Luxury Living in Shanghai

The pearl of the Orient. The whore of the Orient. Depending on the individual, Shanghai can conjure up a lot of different images for people who have never stepped foot here. For most Westerners, this city offers a mix of opulence and opportunity, exotic experiences and culture shock. Most importantly, Shanghai is the commercial vanguard of China’s sprint into the 21st-century.

Once upon a time, multinational companies had to offer lucrative compensation packages for their employees to move to the ‘3rd-world’ region of Shanghai. This city has long since cast off the undeserved reputation of an undeveloped environment. Indeed, Shanghai has become one of the most sought-after destinations for those with dollars in their eyes and adventure in their hearts. Entire industries have sprung up to provide luxury living to Shanghai’s 130,000+ foreigners, offering everything from spa resorts and yacht clubs to lavish lounges and the trendiest boutiques.

Life in Shanghai can be rich, fulfilling and completely unique. However, a comfortable lifestyle requires preparation and knowledge. Dirt-cheap dumplings (jiaozi for those living here) can be a great snack right after touching down in Shanghai, but there comes a time when many foreigners start craving the cuisine of home. While the skyscrapers here can be breathtaking at first glance, they can become claustrophobic at the 100th glance, making the city’s green parks a welcome respite. Likewise, this city offers a wide range of luxury villas and fully-serviced apartments for wealthier foreigners. However, many are located in areas which may not be ideal for certain lifestyles and certain demographics.

It can be tough enough adjusting to the drastically different culture and language after touching down. Fortunately, there are professional relocation agencies that can help you find a home, process your visa and even find the perfect international school for your kids. However, a truly luxurious lifestyle requires knowledge: for example, of where the best spa’s and boutiques are, of where you can go to get away from the frantic energy of Shanghai’s urban sprawl, of what each serviced apartment complex offers. This section is for readers thinking of, or preparing to, move to Shanghai. Luxury Living in Shanghai will act as a guide for those readers who want to continue their luxurious lifestyle in this city.

Luxury Living in Shanghai: A Tale Story Quick-Thinking

Leasing an apartment in Shanghai can be a high-pressure experience. This is not a buyer’s market, where eager apartment-hunters can take their time sampling properties. My first experience renting an apartment in Shanghai went without a hitch. The first place I saw was perfect in terms of location and price. The interior was older than what I was used to in Canada, but it was comfortable and more than adequate for my needs. My second experience showed me just how urgent a Shanghai apartment-hunt can be.

I decided to move into a new place once the lease was up, and was lucky enough to receive the help of Julie (one of our top property consultants). I found 3 places which I liked, but all fell through for one reason or another (one uncooperative landlord and two which were leased out to other tenants before we could close the deal).

On Tuesday the 14th we saw a unit in Wuyi Gardens, an older complex just south of the bustling Zhongshan Park. The buildings’ exteriors were utilitarian and ugly, but the compound had a nice garden and well-maintained facilities. Besides for some frilly purple curtains, this 11th-floor unit met all my needs for an apartment. It had a great view of the city with a roomy interior, two balconies, a good price, and most importantly (for me), a great location. I called my roommate and told him to get down here as fast as possible, but he was coming from Hongkou on the opposite end of the city so I knew it would be a while before he got here.

The agent that Julie and I were with (a close contact of our company) knew of another open apartment a few blocks away. Although he claimed that the unit was amazing, he also said informed me it was a 1st-floor unit slightly more expensive than the one I was standing in. Immediately, I decided against leasing it, but out of sheer boredom I agreed to go see this place.

After 10 miserable minutes in the rain, we opened the door and I paused in the doorway, shocked at how nice the place was. A big dining room stretched out into an even bigger living room…which stretched out even further into a roomy private garden out back. Author’s Note: ‘gardens’ are how the locals describe the small, private courtyards behind many 1st-floor properties. Some of these might have actual gardens in the Western sense of the word (with flowers, shrubbery, etc.) However, many of these are just walled off backyards.

This place was a slam dunk. I knew it was perfect on first sight, but I had just started my job at Salo Homes and didn’t fully appreciate the cutthroat nature of a Shanghai apartment-hunt. I wasn’t sure whether my roommate would be willing to pay the premium for this place, so I decided to show him the first apartment before bringing him back. Julie was sick (and had been running around with a rough cold for much of the week), so she opted to stay in the apartment instead of walking further in the rain. In the 30 minutes that we were gone, she fended off two other parties of apartment-hunters who showed a lot of interest in the place.

