I’m writing this from the future, in Shanghai, as I try to adjust to the complete opposite of my normal sleeping habits. (Shanghai is 13 hours ahead of EST-my “home” time zone in Michigan) I have never been a big fan of night shift sleeping, but at least there is daylight while my body clock figures what’s going on.
So Shanghai. How did I get here? Well, it all started because a GVSU nursing classmate volunteered with an organization called Project Hope. I went to the website and saw a position asking for volunteers to teach nursing in Shanghai. I had the minimum qualifications, but applied anyways. I really didn’t expect to hear back from them, but then again, how many people volunteer their time, especially abroad? After a few months of back and forth emails, two trips to Chicago, and a 15-hour flight, here we are in Shanghai.
After being here less than 48 hours, we met with the program director, Lily, who even took us out to dinner for “Japanese noodle” on the first night. We ventured to the Walmart, which was a little overwhelming, partly because of the crowds related to the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year, and partly because most of the packages are only written in Chinese. We managed to get some chicken breasts, broccoli, some beer, and a few other items, all for under $25. The prices seem to be cheaper than the US for most food items (2 tomatoes for about $ 0.50), while the Starbucks charges about double ($4 for a venti coffee).
Another of the girls, ShanShan or “Sandy”, who works in the Project Hope office, took us to the China Mobile store to get local SIM cards for phones we are borrowing while we are here. The phone plans we purchased cost about $16 for about one month of use! Seems so cheap compared to the $50+ most people pay in the US. But, there are tradeoffs. As Sandy explained to us that no one can purchase a house here because the government owns the land, but one is able to buy an apartment (for 70 years), starting at around $640,000. So while some things are inexpensive, others are very pricey.
I’m also excited to learn more about nursing in China while I’m here. The guesthouse we are staying in is right across the parking lot from Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, the top hospital for children in the country. Sandy informed me that they perform about 12 pediatric cardiac surgeries on a daily basis, for around 3,500 cases per year! She also told me that in some wards, there is only one nurse for 20-40 patients, which I cannot even imagine.
We have already visited the Bund district (pictured above), Century Park, and a couple of the GIANT shopping malls (Super Brand & Next Age). Most employees are off for a full 7 days to celebrate, so we will have plenty of time to explore.
Happy Goat Year!