Earlier this week, my friend Matt, a reporter for China Daily, asked me to provide some quotes for an article about life as an expat in Shanghai. I gave him my views on the easy transition and the similarities and contrasts from my time in Colombia. I thought nothing of it and assumed he would weave a line or two into his text; but apparently I was quoted heavily enough to warrant a picture in the paper. Not having any solo pictures of me galavanting through the streets of China, I scrambled to get something together and asked a coworker, Maja Kelly, to take some photos after work, around the neighborhood.
Our school is located in the outskirts of the city, shadowed by the iconic, futuristic high rises, in a district called Kangqiao in Pudong. It’s not as exciting of an area as Puxi (the other side of the river), but it’s quite photogenic, and provides a glimpse of what life used to be like in this thriving metropolis.
The walls are dilapidated and decaying, and homes are mostly made of crumbling cement. When you’re not behind a lens, the monotone gray can seem depressing. But somehow the drabness becomes the perfect backdrop for portraits, and to show the reality of life in Shanghai.
It was a fun afternoon; not because I love having my photo taken (cause I don’t), but because it caused quite the commotion among our Chinese neighbors, allowing for more interaction than usual. The Chinese people are wonderfully warm and friendly, but unfortunately their hard exterior and lack of English often times prevents tourists from seeing them in this light.
Thank you to Matt for inciting the need for this photo shoot, and to Maja for doing such a beautiful job capturing the essence of Kangqiao. I’m happy to be able to share a small peak into my Shanghai life with all of you.