My roommate had the exact same reaction to the garden flat that I had. It took us about 2 minutes of giddy exploration before we decided to sign the lease. It was a huge weight off my shoulders to find a new apartment…one that not only met my requirements, but that exceeded all my expectations as to what was within my budget.

It was pure luck that Julie decided to stay behind, and if she had been feeling a little healthier I would probably have lost that apartment to someone else. Shanghai’s a big city, and I’m sure I would have found another great place to live in…but I think I might have felt a little bitter if we had ended up moving into another place.

Luck was how I managed to get this apartment. But now I know the importance of decisiveness and quick-thinking when finding a new home in Shanghai.

French Concession Living: Patina Court

The French Concession was one of the first parts of Shanghai to take on the cosmopolitan flavor that the city is famous for today. A stroll through this area allows you to experience old-world colonial charm, ultra-modern skyscrapers and local Chinese culture, blended into a fascinating ambience that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. Nowhere is this more apparent than the area surrounding the luxury property named Patina Court, which offers a combination of business and residential spaces for the city’s elite to work hard and play hard.

Patina Court stands right next to Xujiahui Road, a busy street buzzing with the frantic energy of small businesses and multinational offices. Nearby Jianguo Road offers a more intimate slice of local Shanghai life. The trendy café’s, boutiques and art studios of Tianzifang stands in between these two streets. This is a popular creative district perfect for those who appreciate art, fine wine and sumptuous meals. Further away is Ruijin Road, a busy thoroughfare which manages to retain its colonial charm by the plane trees and quaint boutiques lining the side.

Sinan Mansions is a quick 5-10 minute taxi ride away (depending on traffic). This is a massive luxury-focused redevelopment of 49 colonial-era mansions built in the 20’s and 30’s, which now houses some of the city’s best lounges, restaurants and stores. This area epitomizes luxury living, and Patina Court allows Shanghai’s privileged to fully enjoy this district from a comfortable homebase.

Patina Court is especially convenient for successful businesspeople looking to transfer their skills to Shanghai. This development consists of a 25-story office tower alongside a 28-story serviced apartment building. This is ideal for professionals, who can set up a comprehensive office space in the same development as their home. Unwinding on your own couch after a stressful meeting can be a simple pleasure, and a quiet lunch in your own kitchen can recharge your batteries for the second half of the workday.

This apartment complex offers everything from 2- to 4-bedroom apartments, all decorated in a European Baroque style that is posh without being overbearing. Tenants have access to a high-class clubhouse, which includes everything from an indoor pool and gym to a beauty salon. Likewise, a highly-trained staff provides 24-security and housekeeping on a regular basis. The service and luxury provided by Patina Homes can truly enhance the type of high-end lifestyle that is perfectly suited to the surrounding area.

Casa Lakeville Luxury Apartments in Xintiandi

Casa Lakeville is a high-end residential development on the east-end of the French Concession, just steps away from the posh entertainment district of Xintiandi and the bustling commercial area of Huaihai Middle Road. Completed in 2009, this is one of the most modern and luxurious apartments available to Shanghai residents.

Despite being located in one of the most vibrant areas of the city, Casa Lakeville offers its residents a lush, green environment that is perfect for relaxation. Residents are a quick 2 minute walk from the gorgeous Taipingqiao Lake, a manmade lake and park in the heart of Xintiandi. Likewise, the compound itself offers a picturesque array of ponds, gardens and other greenery that can be a peaceful oasis in the middle of Shanghai’s busiest areas.

Casa Lakeville is located in one of the most convenient districts in the city, especially for high-end professionals with high-end tastes. Corporate Avenue, on Hubin Road at the north-end of Taipingqiao Lake, is only 3 blocks away. This is a collection of Grade A office buildings meant specifically for multinational offices. A 10-minute walk north will bring you to the famous Huaihai Middle Road, which offers a dazzling array of trendy boutiques, world-famous brands and high-end commercial buildings.

Xintiandi, one of the trendiest entertainment districts in the city, is on the doorstep of Casa Lakeville. The shops, café’s and restaurants of Xintiandi were re-developed from an old collection of Shikumen houses (literally, ‘stone gate’ houses). Shikumen houses offer an appealing blend of Eastern and Western architectural designs. These were popular in the 1920s and 30s, and are unique to Shanghai.

