I have no idea why anybody would read this blog.
In the pursuit of getting 100 followers, I realized that I have no idea why anyone would find this blog remotely interesting. With the exception of my few closest friends (who worships the ground that I walk on) who else could possibly care about my moderately amusing love life?
Therefore, rather than spending too much time trying to make this blog more marketable to more people, I’m just gonna write for the few people that this blog was originally intended for. (If you are not one of those few, thank you for reading anyway, you are too kind!)
So, if I can bring a chuckle or two to your otherwise boring workday, then that’s all I really care about.
Princess Kathleen the Third
So back at the Sunday Expat Meeting, I walked into the coffee shop in Xintiandi, extremely nervous and keenly aware that I am alone.
I looked around at the different tables available.
Do I sit with the group of middle-aged white couples? Or the Skater boy teenagers?
It was like the first day of school, looking around for a seat in the cafeteria. Which WILL determine your social status for the rest of the year.
Finally I spotted a few young professionals in their twenties. As I walked towards them, I had to urge to join the knitting grandmas instead. See in Canada, I would never go up to a group of people, interrupt their conversation, and introduce myself.
“Hi, may I…”
Before I was able to finish my sentence, the girl there grabbed my hand and pulled me to the couch. “Of course! Sit! Sit with us!”
This is Helen, the friendliest person you will ever meet.
While she is Brazilian, which probably accounts for her warm demeanour, I learned later on that most expats are generally enthusiastic and open to meeting new people. That’s how you make friends here.
So really, I had nothing to be afraid of.
She introduced herself and asked me the “3 Ws”.
What’s your name?
Where are you from?
What are you doing in Shanghai?
The “3 Ws” are questions that everyone ask during initial meetings in Shanghai. Practically everyone here comes from somewhere else. Everybody has a long and elaborate story about why they are here. It usually involves drugs and hookers.
Just kidding! Or am I?
Her name is Helen, she was born and bred in sunny Brazil, but her parents were originally from Shanghai. She looked Malaysian to me.
She fell in love with Shanghai when she studied here briefly during the 2010 Expo, then decided to find a job here upon graduation. Now she’s working at a Brazilian Trading Company.
To her right, is some Swedish guy… But he’s not important, because we never saw him again. So let’s skip to Lukas.
Lukas is this skinny, tall, gangly ginger from Belgium. He’s so white he could burst into flames if exposed to sun for too long. (His words, not mine) He was an engineer, and is now a supervisor at a Belgian plant in China. Prior to Shanghai, he was in Taiwan for a year. His girlfriend from Taiwan is actually coming here next week!
Both of them have no family here, and are looking to make some friends.
My heart almost exploded with joy as I gushed “Me too! ME too!”
The feeling of being a foreigner, all alone in a new country really bonds people. People that otherwise would never become friends. All my friends back home were accountants. Now I can add Exporter and Engineer to my list!
The three of us talked about everything, our lives here, our lives back home, strange things about China (Always carry your own toilet paper!).
We chatted and chatted until the coffee shop is practically empty, but we didn’t want to stop. Lukas suggested a bar called Bell in Tianzifang, which has buy-one-get-one beers. Sold!
Lukas invited his friend Josh to join us, and we debated the merits of Iphones over Stellas and fries.
And just like that, I had 3 new friends.