1. It’s easy to make friends because everyone has only been here a short time and people are always moving away so you have to keep looking for friends.
2. Our friends are from all over the world and so not only are we learning about Chinese culture, but we also see firsthand what German birthday parties are like, learn Aussie words, and get parenting tips specific to Malaysians.
3. I don’t know about the rest of China, but there’s a load to do here. New restaurants are always opening, there are museums galore, and interesting neighborhoods and unusual markets, and everyone comes here to shop.
4. We don’t need to own a car. Taxis are super cheap and the subway is only 2 blocks away. The subway already has stations at most important destinations, but they are currently expanding it to prepare for the Shanghai Expo in 2010 and they plan on opening 100 (I think) more stations before next April.
5. Every time I leave home I see something interesting or am learning something.
6. Shopping- We have a bronze warrior statue, wood inlay cricket boxes, hand painted bone china, freshwater pearls, and lots of fake stuff.
7. We can live comfortably on one income. I LOVE being a full time mom.
8. The Chinese really like fresh food. I love going to the wet market which is a market with produce fresh from the farm and live animals. We buy our fish and shrimp live and the fruits and vegetables look great and are cheap.
9. Domestic help is very common and almost expected. Mei (Ella and Jack’s nanny) is key to our happiness here. Not only does she help us with the kids, which alone is a huge job, but she also helps clean, cook, sew, interpret, and run errands.
10. Did I mention Mei also helps entertain the kids, gives them baths, does laundry, changes diapers, buys food, mails packages, and anything else I can think of. She is the personal assistant we all wish we had. She is the main reason I wanted to spend a second year in China.
I could go on, but “The 20 Best Things about Living in China” doesn’t have the same ring.