Residents of Casa Lakeville have convenient access to this trendy area, where they can experience world-class luxury within the quaint ambience of these traditional Shanghainese buildings.

Residents also have a wide-range of comforts at their disposal within the compound, such as the state-of-the-art clubhouse. Fitness fanatics can work out in the fitness center or indoor swimming pool, while those with a love of fine living can enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the café, art gallery or cigar lounge. Residents with a busy work schedule can work in the fully-equipped business center while their children enjoy the playroom. Fashionistas can also enjoy the Casa Lakeville fashion center, which boasts a number of flagship stores for international brands, a design training institute and a City Shop supermarket, offering residents the best organic ingredients around.

The apartments within Casa Lakeville are all designed with a modern, minimalist decoration scheme in mind. The furniture is both tasteful and comfortable, which will impress guests with both its aesthetic qualities as well as its relaxing nature. The apartments were constructed specifically to suit international tastes. As such, the central AC/heating and the double-glazed windows (both rare in Shanghai) offer a welcome respite from the bitter winters and humid summers.

Luxury Living in Shanghai: Tianzifang Art District

Dapuqiao is a bustling area on the southern edge of the French Concession. This was one of the earliest areas in Shanghai to be developed, and is now home to a number of high-rise residential and commercial buildings. Tucked away amidst these skyscrapers is Tianzifang, one of the most popular creative districts in the city.

Once a residential area, developers have converted these traditional Shikumen houses into a wide array of trendy boutiques, classy café’s, and charming art studios alongside souvenir shops that may provide the occasional gem. As Alan Garcia, an expatriate from New York, puts it, “Tianzifang is one of the best places in the city for alfresco dining, and has some of my favorite boutiques and stores that you just can’t find anywhere else.”

The narrow lanes of Tianzifang rarely seem claustrophobic. Rather, the crowded alleyways tend to offer the area a quaint charm. However, the recent influx of tourists can be overwhelming during peak hours (usually weekend afternoons). According to Garcia, this area “can get a little too crowded and busy as it’s becoming more of a tourist destination. But seeing locals living in their old Shikumen houses alongside these chic shops and café’s is a can’t-miss experience.”

Shoppers looking to bolster their wardrobe can check out La Vie, the flagship store of internationally-renowned designer Jenny Ji. Those interested in the local creative scene can stop by the Shoubai Art Gallery, a sprawling 2-story exhibition space featuring Shanghainese art. Those looking to kick back and relax also have a wide selection of café’s and restaurants to choose from. Origin is one of the most popular organic restaurants in the city, offering a mouth-watering array of fresh-squeezed juices, salads and sandwiches. Casa 13 is a trendy Mediterranean restaurant occupying an old 3-story lanehouse. The rooftop terrace is ideal for romantic summer nights, while the tasteful interior can offer a cozy retreat in the colder months.

Tianzifang is on Taikang Road, right across the street from Dapu Bridge metro station (line 9). For those taking a taxi, the closest major intersection is Ruijin Second Road and Taikang Road. Luckily, the Dapuqiao area boasts a number of apartment complexes. In particular, Patina Court offers fully-serviced apartments for those who want to live a luxurious lifestyle within walking distance of Tianzifang. Stay tuned to Luxury Living in Shanghai if you want to learn more about Patina Court.

Where to live in Shanghai ? Other Areas where expats live in Shanghai.

Huangpu and People’s Square
This area has some of the most historical places in town however it does not have a lot to offer in terms of international accommodation. Although Huangpu sure makes up for it in terms of interesting and historical spots; most famous are People’s Square, Yuyuan Garden and The Bund. With the opening of retail and restaurant venues like 3 on the bund, and M on the Bund the bund is starting to become a destination point for local residence and expats.

People’s Square
is a spectacular space in the heart of the city. Formerly the city’s race-course, a sports arena and a gamblers paradise, the area west of Nanjing Lu was converted after the war to become the People’s Square. Renmin Guangchang is a vast green area including plants and trees and surrounded by spectacular buildings on all sides. In the north lies the Municipal Government Mansion, an impressive and serious building which is not open to the public. In the northwest sits the Shanghai Grand Theatre, a colossal construction made almost entirely from glass which is balanced by the brand new Exhibition Hall for City Planning in the east. The most impressive building in the square however, is the Shanghai Museum. Perfectly smooth and symmetrical, the building was designed to resemble a Chinese cooking pot. The Square is particularly spectacular at night, when steam appears to seep out of the roof of the museum and the light bounces off the glass walls of the Grand Theatre.

