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Ask me about nomad life here

I would be lying if I said I knew Shanghai’s winter would be this hard. It’s not really all that cold in number terms, but it is probably the hardest winter I’ve ever had. The weather today was not a big deal, in most places I’ve lived. Balmy compared to some, at 6 degrees Centigrade.


Inside our house, it is probably just as cold or nearly. You see, one doesn’t put insulation into buildings in Shanghai. We don’t have central heating. Our attempts to warm the apartment are limited to a standup heater bought on Taobao (of course), and the heat lamps in our shower. When we moved into the apartment here in Minhang, I remember looking at the things and thinking how useless they must be. It had already hit 40 C in Shanghai by the time we arrived in April.

It is so cold indoors that we can only be warm by isolating ourselves in a single room, wearing huge amounts of layers, and putting on the small heater. We literally live in our ‘BYE BYE STAR’ hoodies, which I bought as a gag gift for Christmas.

I seriously underestimated Shanghai’s winter. I have a cold. This is very difficult to cure, due to the sheer cold, the pollution, and the mould indoors (not to mention the fact that there is very little to do except for drink indoors in the cold, mouldy, polluted air).


Bushy is suffering, too. 


Most nights, we barricade ourselves in the bedroom and look at ways of escaping on the Internet. 

Escape! I need escape. I’ve been such a grumpy teacher lately. I just can’t take the way that my younger students are unable to listen to anything, shove their papers in my face when finished, and throw trash everywhere in the classroom. I sometimes am tempted to tell them just how unacceptable their behaviour would be in a real-life Anglophone classroom. throwing trash on the ground, because you know that an Ayi will come clean it up for your middle-class arse? Not on my watch, Jason. Trash can, please.

I need a vacation.


At least, a particularly annoying student of mine made me these beautiful traditional Chinese New Year banners. A bit forgiven for being a jerk in class, Ryan. A bit.

2 comments on “i would never have known this would be shanghai’s winter

  1. mmonroe841 says:

    Do they have electric blankets on TaoBao? Direct application of heat to body might feel good…

    1. Coleen says:

      We have a hot water bottle which helps. Just damp cold. It’s hard to get rid of the damp part, you know?

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