I need to tell you a secret. I’m working on something. Finally. I just about, pretty much, almost decided to make this happen. It’s something we’ve talked about it since before we moved to China, since this blog was just beginning, and I’ve had friends and readers suggest it many times. But I was unconvinced.
have had many reasons why I can’t couldn’t do it.
It’s just too… long.
Plus, I’m not a writer. I’m an artist. I just draw pretty pictures, remember?
Ok, I know I write this blog, but it isn’t the same. I don’t like “real” writing. Where I have to follow the rules and use complete sentences. And not use so many commas. (I like commas. A lot. And incomplete sentences.) In fact, you could probably use a lot of my posts in those elementary grammar lessons where you underline and circle the grammar corrections. They’d be covered in red. (However, most of the time they are purposefully incorrect. I do know how to write correctly, I just don’t like to. I’m a rebel like that.)
And I’m no expert. I’m just a country girl who happened to move around the world. I’m still learning how to “live in China” myself, how am I supposed to tell someone else how to do it?
And I’m not sure what kind of book to write. Sure, I know it would be about moving to China. But what then? Our life as expats? Why would anyone want to read about that? Plus, it’s been done lots of times before. A “how-to” book? Something funny? None of those things got me excited enough to make it happen.
But you know what does get me excited?
Helping people make this crazy transition from Western life to living in China. There are so many things to learn, so much that is over-whelming, so much unknown. I was there. Still am. In the beginning, I remember how much I searched and googled and yet, still felt so unprepared.
Obviously, I’m no expert, and I don’t know all the answers, but I love to share what I’ve learned. It’s become my favorite thing about this blog. Answering reader questions and emails. Trying to make this big scary move just a little bit easier for you. You aren’t alone. In fact, there are a lot of us here going through the same things. Plus, I’m a firstborn. I really just like giving advice and telling people what to do. (Just ask my siblings. I’m kinda bossy. And a “know-it-all”.)
And I learn something new every day. I’ve sort of made it my “mission” to know this city and enjoy my life here. And I want you to enjoy it too. Not just endure it, but enjoy it. I know not everyone will love Shenyang. I know it’s not the easiest place to live. But it has a lot to offer if you know where to look.
Maybe I don’t know ALL the answers, but if I can make it even a little easier for you when you move to Shenyang, then I’d like to do that.
And so, after tossing the idea around for over a year. I’ve finally decided to make it happen. An ebook.
“The Expat’s Guide to Shenyang” by Country Fried Egg Roll
I’m telling you this now so I can’t back out. Because I know, before this is finished, I will want to.
I’m also telling you because I need your help.
What do you think? Do we even need another “expat guide”? I know there are others, although I haven’t seen one specifically for Shenyang. My tentative plan at this point is to focus on moving to and living life in Shenyang. While some things will obviously overlap and could be useful for moving to other parts of China as well, we’ve only lived in Shenyang. I’m not sure where and how things would differ so I’m sticking to what I know.
(I also intend to keep the same tone and voice I use with this blog. Overuse of ellipses, parentheses, incomplete sentences and all. It’s just how I roll. If you’re looking for formal writing… well, you probably wouldn’t be here now, would you?)
My tentative “table of contents”. I expect this to change and morph a lot, but here’s where I’m starting.
1. The Official Stuff – Getting your documents in order
- Visas, Residence Permit, Embassies, Police Registration
2. Getting You & Your Stuff Here
- Arrival, Jetlag, Shipments, Customs, What to pack
3. We’re Not in Kansas Anymore – Cultural Differences
- Life, Business, Tipping, Calendars, Gifts, Weddings, Holidays
4. Need a new pad? – Housing
- Apartment complexes, Hotels, Furniture
5. Getting around town – Transportation
- Personal driver, taxis, buses, metro, getting a license
6. Ting bu dong - Learning Chinese… or not.
- Basic Mandarin phrases, classes, pinyin, translators, apps
7. Bringing the family – Spouses, kids, & pets
- School, ayi, vet
8. What’s there to do around here? – Recreation
- Things to do and see, in Winter & Summer.
9. Managing the Details
- Bills, mail, taxes, banking
10. Can you hear me now? – Communication
- Phones, internet, Skype, Google Voice, QQ/Renren
11. This ain’t your mama’s cooking – Restaurants
- Western restaurants, Restaurant recommendations, Places to eat, tipping
12. Somebody call a doctor – Health & Wellness
- International wing of Shenyang 2 hospital, Global Doctor, English speaking dentist,
13. Where’s the Walmart? – Grocery Shopping
- Import stores, local markets, where to buy what
14. Shop til you drop –
- Clothes, shoes, household goods, crafts & hobbies
15. Time to get away – Traveling outside of Shenyang
-Ctrip, Trains, Tripadvisor,
16. There’s more of us than you think! – Local resources
- International Club, List of international companies,
Am I missing something? We’ve been here for a year and a half now and so I’ve forgotten a lot of those early questions and concerns now that I’ve “figured it out” (or learned to do without). Things that I take for granted now may still be difficult for you.
If you’re going to move to China in the future, what do you need to know? What questions do you have?
Or if you’re new to Shenyang, what are you struggling to accomplish? What do you wish you’d known? What do you wish you’d packed? What do you need to buy or find?
Will you leave a comment below? Or email me? I’d love to have your input for this endeavor.