The Bund
With the opening of retail and restaurant venues like 3 on the bund and M on the Bund, the Bund is starting to become a destination point for local residence and expats. Its famous waterfront is regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years. The most famous and attractive sight which is on the west side of the Bund are the 52 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance. On the opposite side, the spectacular view of the new Shanghai building including the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Jin Mao Tower can be seen across the river.

Suzhou Creek
Suzhou is fast becoming the relocation option (offices) of choice for media, creative and design agencies in Shanghai. Since the government clean up of the creek, renovation works to the banks of the river and investment in some of the historic warehouses, Suzhou Creek has started to emerge as a natural alternative to higher costing, modern downtown office space. Advantages of Suzhou Creek include a range of unique warehouse/offices that provide a distinct company image and working environment. Transportation links, including Xinzha Lu and Shimen Lu subway stations and only 10mins walk from Nanjing Lu and public car parking, mean customers enjoy easy proximity to downtown office locations, at a fraction of the price.

Hongqiao & Gubei
Hongqiao was developed towards international standards because of its close proximity to Hongqiao Airport, which has now lost its significance since all international routes have been taken over by Pudong International Airport. Hongqiao offers many western style compounds, both apartments and villas, and is an excellent choice for families with small children since this is where you will find most of the international schools and kindergartens. Accommodation is significantly cheaper than living downtown and, as it is the case with Pudong as well, if your priorities are focused on quiet living, recreational facilities and green surroundings, Hongqiao has a lot to offer. However if you are interested in nightlife and dining downtown is your best bet.

Gubei is considered the most exclusive residential area within Hongqiao and is located closer to the city than the ‘real’ Hongqiao. Easy access to the elevated highway makes it convenient to get to just about any part of the city. Gubei offers some very charming villa compounds with focus on facilities and security, making it a top choice for families. Ideal if dad is working downtown and the kids are in a school in Hongqiao. Gubei is a typical suburb without much charm but geared to conveniently cater to the everyday needs of a busy family.

Everbright City /Zhabei
Everbright City may seem dull and grey in daylight but it certainly lights up like a carnival at night which is supposedly how it got its name. Located close to Shanghai Railway Station with train connections to just about all parts of China, it is considered a local district and does not have a lot to offer if you are looking for western standard accommodation, shopping and entertainment. It also lacks the character and charm which is prevalent for other local districts such as Huangpu. However, many foreign students on tight housing budgets prefer this area where cheap apartments are easy to find, and the train station makes it easy to go downtown.

Expat Living in Shanghai’s Jing’an district

Though named after its ancient temple, the Jing’an district is a commercial hub of ultra-glossy shopping emporiums, five-star hotels, prestigious office towers and deluxe service apartments. This section of Nanjing Road is lined with Westgate Mall, CITIC Square, Plaza 66 and Sogo Shopping Plaza offering Tiffany, Chanel, Ferragamo, Gaultier, Tod’s, Cartier and the like, as well as a Starbucks coffee shop on every block a great location for expats living in Shanghai.

A city landmark that even the greenest cabbies know is Shanghai Centre, an expat-tailored and self-contained residential-business complex with restaurants, medical clinics, day-core, a gym, bank and grocery and yes, a Starbucks. The Shanghai Centre Theatre’s acrobatics show dazzles (It’s important to note that cabbies know the Centre as Bo-te-man, after the Portman Ritz¬ Carlton Hotel in its centre).

Opposite the Shanghai Centre and the other high-rises of modernity is an attention-grabbing throwback, the Shanghai Exhibition Centre Topped by a 106-m (347-ft) gold plated steeple and a Government star, the striking exhibition monolith is a testament to 1950s Sino-Soviet unity-and looks it, too. Its walls are often draped with red banners advertising the shows inside.

Many people are momentarily distracted by the sight of the Exhibition Centre, but they do triple-takes at the witch’s fantasy castle at Shaanxi and Yan An roads. It’s actually a Gothic mansion built in 1936 by Swedish shipping tycoon Eric Moller, outfitted with wood from Sweden and steeples. For many years it was the Government Youth league’s headquarters, but it is now a boutique hotel.

