15 Aug Big City Life to Another Level
Coming to Shanghai I didn’t know what to expect. Growing up in a suburb of the third largest city in America, Chicago, I thought I knew what a big city was like. I was wrong. The skyline of Chicago is beautiful. You can see it from North to South, driving East toward Lake Michigan. Shanghai on the other hand, is all skyline. Imagine being on the Rocky Mountains with nothing but mountains surrounding you. That is what it’s like to be in the largest city in the world. As far as the eye can see, there is nothing but skyscrapers.
After realizing how big Shanghai really was, I imagined that the people would be similar to Chicago as well. I was mistaken. It’s whole another way here. Everyone is trying to get from point A to B as quickly as possible. The concept of personal space is pretty much non existing when walking around, driving, or on the metro. Things we consider politeness in public places, such as “ladies first” or “excuse me” you don’t see here, which is also very different to me.
Usually the way I go to work is headphones on, walking at my own pace, without a worry in the world about anyone else. My colleague and I have come across with some situations that would not occur in the US. Everyone is in a hurry trying to get their way, and when it’s over 25 million people in the city it is an organized chaos. This is one cultural difference I still do not fully understand.
Another major difference that I love about Shanghai is the cleanliness (besides the air). Everyone throws their trash and cigarette butts in appropriate containers, the roads are always being cleaned, and finding chewing gum on the sidewalks is extremely rare. The Chinese are very good at picking up after themselves, but personal hygiene is not quite the same story. Another perk of riding the metro with hundreds of people at once. The metro is the most convenient way to travel around the city, but also the biggest hassle I face each day.