we love it: Continue reading

The Darker Side of Teaching, Nightlife and Food in Shanghai

24 May


I am enjoying the weather today in Shanghai. It is cool and rainy and it is reminding me of Vancouver which makes me happy.

Beware of Wrath

I am slowly adjusting to teaching ESL at English First.  While most of my students are well behaved, I have one difficult fourteen year old that caused me a lot of frustration last week.

He’s a typical teenage boy—too cool for school and wanting attention from his classmates. This particular lesson he was disturbing the class with his crazy high giggle. After a few warnings I finally asked him to change seats.

When he refused I had to threaten sending his parents an update about his behavior. I was surprised at how intimidating my own wrath could be—I never knew I had it in me!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like getting stern with students—but this boy’s behavior has since improved drastically. At least it was effective! Continue reading

Homeless in China (And Other Genius Moves)

20 May


Ni hao!

I am sorry for the lack of communication recently but work has taken over my life!  That being said, I am starting to get into more of a flow with my schedule—so I’ll try to be a better blogger.

Do You Have Your Keys?

So on Wednesday we were winding down after a long day of sight seeing and errands, when we realized we were out of drinking water. This meant dragging ourselves off the couch to go down to the convenience store for a jug.

As we left the apartment I asked Ami, “do you have your keys?” He said that he did, so I swung the door closed. The sound of the automatic lock clicking shut was immediately followed by Ami muttering, “uhh, actually I don’t have it.”

“You’re kidding, right!?!?” Continue reading

ESL Training in Minhang

2 May

I have had a few days of training and now I am being thrown in with a full schedule starting this Thursday…yikes… The first week has been a bit overwhelming at my school in Minhang with English First (EF).

I feel like I have been given so much information that its’ been hard to stay focussed on what I should be doing. Continue reading

Week One

26 Apr

I can’t believe tomorrow will mark one week since we left Vancouver.

We are starting to get more used to the crazy traffic in Shanghai: the families of three or four riding motorbikes, how buses drive crazy fast, and how people use their horns constantly- not as a sign of anger-more for safety as a way to let other people know they’re there. Continue reading

Arrived in Shanghai!

19 Apr

Metro station in Xijiahui


We have finally begun our adventure to Shanghai and it still doesn’t feel completely real…Ami and I keep looking at each other and laughing out loud every now and again and saying ” I can’t believe we’re actually in China!”

It’s just so crazy it’s hard for us to get over.

Our flight went relatively smoothly-our first flight was delayed by two hours so we left Vancouver at 4:30am.  A new connecting flight had to be arranged as we were stopping over in Hong Kong and only had a two hour stop over.  Then, once we got to Hong Kong, we just barely made our connecting flight- a stewardess hurried us along into the bowels of the HK airport and got us there five minutes before take off.

Needless to say…our luggage didn’t quite make it. Continue reading