Jing’An Temple, built along Suzhou Creek in 247, has the longest history of any temple in the city, and is actually older than Shanghai itself It was moved to its present location in the 13th century. Before 1949, it was one of the richest temples in Shanghai, run by a popular abbot who had a wife, seven concubines and a White Russian bodyguard. During the Cultural Revolution, the temple was turned into a plastics factory and much of its architecture and decor was destroyed. It has since undergone several renovation lobs and has been largely encircled by new shopping malls.

Almost directly north of Jing’An Temple is Jade Buddha Temple, which survived the Cultural Revolution intact when its monks locked the doors and covered them with pictures of Chairman Mao. The complex, completed in 1918, is relatively new. Its two lade Buddhas (2-m (66 ft) and 1-m (32 ft) high) were carved in Burma and brought to Shanghai in the 1880s by a Chinese pilgrim.

Shanghai Architecture – A History of Shanghai Architecture

In 1843, the first European building appeared on the northern bank of Yang King Pang Creek at the corner of The Bund. Since then, styles and concepts of western architecture had fundamentally changed the traditional urban architecture of Shanghai.

The city became a stage for different western architectural schools competing in terms of novelty and beauty, and was known for a time as the “international architectural exposition”.

Modern architecture in Shanghai developed mainly by imitation of western architecture, gradually forming a distinct Shanghai architectural style. 1843 to 1900 was a phase of transplanting foreign styles to Shanghai, 1900 to 1925 was a phase of growth, and 1925 to 1937 was a phase of development.

During the first phase, the most common style was colonial colonnaded architecture, known as “East Indian Style” because it arrived in Shanghai via India.

Colonnaded buildings had colonnades eight all around or on the front. This phase can be further sub-divided into three periods: an early period of the colonnaded veranda, and a late period with a more ornate style.

Classical European architecture was transmitted to Shanghai during this period with the construction of churches, mainly gothic revival churches. Buildings which remain from this period include British Consulate built in 1872, and Dongjiadu Cathedral built from 1843 to 1953.

In the 1870’s, the old-fashioned Shikumen apartments, which were a combination of semidetached European houses with traditional Chinese wood framework and bricks, became a distinctive Shanghai residential style.

In the second phase, Shanghai style become the new classical architecture prevailing at the end of the nineteenth century in Europe.

Especially favoured at the beginning of the twentieth century was the British Edwardian baroque style. This style involved the use of stone, giant colonnaded verandas, and ornate, flowery decoration.

Meanwhile economic changes demanded new architectural responses. With the use of reinforced concrete, the introduction of new technology and competition between design teams, a mix of traditional Chinese style buildings, modernist and eclectic buildings sprang up in Shanghai.

Representative examples of the period include: Russo-Chinese Bank Building (1905), Palace Hotel (1906), Gibb Livingston Building (1908), Shanghai Club Building and China Mutual Life Insurance Company Building (1911), Shanghai Municipal Council Building (1922), HSBC Building (1923), Kadoorie’s House, Shanghai Post Office Building (1924), American Club Building (1925), and Kincheng Banking Corporation Building (1926).

The third phase was the boom time of early modern Shanghai, a prosperous period for the architecture and real estate business. With a significant increase of investment in building there emerged a more mature group of building material manufacture, construction and architectural design. In this phase, the most common style was the modern international style, but there were also buildings in the classical revival and Art Deco styles, as well as modern high-rise architecture with classical.

Luxury Living in Shanghai

The pearl of the Orient. The whore of the Orient. Depending on the individual, Shanghai can conjure up a lot of different images for people who have never stepped foot here. For most Westerners, this city offers a mix of opulence and opportunity, exotic experiences and culture shock. Most importantly, Shanghai is the commercial vanguard of China’s sprint into the 21st-century.

Once upon a time, multinational companies had to offer lucrative compensation packages for their employees to move to the ‘3rd-world’ region of Shanghai. This city has long since cast off the undeserved reputation of an undeveloped environment. Indeed, Shanghai has become one of the most sought-after destinations for those with dollars in their eyes and adventure in their hearts. Entire industries have sprung up to provide luxury living to Shanghai’s 130,000+ foreigners, offering everything from spa resorts and yacht clubs to lavish lounges and the trendiest boutiques.

