What?? How did that happen? Two weeks has simultaneously felt like two years as well as two seconds. Today my parents make their way back to the Great White North and are probably just getting ready to board the plane as I write this. The first two weeks was nothing like I expected, mostly because for the first time in my life, I experienced culture shock. Before completing good ol’ PD8(An online co-op course that UWaterloo co-op students complete during their work terms) I had a misconception about what exactly "culture shock" was. In my mind, when people said “you’re going to experience culture shock for sure” my thoughts were “I don’t know, I’m pretty prepared for what I’m getting myself into. I have a pretty good idea about the lifestyle there”. But what I didn’t know is that culture shock is not the state of not understanding a culture and then being exposed to it, but rather, it’s having your normal world turned upside-down, taken out of your everyday lifestyle, and suddenly being thrown into a completely new one. It’s being homesick, unsure, scared, nervous, etc. PD managed to teach me something! So for the first few days, I unexpectedly experienced culture shock. I normally have no problem with huge, sudden change. It’s a trait that comes with moving every 4 months I suppose. It wasn’t so much being homesick or nervous that fuelled my culture shock, but it was the Murphy’s Law that had decided to act upon my life that stressed me out to no end, longing for the safety net of St. Paul’s: No matter where I am, I could walk home, I could have a bowl of cereal, I have a cozy bed and Ron is there to cook me my eggs in the morning and Freddy is there to tell my stories to over dinner and property brothers. My first few days in China felt like nothing was going right. I couldn’t find an apartment and time was running out, my bank card wouldn’t withdraw money from the banks here even though I notified my bank about my whereabouts, the VPN I was given from my job wasn’t working, and that sudden cut off of communication from my friends was pretty rough. I couldn’t get my phone unlocked or a simple SIM card. EVERY apartment that had a bit of hope fell through time after time, making me feel more and more defeated. When I went to go see an apartment, the girl flopped on the viewing by the time we got there. After that mishap an old Chinese man screamed at me from across the road when I pulled out my phone to check the time. He was pulling a wagon with about 200 wooden chairs stacked on it, so I assume he thought I was about to snap a picture of him. He really did not want that. It was a scream that I’ll describe as an elephant that just stepped on a lego piece. The second I heard it my heart fell through to the floor before I even knew what was going on. It was that type of scream. It just made me feel even worse about everything that was going on. Over the course of the next few days things picked up. We met a few people who live here through my dad’s work friends. They helped with life pointers such as places to eat, getting a metro card, as well as getting my phone unlocked with a SIM card and a free phone in the span of 15 mins. I found an apartment close to work and had a great first week in the office. Every time I went out the door I found myself thinking “lol”. This was during things like getting into a taxi and having the driver cough something up and spit out the window. This, amongst the other gross habits in China made me laugh at the joke that is my life. But as things started to look up and I met more people, I am finding myself falling in love with this city very easily, already wanting to extend the term to an 8 month, before the 4 month even really gets off the ground. The other night as I was thinking about what my response would be to the question “what was your favourite thing about Shanghai?” when I was getting out of a taxi and thinking my response would be “When the taxi driver understands you.” It really is something to take for granted, and such a moment of bliss when it works out. But I have since then changed my answer to “All of the new people you meet from all over the world”. Everyday we were meeting new friends and adding them to wechat. I invited a couple from France to share a table with us at a crowded restaurant, where we were the obvious only expats, my parents asked for directions from some guy, ended up sharing egg tarts, and taking selfies, and my new roommates are from: China, Korea, and Australia. Shanghai is a city filled with expats like myself and it is so much fun. Here are some snapshots of the first two weeks with my parents. Thanks for reading! I sincerely appreciate the interest.