To the Flight attendants on our flight from SFO: Thank you for putting up so well with the Chinese requests for hot water. Our food was ok.
To the driver that brought us from the airport: Thank you for carrying our ridiculously heavy suitcases to the car. Thank you for laughing when we messed up getting into the car. That was a genuine laugh. Thank you for not getting lost on your way to the hotel. Thank you for introducing us to Shanghai and its vast electrical grid, more massive than I’ve ever seen. Thank you for avoiding crashes.
To the driver for EF: Thank you for gathering us all for our first day at work. Thank you for driving us to the hospital for our health check. Thank you for being kind despite not speaking any English.
To the Ayi at the hospital: Thank you for being so no nonsense. Thank you for helping us with our forms. Thank you for caring when I stayed behind for my husband. Thank you for supporting us so well for this important visa step.
To the housekeeper at the hotel: Thank you for making our bed and giving us water every day.
To the server at the Hunan Restaurant: Thank you for putting up with our piss-poor Mandarin! We tried so hard, and you were so kind and understanding even though we weren’t sure about anything. Our meal was delicious.
To the manager at the HotPot restaurant: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to make sure that we had our bibs on correctly. Thank you for demonstrating how to cook our meat and how to eat properly. That was one of the best meals we’ve had in Shanghai so far.
To the vast numbers of cleaning ladies in all the buildings and plazas we’ve stepped into: Thank you so much for keeping things clean and bright looking. I can’t even imagine what it would look like without you.
To the unseen people who sorted out our visa documents: Thank you for being so precise. Thank you for taking us into account and believing that we should be here. Thank you for sending them on time and helping us to work within the great Chinese bureaucracy.
To the police officer at the station: Thank you for registering us without incident. I promise we will return with our hotel check out slip.
And so many more, who are not anonymous. Ben, our agent. Lucy, who set up our bank accounts. All the recruiters at our company, especially Jessica who worked directly with us to set this transition up.
Every time I move abroad, a team of more than 50 people are around at various points. Anonymous or not, support comes from all sides so that I can make it to the new country and set myself up with a functioning bank account/place to live/legal residence status. It pushes me to believe in, to rely upon, the basic goodness of humanity. At times it is hard to have faith. But then I step back and see the many who have a vested interest or just a casual welcoming attitude and it’s remarkable.
I feel very welcome in China. Thank you all.