Life in Shanghai can be rich, fulfilling and completely unique. However, a comfortable lifestyle requires preparation and knowledge. Dirt-cheap dumplings (jiaozi for those living here) can be a great snack right after touching down in Shanghai, but there comes a time when many foreigners start craving the cuisine of home. While the skyscrapers here can be breathtaking at first glance, they can become claustrophobic at the 100th glance, making the city’s green parks a welcome respite. Likewise, this city offers a wide range of luxury villas and fully-serviced apartments for wealthier foreigners. However, many are located in areas which may not be ideal for certain lifestyles and certain demographics.

It can be tough enough adjusting to the drastically different culture and language after touching down. Fortunately, there are professional relocation agencies that can help you find a home, process your visa and even find the perfect international school for your kids. However, a truly luxurious lifestyle requires knowledge: for example, of where the best spa’s and boutiques are, of where you can go to get away from the frantic energy of Shanghai’s urban sprawl, of what each serviced apartment complex offers. This section is for readers thinking of, or preparing to, move to Shanghai. Luxury Living in Shanghai will act as a guide for those readers who want to continue their luxurious lifestyle in this city.

Luxury Living in Shanghai: A Tale Story Quick-Thinking

Leasing an apartment in Shanghai can be a high-pressure experience. This is not a buyer’s market, where eager apartment-hunters can take their time sampling properties. My first experience renting an apartment in Shanghai went without a hitch. The first place I saw was perfect in terms of location and price. The interior was older than what I was used to in Canada, but it was comfortable and more than adequate for my needs. My second experience showed me just how urgent a Shanghai apartment-hunt can be.

I decided to move into a new place once the lease was up, and was lucky enough to receive the help of Julie (one of our top property consultants). I found 3 places which I liked, but all fell through for one reason or another (one uncooperative landlord and two which were leased out to other tenants before we could close the deal).

On Tuesday the 14th we saw a unit in Wuyi Gardens, an older complex just south of the bustling Zhongshan Park. The buildings’ exteriors were utilitarian and ugly, but the compound had a nice garden and well-maintained facilities. Besides for some frilly purple curtains, this 11th-floor unit met all my needs for an apartment. It had a great view of the city with a roomy interior, two balconies, a good price, and most importantly (for me), a great location. I called my roommate and told him to get down here as fast as possible, but he was coming from Hongkou on the opposite end of the city so I knew it would be a while before he got here.

The agent that Julie and I were with (a close contact of our company) knew of another open apartment a few blocks away. Although he claimed that the unit was amazing, he also said informed me it was a 1st-floor unit slightly more expensive than the one I was standing in. Immediately, I decided against leasing it, but out of sheer boredom I agreed to go see this place.

After 10 miserable minutes in the rain, we opened the door and I paused in the doorway, shocked at how nice the place was. A big dining room stretched out into an even bigger living room…which stretched out even further into a roomy private garden out back. Author’s Note: ‘gardens’ are how the locals describe the small, private courtyards behind many 1st-floor properties. Some of these might have actual gardens in the Western sense of the word (with flowers, shrubbery, etc.) However, many of these are just walled off backyards.

This place was a slam dunk. I knew it was perfect on first sight, but I had just started my job at Salo Homes and didn’t fully appreciate the cutthroat nature of a Shanghai apartment-hunt. I wasn’t sure whether my roommate would be willing to pay the premium for this place, so I decided to show him the first apartment before bringing him back. Julie was sick (and had been running around with a rough cold for much of the week), so she opted to stay in the apartment instead of walking further in the rain. In the 30 minutes that we were gone, she fended off two other parties of apartment-hunters who showed a lot of interest in the place.

My roommate had the exact same reaction to the garden flat that I had. It took us about 2 minutes of giddy exploration before we decided to sign the lease. It was a huge weight off my shoulders to find a new apartment…one that not only met my requirements, but that exceeded all my expectations as to what was within my budget.

It was pure luck that Julie decided to stay behind, and if she had been feeling a little healthier I would probably have lost that apartment to someone else. Shanghai’s a big city, and I’m sure I would have found another great place to live in…but I think I might have felt a little bitter if we had ended up moving into another place.

Luck was how I managed to get this apartment. But now I know the importance of decisiveness and quick-thinking when finding a new home in Shanghai.